The editorial staff ofScene would like to thank Justine for making us look all extreme and whatnot, when we were actually way happier eating Bugles back at our desk. We hear it was a pretty day outside. This is Justine's story.
Seventeen stories up, my heels are at the edge of the DoubleTree Hotel roof and I'm being encouraged to jump. “What the hell have I gotten myself into?” I think. I'm a journalist, so when I was presented with the opportunity to rappel down the side of a building I just couldn't pass it up.
Why, you might ask, was I asked to descend from the Cleveland skyline. Well, it's just one of the many unique experiences that journalists are often asked to do and it definitely wasn't in the job description.
Over the Edge is a unique charity event that allows participants to check something off their bucket list, assuming your life’s goal is to hang sideways off the side of a Rust Belt hotel. There is a minimum donation of $1,000 that needs to be raised in order to take part. Proceeds go toward the Special Olympics, unless you are a penniless journalist or an intern, in which case they terrorize you for free.
When I got the e-mail from my editor with the subject line “Media offered opportunity to rappel tall building in Cleveland,” I felt both a sense of foreboding and excitement. The e-mail simply read “let me know if you're interested,” and had the event information attached.
Was I interested? I felt a thrill rush through my body. The bragging rights alone seemed like they would make this worthwhile. After agonizing over my decision and talking to a few people, I was convinced.
“Alright, I'll do it,” I e-mailed back, and I knew there was no turning back.
“Would you like me to explain things in the technical terms or layman’s terms?” asked the guide as he fit us in our equipment.
“Layman’s,” we all practically shouted.
“Alright,” he said, “this is your blue thingy and it's your gas pedal,” pointing at a metal blue contraption hooked to our waist.
After a practice run — a short rappel off of one story — we were ready to go. We crowded in an elevator and were brought to the roof. The view alone made it worth it. Right on the lake, I admired the view spotting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and then I remembered: I was 17 stories up and there was only one honorable way down.
I anxiously awaited my turn. Once I was strapped in and secure, I was asked to lean over the edge and trust my weight to the harness. I felt a brief moment of panic, what if the gear didn't hold? That was the worst part. Once I was over the edge, it was smooth sailing. I even got a little cocky and tested how fast I could go before getting nervous and hitting the brake.
And just like that I was at the bottom, enjoying a DoubleTree chocolate chip cookie. Not bad for a day at the office. — Justine Stump