A few months back, Robert Fonda called me, wailing his gutural and drawn-out
"What? Now what?"
"I¹m in love, I have a girlfriend, she¹s the one for me!"
Ah relief! Robert has finally met somebody suitable. Robert is a 12 year old boy wonder in a grown man¹s body. Too much energy and smarts for his own good. "Cool, where did you meet her?", "I haven¹t met her yet--in person. I know her through rec.climbing!"
Rec.desperate is more like it....
Her name is Hilde and she posted from Norway inquiring about J-Tree climbs. Robert responded to her post (claiming he didn't even know she was a woman...), one thing led to another and voila! The fool thinks he¹s hit the jackpot.
"Robert, when you meet her in a few months and you are repulsed by her, what will you do? You know about e-mail personality vs. real people, don¹t you, dear child?"
"I don¹t care, I know she is the one for me. Everything about her is perfect. Trust me!"
"Idiotic," I mutter to myself, forgetting that many of my friends have met through the internet and that even I have made some lasting connections through the ether. It isn¹t that weird, but, really, when you think about it, going full steam ahead like that is truly absurd. "Well," I figure, "she¹s gonna step off that plane and it¹ll be all over. Oh, I¹ll be there to listen to the wailing and crying, of course. I usually am."
"What? Was it awful? Is she a behemoth? How did you get away?" "No, you don¹t get it, she¹s perfect and I love her and she loves me. We are inseparable! How am I going to deal with life when she has to go back home to Norway?"
I am blown away! This is too strange, too exciting. It is wonderful to hear him so elated, so happy, so crazed. I like crazy stuff myself and I figure at almost 40 these two people ought to know enough about life to realize that this is way fast. Fast as the jet she took from Oslo to Los Angeles.
"Gnaarling!! I am desperate! I miss her so, I am beyond help. I can¹t stand it. She feels the same and she¹s already booked another flight. We are spending a couple of weeks together, just the two of us, to see whether this is real."
I can¹t imagine. Real? Surreal is more like it. Oh well, I humor the boy because by now I figure no matter what I say, it won¹t make any difference. He¹s going to slither into whatever he¹s heading for.
"I¹m keeping her here, right here with me! We¹re getting married! Will you come? "When's in June? Sure! Where?" "Vegas? Sure! I¹ll be there. Name the date and I¹ll show up. I¹ll stay at Bonnie Springs. Maybe we can go climbing? The heat? Ah, hell, I¹ve climbed there in June before. We can handle it!" "A drive through wedding? Cool! Sure, I¹ll wear my sequence chalk bag."
I book a flight, reserve a car and a room and wonder if reality will set in after all. In the meantime I receive charming e-mails from a seemingly bright and mature Hilde. She is so thankful for my friendship, she can hardly wait to meet me. She appreciates my support. I fire off some warnings to her, much in the same vein as I had previously fired off warnings to Robert. I get the same response. "I love him! We are perfect for each other."
Okay, whatever! I pack and get ready to fly to Vegas where the heat is broiling at a comfy 103 degrees. What to wear to the wedding? Shorts, of course. Oh, and they decided not to do the drive through ceremony but opted for the little wedding chapel at Bonnie Springs. Friends Keith and Mickey will attend, so will Robert¹s mom and her beau. This is going to be interesting. I know nobody. I pack my guidebook and figure if I get one climb out of the weekend, it¹ll have been worth it. What if I don¹t hit it off with Hilde? What if the mother is obnoxious? What if the friends are boring? Yet, I am so looking forward to the event, I can hardly wait!
Bonnie Springs, Thursday, June 22. I drive up in my bright red rental, hot and bothered after having stopped by the grocery store for essentials: Champagne, plastic glasses, gin, tonic, limes, snacks, coffee. I am greeted by the happy couple. One look at the two of them and I am delighted. They ARE perfect for each other. She is kind and patient, just what the doctor ordered for the attention deficitted enfant terrible! We have gin and tonics on the lawn of our motel. Robert¹s mother Liz and her partner Joaquin arrive, so do Mickey and Keith. I like them all! Liz is charming and I can see the genuine affection between the future bride and her soon to be mother in law.
Friday, June 23. The preacher awaits us, clad in super tight black jeans, a tight silk shirt, cowboy boots and a big gold chain around his neck. Looks more like a dealer at Harrahs than a man of the cloth! Well, the man conducted a beautiful little ceremony! I got to hold a rose and act as a witness. Keith filmed it all but was droned out by the air conditioner. The chapel's panoramic window delights us with a stunning view of Mt. Wilson. If I were to ever get married, I¹d do it right here, I mused, and promptly fought back the tears. Robert almost falls over with devotion as he vows to take care of her when she¹s old, poor, sick and so on. She grins at him with Nordic reserve, yet I can see the passion in her eyes. This is like a dream!
Afterwards we popped the champagne and celebrated. Soon after, in a somewhat inebriated state, Robert, Hilde and I hiked to Mescalito peak and checked out the start of Cat in the Hat and Dark Shadows. Then we skinny dipped in the little pond at the base of Dark Shadows. You know the one: The pond your ropes always end up in after the final rappel.
Frogland, 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 24. It is sweltering! Hilde is almost over the edge. How can a Nordic girl like her live through a long climb (7 pitches) in 103 degrees? Well, she had a couple of moments, buried her head against Robert¹s shoulder, wept a little and then went on, despite extreme physical discomfort. We finished the route (in good style, I might add), took some summit pictures and headed down. About 10 minutes from the car, Robert bolted. He plunged for the, by then boiling, water we had stashed in the Jeep and immediately downed a couple of liters only to hurl it back out onto the dry desert floor within minutes. How very romantic!
Well there is more to tell, but this is getting too long. Just wanted you all to know what can happen on this newsgroup. I must say, nothing is impossible, right? I wish them the very best of luck and much happiness.