Say you want to propose to your long-time girlfriend. Should you (a) go to the place you first met, fall to one knee and present an engagement ring as in old-time movies, (b) pop the question at the end of a romantic meal at a fine restaurant that is a mutual favorite, or (c) ignore a climbing ban and scale a 600-foot outcropping called Morro Rock on the California coastline so you can make your marriage proposal via the Facetime app?
Modern times being what they are, of course one guy chose (c). Although his girlfriend said yes, the whole exercise didn’t work out so well for him. He got stuck on the way down, became stranded on a sheer ledge 80 feet off the ground, and had to be rescued by a California Highway Patrol crew and helicopter; then he was arrested for suspicion of possession of methamphetamine because he was acting “strangely.”
Acting strangely? You think? When it comes time to ask someone to spend the rest of their life with you, you decide the best way to do it is to scale a rock and do it remotely, via an app? That doesn’t exactly send a message about “we” rather than “me,” does it?
The BBC report on this story says that the rock climber will be asked to pay for the cost of his rescue, and I certainly hope that is true. I’m heartily sick and tired of adventurers and thrill-seekers deciding to take unnecessary risks by parachuting into remote mountain ranges or climbing sheer rock faces or helicoptering to inaccessible ski areas, getting trapped or stranded, and then becoming the subject of massive and expensive search-and-rescue operations. They’re taking stupid risks for their own self-aggrandizement, and the taxpayer shouldn’t end up paying the bill for their folly.
As for the girlfriend who said yes, I hope she reconsiders.