Queer in the Canyon

Photo Credit: Clark Harding
"Who is the third that walks beside you?" -T.S. Eliot

I'll admit it. I have commitment issues. I always want out when I'm right in the middle of something good. But this was ridiculous. "If you don't look down, you'll miss the view," echoed a voice from below. I blinked the sweat out of my eyes and clenched my jaw. Although the safety lock on my harness held me in place, I still gripped the high-tech rope for dear life. Finally, with a deep breath I looked down. It's amazing how a simple, sixty-degree difference in vision can change your whole perspective. What began as a safe rock wall in front of me continued down, down, down into an epic slot canyon. Carved by geologic years of rainfall, the red, brickless walls waved like flowing curtains to eternity. Swimming one hundred and ten feet below, my buddies looked like Barbie dolls floating in the kiddie pool. They waved and snapped pictures while I stalled, fending off a bad case of vertigo. Even though this was my second canyon that weekend, my adrenal glands still felt it was physically wrong to be dangling this high from a rope that had the equivalent circumference of my pinky finger. All I wanted was to call the whole thing off. This relationship was over.

Some say it's a fault of mine, but I'm always up for anything. Like a true Aries, I happily start a million projects and then leave them unfinished. This, of course, then leads to depression. So when my ex-lover (familiar with my commitment issues) called me up and asked if I wanted to go on an "adventure," I immediately agreed. Los Angeles can be pathologically sunny and monotonously urban, so any change of scenery is welcome. Although Japhy never specified what we'd be doing, he assured me that it was the rugged therapy that might cure my dreary mood. In no time I found myself in a car with my ex and his current boyfriend Eliel (he also failed to mention the new boyfriend) driving to Utah. During the six-hour ride we watched as Japhy fooled with various maps and different types of rope. The knots he tied and retied looked complicated; on paper the terrain seemed bizarre. "So, what exactly are we doing?" I finally queried.

"Omigod, I've been wondering the same thing!" quipped Eliel, breaking the ice.

"We're going Canyoneering." Japhy said, fatter-of-fact.

"Oh, right." Eliel and I replied, giving each other looks of solidarity.