When I pushed my hands into ice-cube-filled sink, I thought this is crazy. No one can do this. I wanted to jerk them out immediately. I asked the girl timing me what was the time to beat. She said Mr. Bird left his in for 25 minutes. I knew it was a lie.
I made it one minute, but it was hard. At about three I was pretty comfortable. I thought I'd just see how long I could go. The teacher said I could pull one hand out and then put it back in if one was easier than the other. I thought to myself you can go to hell with that pulling one hand out business.
It was a science experiment and I have no idea still what they were trying to prove. I didn't care. I had just been sitting in a desk in my classroom planning a shower for Megan's wedding and thinking about tiramisu cupcakes when the teacher came in and asked it we wanted to help. So I said sure. I always agree to anything anybody asks me to do. I figure I can back out later if it doesn't work out.
So there I was with my hands in ice and once I was in, I was in. At four minutes, the students began to marvel. The timing girl said you're doing great. She said it a couple of times. I had sent my goal for five minutes, but when the timing girl told me five, I felt like I had a little left, so I decided on seven. At five and a half the finger I dislocated jumping down from a rocky ledge and getting it tangled in my hiking pole strap began to hurt like a bitch. It wasn't seven yet, so I ignored the weak finger.
The last minute was nearly unbearable, but I kept my hands in the ice. My finger felt like it was turning into rock, a rock about to explode. Janie leaned over my shoulder and said she's a competitor. And she's goal-oriented. If you give her a challenge, she's not going to quit. I thought I was hiding it better.
Then I began to wonder why I was putting myself through this torment. There was no purpose. It was just to see if I could. So I did. When the girl got to seven minutes, I left them in for another seven seconds just for spite and then I pulled them out. They were swollen and red. The teacher said get a picture of the winner, so I guess they were lying about Mr. Bird after all. They took my picture and then a picture of my hands. It took about forty-five minutes for the feeling to come back, and I wondered how long it took to get frostbite. I thought take that, Jack London, you jerk.
Janie told the other teachers about my hands at lunch and I was embarrassed. Then I decided to own it. Yeah, I stuck my hands in ice for a pointless seven minutes and seven seconds. I can also run a Class IV rapid, had natural childbirth with twins and survived two alcoholic parents. That's why I did it. I am a badass. That's my clarity.