Redbeard / Greybeard
Outside of family time and lamb neck casserole, one of my greatest passions is heading out to the yonder to hang off the cliffs and bounce around the rocks. Abseiling and Rock-climbing gets the blood pumping, clears the head and makes the muscles earn their keep. There’s not too many people who ‘tolerate’ something like Abseiling, either you’re obsessed with it, or you hate it.
It’s easy to understand why this doesn’t appeal to many. They call acrophobia ‘an extreme or irrational fear of heights’. There’s nothing irrational about not enjoying abseiling, and I don’t judge those who aren’t a fan of leaning back over a 50m precipice, putting their faith in a rope and a harness. But for almost 40 years it’s been a thing to get the adrenaline going in this old body. I’ve just come back from a week of hanging off the rocks – getting my own thrills and instructing those younger than me in the finer points of this skill. Conquering a fear is worth more kudos than doing something you love, so to those who looked their nemesis in the eye and come out on top, I salute you.
With no facilities for anything more than a quick face wash each day, the chin growth quickly turned heavy. I’ve never been much of a fan of the unshaven red beard look, so six days of bum fluff on the chin is way more than I normally go. On the last day of the abseiling adventure I caught sight of myself in the side mirror of my car … oh my, it wasn’t the redbeard guy looking back at me that I know. It was some other guy I’d never seen before, his stubble was thick and dirty, and most of it was grey. Grey.
When did that happen? I came to terms with the Kojak look quite a few years ago, and I actually really enjoy having nothing up top. Last time I let my hair grow a bit it was still full of colour, but I’m guessing that won’t be the case next time I go ‘magnetic head’ (remember the old iron filings and magnet experiment from Year 7?) I’d always looked at mates and those a bit older than me who’d gone a bit grey, thinking I couldn’t be further from that. Ugh. Now I’ve joined another club.
Natural, or stress related? An argument can be made both ways I guess. I watched one of our recent high profile national sporting coaches go from a full head of jet black hair to grey as Subzero in just a couple of years in charge. Pressure does that to you I’m assuming. There’s not really much of that high type of pressure going on in my life, but I think I’ll use that conclusion rather than believing I’ve hit the age of grey. Is listening to all of that political garbage each and every day enough to turn your hair colour from red to grey? Maybe between Mr Abbott, Mr Turnbull, Mr Morrison, Mr Shorten, Mr Palmer, Ms Bishop and their bands of merry men and women, they’ve done enough to ‘tip me over the edge’ in terms of the grey (abseiling reference there, did you see it coming?)
Whilst the next three weeks of endless voting ads won’t be enough to make me literally jump off a cliff, at least I can rest assured that no matter how batty they drive me, I can’t go any greyer. Wait, I’ve got it! I’ll vote early, head back out to the rock face, let my big grey beard grow full, then come back in when the election is all over.