Archive for September 20th, 2010


You know, one of these days I’m going to get caught by a stranger when I’m right in the middle doing something very Layla.  Maybe that stranger won’t call the police and I won’t get arrested, but I could definitely die of embarrassment.

Take tonight.  At about 10:30 p.m. I was ready to climb the crabapple tree next to my condo building’s garage.  No big deal, you may figure.  It’s easy and I’ve done this on a couple of other nights.  It’s good practice for me since Layla climbs trees and buildings in the dark.

Trouble is, tonight, for the first time I wasn’t just wearing dark clothes that make me look kinda suspicious; I was also in a climbing harness and had on a small backpack in which I had zipped my night vision goggles and in which I can also carry climbing rope, which I hope to buy within the next couple weeks.  Then, for that extra touch, I had pulled on my black bicycle gloves that just happen to look like handy-dandy burglar accessories.  At least I wasn’t wearing my headlamp; I figured that would be too over the top.

I want to emphasize that this wasn’t some kind of strange dress up act I was into.  What I was doing was testing myself.  Can I really climb around in the dark while wearing a harness and backpack, which can feel awkward and act as impediments in literal tight spots?  Can I be dressed and equipped for a Layla-type slightly illegal job and still get the job done?

The first part of my self-testing was fun.  I found that I was able to get into my spanking new climbing harness in the dark and make all the adjustments very quickly.   But I also wanted to see if I could move stealthily about in that harness, which isn’t too easy since the carabiner and a couple other metal parts dangle from it and make clanking noises if I’m not careful.  If I were Layla, I’d either want to wrap some black electrical tape around the shiny metal both to disguise and muffle it, or slip it off my harness and into a pocket once I’m done climbing.

These are the kinds of detail you only figure out by physically, really doing what your character does.  Although there are a couple scenes in which Layla uses a harness and ropes, I’ve already discovered that I’m going to have to tweak the details of one scene, thanks to what I’ve learned from my own experience.

Anyway, about the embarrassment…

As I’ve told you before, the biggest risk of doing any Layla stuff at night is that in my neighborhood people just plain don’t seem to GO TO BED!  There is always, always someone out walking a dog, couples taking a stroll, a runner or two, and the occasional passing car.  Then there are the streetlights, which are close by and FRIGGIN’ BRIGHT!  So there I was, in almost full Layla working regalia, climbing the first couple branches of the tree when…

I could see someone walking down the street and in my direction.

That’s when I figured… Oh, to hell with it.  I went back inside and called it a night.

I think I’m gonna ask a favor of a couple friends who live in quieter neighborhoods and see if I can climb around their places at night.  I don’t think they’ll mind.  They may even have a good laugh watching me.