I think it’s safe to say I’m not waiting for the phone to ring and for Cirque De Soliel to beg me to join. I can juggle (badly) and my fire-eating is passable but for some reason I can’t quite recall now but which must have seemed like a good idea at the time, I’ve signed up for an ‘aerial beginners’ course. Basically, aerial consists of the things in a circus that you need to look up to see – trapeze, silks, rope-work and that kind of thing.
So far so good. I may be pretty close to fifty, but I’m fit for my age (gym and so on) and I’m used to working at heights (I work as a theatre lighting designer sometimes). That’s when it all started to go wrong…
I may be fit for my age, but I’m no spring chicken. The others are in their twenties.
Their low twenties, to look at them.
And I may be used to heights but I’m not a dancer.
Which isn’t a problem, except that the others are.
So then, a 50 year old ‘normal person’ in a room with 11 twenty-year-old dancers.
To say it’s like throwing a Christian to the lions is unfair, because they’re all lovely people but they don’t appear to have the normal, human, genetic requirement of non-dislocated hips and feet that willingly go behind their ears without pain.
Their opposite ears, at that!
To make matters more interesting, I sometimes have a little difficulty telling my right from my left. If it don’t, in real life, I glance at my wedding ring which is on my left hand. Obviously when you’re hanging from ropes and a trapeze, rings are out of the question, so there goes my safety net (if you’ll pardon the reference). And of course when you’re upside down, simple instructions such as “Let go with your left hand and put it over your shoulder” begin to sound like “You may only be eight feet off the floor but if you fall you’re going to hit the floor face first, so pick a random hand and release it – if you pick the correct had you’re going to hurt yourself as the ropes tighten around your upper thigh but if you pick the wrong random hand you’re going to be illustrating to the rest of the group how good our first aid facilities are.”
At least, I think that’s what she said.