Editor’s Note: We like to make our columnists work for their space, so when The Team Lansing Foundation asked us to send a member of our crew Over the Edge we sent Pete, giving him the adventure of a lifetime (our opinion, not his.) Visit (www.teamlansing.org) for more info. June 3, 2011 12:30 p.m. Walking on Seymour Avenue I can see Boji Tower in the distance. At this point, the tallest building in Lansing does not seem so imposing. But as I draw nearer I wonder, how tall would a building have to be for it to seem imposing to me? Anxiety Level (AL): Green 12:45 p.m. I stand, staring up at the balcony high above Capitol Avenue. In a few minutes I will be stepping off that balcony, about to rappel down the face of the building. AL: Light Green 1 p.m. I’m in the orientation session for the adventure I volunteered for; did I just say “volunteer for?” Volunteering is usually for the good of the community, not walking backwards down a 23-story building! AL: Yellow 1:05 p.m. I’m outfitted with “the gear” including two devices referred to as; the “blue thing” and the “gold thing.” Whoa! Cool it with the technical jargon! “Blue thing?” “Gold thing?” They must feel that’s better for me to hear than “free fall arresting device” or “rapid decent minimize.” I agree. AL: Orange 1:10 p.m. I’m the second person over the edge. I step out on to the balcony and am greeted by a member of the team who is in charge of the event. He is happy and smiling, good sign. Then he tells me, “I’m going to love this” and “nothing can go wrong.” DANG! I hate when people say that! AL: Red. Deep, dark red. 1:30 p.m. Once I’m securely and safely attached to the rope I’m told: “step out onto the handrail and face the building.” Right. This is the trickiest part of the adventure, leaning backwards 230-feet above Capitol Avenue. As I move down the building I begin to feel better. Then I get cocky and start doing my Navy Seal impression, taking longer descents. AL: Orange 1:35 p.m. Suddenly, I hear a voice in my left ear! Is it God? Nope, it’s the dude from the balcony above who was watching my descent. It seems that “gold thingy” actually did what it was supposed to and “arrested my decent.” I was now stuck and dangling halfway between the 23rd floor and the sidewalk. AL: Red 1:37 p.m. Once I get moving again I listen to the voice on the radio and finish my descent “slowly and under control.” I softly land on the sidewalk to the applause of my wife and a few co-workers. Ah, my adventure is done. I can’t wait for the next time … now that I know what the “gold thingy” does. AL: Green
Pete Ruffing is the Sales Director at M3 Group in downtown Lansing. He and his wife of 14 years Brenda live in Okemos.