Thursday, March 08, 2007
I Don't Think So
In a couple of weeks, you will be able to stroll high above the Grand Canyon on a glass-floored, horseshoe-shaped skywalk that offers an unprecedented view of the canyon floor some 4,000 feet below.
The operative word there is you. I will not be able to make that stroll, and not because I live in Florida. I will not be able to make that stroll because my legs will not function normally under those circumstances.
But back to the skywalk, which is a pretty cool concept and just as cool reality, I suppose. The $30 million tourist attraction, which is expected to generate much-needed income for its owner, the Hualapai Indian Reservation, extends 70 feet out from the canyon wall and can "comfortably" accommodate 120 people at a time, each of whom will have shelled out $25 for that dubious exercise in comfort.
The odd thing about my lack-of-comfort problem is this: I'm not acrophobic in the classic sense. I can stay in a high-rise hotel and travel in a high-flying plane without any problem. And I have no fear of death, a fear that has actually been tested and found wanting. But put me on a fire escape or a balcony a mere three stories up, and the bones and muscles in my legs disappear. A glass-bottomed skywalk? I don't think so.
I understand that our Hualapai friends will provide cloth slippers (or technically, non-slippers) that visitors will be required to wear. Okay, I'll make them an offer: maybe I'll venture out onto the skywalk if they provide cloth kneepads for me, because I most certainly will be crawling for the first yard or two before I turn around and head back. Throw in $30 million, and we've got a solid deal.