My ability to swim is only slightly surpassed by my ability to text, which is marginally better than my ability to twitter on the tweeting machine—and unfortunately I perform those tasks so well, I am qualified to run for president.
In fact, last week, after Tammy and I popped in to visit our friend Natalie, my texting skills were brought to light. Half the time my fingers hit the wrong buttons, half the time the autocorrect has a different agenda, and the other half of the time I have the keyboard set to French. Is that too many halves? Oh well, you get my drift.
A couple of months ago, while exploring the metropolis of Meaford, I found myself very hungry, standing in front of the local coffee shop at 3:02 p.m., face streaming with tears, because, apparently, in Meaford, coffee shops shut at 3:00 p.m. What? You bunch of country bumpkins. Does no one drink coffee past 3?
I texted Natalie for advice:
Me: Did u knew the coffae ship in Meaford class at 3? What kand if town is tis???
Nat: Huh? Lol
Me: John id doing soins check for tonught si I an windering aimlessly
Nat: You need to get your blood sugars up before you text Lol!
Me: OMH, Yeis.
Nat: Do you need an ambulance girl?
Me: haha. I just fawnd anuther café. Catering place. It us culled Kitchen.
Nat: Simple enough. Are they going to feed you so that you can text in English?
Me: Hahah…I hop sow lol
Confeve that convo…
So, given this history, it is no surprise, when shortly after Tammy and I left Natalie’s house, I texted: “We need u. We need a leash” that she assumed I was up to my hypoglycemic texting tricks again. However, in reality, Tammy and I had found a loose dog, wandering the streets. The little, sweet dog appeared to be confused and we were corralling her in hopes of keeping her safe. Natalie’s reply: LoL!! Oh Heather. Get some sugar in your body!
Me: Nope lol
This obviously isn’t going to plan. Trying to clarify the confusing situation, I try again.
Nat: Yes: Lol! I’m Peron laughing
Peron laughing? Who’s hypoglycemic now, Natalie?
Nat: Oooops! Peeing
I still don’t have a leash. Finally Natalie hangs her head out the window and we clear up my texting fiasco, and Natalie and her son Adam come outside with a leash. She kindly takes the dog to the local vet and luckily thirteen-year-old Bebe was microchipped and is returned to her rightful owner.
As mentioned, my swimming skills are probably even worse. However, with a torn ACL and 25% of my meniscus gone in my right knee (knowledge courtesy of MRI and incessant Sarah McLachlan music in my earphones) I need some type of physical activity. That and the fact that it seems no matter what I do, I keep gaining weight.
So, Lyndsay and I plan on going swimming together. Now, there is something you should know. Lyndsay and I have the combined organizational skills of a six-month-old. In fact, I identify her car not by the license plate, but by looking in the back seat. If it looks like the residence of three homeless people, I know I have the right vehicle. Even the most populous back alleys of Mumbai can’t rival the interior of her car--a scene straight from of Slum Dog Millionaire. I remember looking in once to see one high heel shoe, countless Tim Horton cups, a half-eaten bagel, a macramé project and possibly a dead body (I can’t be sure).
Given this information, it is no surprise that the following text thread starts:
Lyndsay: How are you feeling about swimming? Still able to? I have to find my stuff.
Me: I have to find my stuff too.
No shocker there. It's only the morning of the planned event and neither of us has bothered to locate any of our swimming gear.
Lyndsay: OK. Great
Me: I have found everything except swimsuit and lock.
Which is only half true. I had found two locks, both locked permanently to my swim bag because I can’t remember the combinations.
Lyndsay: Ok…I need find my goggles and lock.
(two minutes later)
Me; Found suit.
Lyndsay: Found lock.. Just need goggles. I’m very excited. I have to spend some time primping first.
Me: I found two pairs of goggles now.
Lyndsay: I think we should swim more regularly to keep up on grooming habits and gentle reminders of what it feels like to squeeze yourself into sausage casing.
I am laughing pretty hard right now, but that isn’t the punchline.
Lyndsay: My suit is so tight it’s correcting my posture….
On the way to the pool, I go out to the dollar store to find a replacement lock...(s). Knowing that this predicament occurs every time I stop swimming for over a week, I pick up one, no two, what that heck, four locks. They are only $2 each.
I get home and put on my suit, but it seems to have altered. It has been over a year, what could possibly change? It appears that the elastic in the bit that is supposed to snuggly cover my bottom has given up, completely lost its will to live. There is a full inch of slack between the material and my backside causing the suit to naturally ride up in a sort of permanent wedgy position. It is incredibly uncomfortable and awkward for me, but not nearly as much as it is for anyone who has to witness the scene.
Upon arrival to the pool Lyndsay and I chat about the beautiful day:
“It is so nice out today. We could have swam in the lake," Lyndsay mentions.
“Yeah, that way we wouldn’t have to ingest all that toxic chlorine. We could drink the oil from the boats and the refuse from the city’s water treatment plant instead.” I cheerfully chirp.
“Yeah, except here we are in a controlled environment that when we start to drown, we are more likely to be rescued.”
“True dat.” And with off into the pool we go.
I like swimming because it seems like it should be the quickest route to Michelle Obama shoulders. I love her shoulders. I would give anything to wear one of those tops with cut out arms and look like her. I tried on one of those tops once, and I looked less like Michelle Obama and more like Buddhist prayer flags flapping at Mount Everest Base Camp.
Slow and steady--well maybe just slow (after all, it is called front crawl)--we traverse the pool, back and forth like pensioners walking laps around the perimeter of our long-term care facility in our zoom-a-frames. And, it feels…good. Moving meditation. That is what I miss most about running: the space between the moments when you float, suspended. There are no worries of miscommunication or bathing suits that have failed us or the craziness of the world. Instead I simply focus on one arm in front of the other. And since I am such a bad swimming, I really MUST focus solely on this movement…or I will drown. Literally. I am serious. I swim like a rock. The stakes are kind of high: lift arm, don’t drown, pull arm through water, don’t drown, breathe, don’t drown, repeat.
After the peaceful swim, we somehow find ourselves at Starbucks. How does that happen? I enjoy chatting and catching up and think, why don’t I make more time for these types of moments, moments of laughing and peace, moments for ME? Instead I often choose to drown in my daily challenges instead of taking those moments to just be and enjoy life's simple joys. Sigh. This is one padlock I want to try to remember the combination to!