Flapper Boy

Today I got my best flappers.

I’m using “flappers” in the climbing sense—where skin peels off the hands due to friction—even though I was brachiating rather than swinging.

I won’t include photos, in part because the loose skin’s already off and in part because they would be a bit gross. Instead, I’ll give you this photo of me dancing the Charleston in a dress made of fringe.

My face on a Flapper Girl body

Far, far, far less disturbing than the picture of my hands would be. If you want the costume, BTW, it’s available at http://www.chasing-fireflies.com/cff/42344

So, what’s the story? Well, it really starts yesterday, when I went to a Meetup. (Specifically, the Go Infinite Tribe Meetup.)

Meetups, as the name suggests, are meet-ups of people, organized via the website, to do… well, something. I’ve done a couple before, and both were decidedly mediocre experiences. (Both were writing-related, so there was a pretty solid base level of pretension going on; one even featured someone uttering “Time travel is really hard to write,” only unironically.)

This one was a workout meetup, and much more fun. It was outdoors and in a playground, and it focused on (challenging) movements rather than hauling weights. Several of the people there were training with the goal of doing Ninja Warrior, so the movements were approaching those, although they scaled down well. I won’t write much more, since I’m not sure it’s my place to do so yet, apart from the fact that I enjoyed it a lot and will be going back, and to explain that there was one section where everyone got 30 seconds to do something—basically show off. Or in my case, do something and everyone politely pretends to be impressed. (That’s self-effacing humor; it was a perfectly supportive environment, even though I’m not anywhere near the level of most of the other people there.)

Anyhow, my “thing” was to do the monkey bars, jumping rather than swinging between bars. It went fairly well—the rungs were closer together than the ones at my gym, so it was easier. Everyone seemed pleased, and I didn’t replicate anything anyone else did, so all was well.

That laid the base for today, when in class at my regular gym we did… more monkey bars. Not exclusively, but about half the workout was a self-paced circuit that included one stop at the monkey bars. I got through the circuit 3 times, swinging down the bars twice (either normal or hitting every other bar) and then trying to jump bars the third time and not getting very far.

Then, since I had about 40 seconds left after finishing the third circuit, and the monkey bars were open, I went back to them one more time for a sense of redemption or because it seemed more fun than air squats, which would have been the next stop. So I made a lot of effort to go every other bar, and this time made it a bit more than halfway before my hands gave out…

But when I came off, I looked down at my hands, and they looked like partially peeled oranges. Two jagged flaps of skin were sticking up in the middle of my left hand, with a third on my right.

Okay, it’s not all that impressive—maybe a total of two inches, so it’s hardly gymnast-level skin loss. But it’s the most I’ve had, so I’ll consider it both a milestone and a life experience.

It didn’t hurt at all, at least when it happened. But I figured it was worth being safe, so I washed my hands, and that stung. Then I got some bandages at the gym, but before they let me put them on, they gave me an alcohol wipe to sterilize, and that stung like a mother. And now I can feel the skin regrowing, and that’s stinging too, though not as bad as the alcohol.

I guess the lesson is, monkey bars and alcohol don’t mix.

(Also, I’m a bit frightened of tomorrow… that’s a class that usually includes a bunch of monkey bar work. We’ll see how that works.)



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