My friend Charlotte and I have started to give each other experiential birthday presents instead of “stuff” (ie, we go places/do things). I wrote here before about this—it’s how I celebrate my nieces and nephew for their birthdays, and it’s the same theme that got me kayaking last year—and I just have to share with you my latest amazing experience.
For my birthday this year, Charlotte discovered the “Urban Dare” tour. It’s a fundraiser for breast cancer research and happens in cities all across North America. Without me knowing anything but the date, Charlotte registered us as a team in the July 21st Toronto Dare.
Charlotte picked me up on Saturday morning and took me for a big pre-challenge brunch and then, properly stuffed and caffeinated, we went to the downtown meeting spot to get our official garb—the Urban Dare t-shirt with number—and our official clues.
As I am such a game-lover at heart, when I found out what we were doing, I got very very excited. Many people “accuse” me of being competitive—I think it’s because I revel in game-playing so much—but the truth is, as much as I like to win, I don’t care about it. I can honestly say, it’s the act of playing that gives me that adrenalin high. What I discovered I like about it is that really primal feeling that courses through me when I play: I must have every synapse on alert, I must reason and plan, I must be aware of my surroundings, I must be quick and physical, I must survive. I am alive! Not that anything I do (or want to do) involves the threat of imminent death (like a primitive ancestor on the hunt), but it’s invigorating to reenact that kind of fundamental experience.
Okay, so the basic scoop on the Dare is that you all get your clues at (more or less) the same time. There are 10 clues that, once solved, direct you to various locations around the city (they say the parameter is about 7 miles). You and your team member must figure out where you need to go and then either take a picture of yourselves at the site or complete a “dare” designed by the tour. In our case, these were a 3-legged course (my first!), a wheelbarrow course (also my first!), a candid photo of a random couple recreating the famous Eisenstadt photo (of the WW11 soldier kissing the nurse), and a number/word challenge that Char and I were shocked to fumble our way through (strike out for cocky over-confidence. Um, yeah, that would be me…).
You aren’t allowed to use cars, bikes, or taxis, but you can hop on the bus or subway. We ended up walking most of the course. Or speed-walking. My hips have never been so sore! And the first team back with all the correct answers, photos, and courses wins the dare. Charlotte and I were surprised to find ourselves pretty much twice the age of the average competitor (hats off to those enterprising and benevolent young people who came in droves!), and in the end, we finished a respectable (to us) 60th out of 192 teams. That said, we also committed 3 very costly mistakes (again, thanks to over-confidence when it came to our supposed destinations) that probably added a good ½ hour to our race.
It was an absolutely wonderful day! It was beautiful and sunny out—we sweated buckets—but that concerted 2 ½ hours of running, laughing, problem-solving, and discovering our city was absolutely an invigorating and wonderful rest from the everyday.
Deb: This is what I am talking about! These are the adventures that make us love life and love living! Charlotte, you rock in the gift department and you picked the right gal to bestow this gift upon. So happy for you guys and the fun you had! Barb, I cannot wait to meet you on the three-legged and wheelbarrow course. I am all over that. I am the wheelbarrow race, my friend! Yes, the challenge has been declared!