Saturday, April 29, 2017

Terrifyingly brave

    This past week PH and I spent three days in  Chicago.  We treated ourselves to viewing a taping of a NPR (National Public Radio) program we love.  While we were there we had three whole days to  see the sights. 

     There is a building in Chicago that is so big it's just always there looming, like the tallest kid in Kindergarten, you can't help but notice it. Maybe a little like Frankenstein in the back of the line.  Today it's called Willis Tower but was built by and for the headquarters for Sears and to all Chicagoans, it remains The Sears Tower.  It's the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 110 stories (1,353 feet.) Taller than the Eiffel Tower. Taller than the Sphinx.  Taller than them all.

    It is so tall, when  you look up from the street, you could fall over backward trying to see the top. Well, someone got the big idea of not only having an observation deck/floor, but also constructing four glass enclosed pockets that people can step into and see straight down to the street.  Can you see at the very tippy top of the building on the left side four little bump outs way up there?  Those are the glass "pockets." 
     Now, for a years I looked at pictures of people actually stepping out onto that glass platform and quite boisterously declared they were crazy and there aren't enough underpants in the world to  make me do that.  I'd die of fright.  
     Well.  Never say never.  We arrived in Chicago Wednesday morning.  Union Station (train station) is across the street from this building and as we emerged and started our walk to the hotel I suddenly told PH I wanted to try it.  I wanted to at least TRY to try it.  I don't know why.  It scared me to death to even consider it, but I couldn't let go of the idea and was convinced I was going to at least try.
    It was a 1.5 minute elevator ride to the top.  Stepping out of the elevator we are met with beautiful views of the city.  On a clear day you can see 50 miles. It really was beautiful.  The observation room was big, windows all around, and they will let as many as 600 people up there at a time. This wasn't intimidating, it was more Wow! And there weren't anywhere near 600 people there that morning.
The moment of truth.  I was absolutely p e t r i f i e d.  I was holding my breath so tight my teeth hurt. Look at my hands.  I was taut.  T a u t.  My heart was racing and I was gulping.

 Notice I kept my left foot touching the carpet.  It just wouldn't go in any further.  Put your right foot in, put your right foot the hokey pokey.... Just look at my hand. I was trying so hard to breathe.  I looked down though.  And PH was down there somewhere holding down the ground.
 The gentleman who was documenting this for me got a good shot of my feet, and how far down the rest of those rooftops are.
    They say when the thickness and safety of this glass was tested in the factory, they used elephants.  I said, well, then it will hold me, but you just don't get that feeling when you are standing there.
    As I was leaving, I walked by one of the other window bumps and there was in one, a little girl, maybe two years old, lying down on her back and spreading her arms and legs like she was making a snow angel and her dad was taking pictures.   I just stood there on the edge of the glass and carpet and watched her.  A woman my age came up beside me, took my hand and said, "Come on.  I didn't think I could do it, but I did.  I'll go with you."  And holding my hand she and I went ALL the way out on the glass.  No foot holding back in the room.  She held my hand till I started to breathe again and then we left.
   I had enough.  PH was waiting in the lobby for me so I went to the elevator. While waiting I told the elevator attendant, "They should sell clean underpants in the gift shop." 
   This was without a doubt the scariest bravest thing I've ever done. Ever.
ADDENDUM:  Today I showed the pictures to four-year-old Mikey and he said, "Did you jump?"


  1. You rock! Where is this bravado coming from? Next you will driving across bridges in glass cars! Well done.

  2. Oh my I don't like heights either. My stomach was making that butterfly feeling just reading your recount and looking at the pictures. Good on you! Mikey was expecting to bungee jump or abseil I suppose ha ha!

  3. I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU DID IT!!! You're a better woman than me :)

  4. so pleased you were able to do that......well done.............