The first night David asked if I wanted to join him for trapeze practice. I had never been a trapeze swing, and had no doubt that my weak upper arms were not up to the task. A swing suspended high up in the air was also probably not for one who was afraid of heights. So of course I said yes. How often does one get an offer like that?
It was difficult. Most of the others in the group were newbies as well but were obviously much more limber than I was. I am only slightly more flexible than a tree trunk. David, in a magnificent thrust of his abs, managed to hoist himself onto the swing in one swift movement. He then did cool stuff like variations of hanging upside down from different angles with different limbs.
It was soon my turn and I managed to lift my feet slightly above ground and then dangled helplessly from the swing, willing my abs to do a similar manoeuvre. I’d like to think they did a good job but I suspect that I was only able to get on the swing with a great deal of help from David, who crammed my legs in between my arms, effectively then hanging me on the swing by my knees. With a bit of reaching, I was able to grab the ropes and hoisted myself onto the swing, hanging about 6-7 feet from the ground.
It was glorious. So this is what the world looks like to trapeze artists. (I later found out of course that normal trapeze swings are much higher because one has to budget for various acrobatics swinging from one swing to another, and one artist catching the other as well.) My wide grin stretched from ear to ear.
I mustered up the courage to hang myself upside down with some contorting of my legs, but the rapid loss of abdominal strength (it really isn’t about the upper arms) meant that I also lost control very quickly. Soon I was dangling by my knees upside down squealing my head off, trying not to break into a full-blown scream or break my neck in the process. I managed to refrain from both and landed unceremoniously on my butt with both feet in the air, with David looking on with amusement.
“You are brave,” he peered at my red face. “I have to recognise that.”