i don’t know why i titled it that. maybe because that’s how i feel these days. maybe because it means not having any water. maybe i don’t know. maybe i thought it would make you read this.
someone on facebook today was talking about the dilemma of trying to get her son to learn how to swim when he was very reluctant to do so. it sparked a thread of conversation about it all. what to do, what others’ experiences were. the balance between the importance of learning to swim and wanting him not to have a scary and/or scarring experience.
i’ve always loved the water. i’ve lived on a lake my whole life … it’s funny to say that, really, because i consider that part of ‘life’ my wind lake part, and at this point, i’ve only lived that part *half* of my life. but given that i’ve lived in chicago for nearly the other half, i guess i’ve lived “on a lake” the other half, too. too bad that living in chicago, i have hardly made any acquaintance with the lake at all. i don’t know why. digression.
but i’ve lived on a lake my whole growing up years, and we *did* take swimming lessons from the neighbor lady who taught them. in the lake. i don’t remember a lot of specifics, but there were actual levels and all of that. it might of been then that i grew a fear of buoys, which is directly tied in to my inexplicable fear of big signs. buoys are WAY worse, though. actually, i bet it WAS then that i got the buoy fear. they were SO scary. just thinking about them now, i’m getting creeped out. digression.
but i learned how to swim officially and then we swam. every chance we could. supervised all throughout childhood, and then as we got old enough, we supervised ourselves, the neighborhood kids. we’d swim around this raft out “in the deep end,” and play games and just have the best time. we all went out together and no one ever went out alone and it was amazing. i wouldn’t ever trade those summers. unfortunately, i never learned to water ski, which is a bummer, but i wouldn’t change anything else.
i’m a pisces, so maybe that says something, but i just have always loved the water. my parents would make me come out and tell me that my lips were blue. i just didn’t want to get out for anything. i hated swimming in high school, cause it was just so icky to have to get undressed in front of my classmates and have to have mandatory showers (before and after) and all of that. not to mention all the actual formal swimming we had to do. there was NOTHING fun about that.
we did get to learn safety stuff junior year, though, and that was actually pretty good. stuff about treading water and getting back into a tipped over canoe (man, the bruises!) and how to keep yourself afloat with your own clothes. stuff i remember, at least. oh, and the pulling each other through the water by our ponytails and shit. lifesaving!!
but it always amazes me when i run across people who tell me flat out “i don’t know how to swim.” i’m sure my face betrays me with a look of amazed wonderment/slight disgust as i can’t imagine not being able to do something so basic. in turn, they always backpedal saying “i can doggie paddle.” this always clues me in .. they’d be fucked in about 2 minutes. doggie paddle? what’s that? in essence, that’s flailing. that’s no stroke. that’s nothing that will keep you afloat. seriously. get in a pool and try to ‘doggie paddle’ your way somewhere. watch a dog ‘doggie paddle’ somewhere. it’s tiring and draining and it’s drowning city.
if someone tells me they can ‘doggie paddle,’ i’m always thinking … this is a person who truly doesn’t know how to swim. i will have to be careful of them in a crisis situation. but i just always wonder … really? you don’t know how to tread water? you don’t know how to float? but i know a lot of people don’t. a lot of people can’t put their face in the water without plugging their nose. it’s hard for me to understand, but it’s the truth. but you’re talking to a girl that at her peak could do something stupid like 5 somersaults in a row — 3 without taking a breath or something. no nose plug required.
the water is my friend, but i also have a very healthy respect and fear for it as well. i feel it’s like fire. they are there to help us and can bring us much life and joy, but in the wrong context can be unmercifully destructive, and very, very quickly. there are some things you shouldn’t fuck with. even during my drinking days, i HATED to see drunk people around water and fire. it’s just like … why go there? why put yourself in a position to be really, really dangerous?
i don’t know why i’m telling you all this stuff. i just haven’t written in awhile and so i guess i’m writing. again. not a great blog post. it’s been awhile and i need to get my chops back.