Sunday, January 21, 2007

THE SECRETS OF HAPPY SWIMMERS

“Hey, did you guys hear the news about Chlorine and Water?” The Lovely I’s girlfriend settles into the Hot Tub between PP and Lovely I.
The tub’s full of regulars—Muscular Real Estate Guy, Intellectual Russian Scholar Turned Tech Writer, the Lovely I and her GF, and Pool Puss.

We all shake our heads at LIGF’s question. But PP ventures a guess in a generalized depressing way. ‘It’s something bad, isn’t it?”
LIGF shakes her head. Sighs. “Yeah, I saw on CNN that chlorinated water causes a 50% increase in Bladder Cancer.”
Great. Why is everything cancer cancer cancer???!!! PP is so godamn sick of cancer. She’s already taking a risk swimming here in the late afternoon before 4 p.m. cuz Mills closes at 3:45and her dermatologist had said to avoid the sun between 10 & 4. So,her swim is fraught with worry about the sun and cancer. Now she has to worry about the goddamn water and cancer, too?

Shit!

Intellectual Russian Scholar shakes her head and pronounces, “It’s a very rare cancer.”
Everyone nods. Hell she sounds like she knows what she’s talking about. But then she always does, whether it’s cancer or sewing or politics or ballet. She knows the answer. “Besides,” she continues, “I always figure, like with the sun, that the benefits of swimming outweigh the risks. We need the vitamin D too.”

MREG agrees, lifting his leg outta the tub to stretch by holding his hand under the bottom of his foot. “Yeah. And the cardiovascular workout is good for our hearts. Why if we didn’t swim, we’d die of a heart attack.”

IRS nods, “Something’s gonna get you. You may as well swim.”

Everyone laughs uneasily as we try not to ponder our demise to closely.

“What did the study say? Was it about competitive swimmers, like water polo players and Olympic swimmers?” MREG asks, grabbing the bottom of his other leg. “Cuz if it’s about professional swimmers, you know they stay in the water a lot longer than the general population or even us regular swimmers!”

All chuckle as LIGF thinks a moment. “Well, I’m not sure who the study studied exactly. But that’s a very good question. I think, though, they were talking more about our drinking water than the pool water. Though the chlorine can be absorbed through our skin and cause this cancer.”

“Charming.” PP shakes her head. “Now we hafta worry about getting cancer from both the pool and our water supply.”

The Lovely I shakes her head. “No wonder we need to read those stupid books about the 9 Secrets of Happy People. Without it, we’d really be depressed.”
“Like what are the secrets?” PP asks.
“Oh….I don’t know. I was just flipping through the book and glancing at the ‘rules’ and saying to myself. Nope, I don’t do that. No, never even thought of that one. Hell, I did that once like 30 years ago. I’m DOOMED!!!”
Everyone laughs.
PP persists. She really wants to be happy.

Well, in theory at least.

In reality she knows it’s impossible. Especially with so much cancer in the air and the water and what else? Oh yeah, Diet Coke.

The Lovely I pauses to think a moment. “Well, like one thing the book said is that Happy People always make sure that they do ONE thing EVERY day that will make them Happy.”
“That seems simple enough,” MREG asserts, shaking his brawny shoulders.
“Yeah, it SEEMS simple enough, “ LI agrees, “ but just try doing it.”
PP grins. “I’m gonna make sure that I swim everyday. That makes me happy!”
Everyone nods in agreement. “But what about the Cancer?” LI exclaims. “Cancer doesn’t make us happy!”
Shaking our collective heads, everyone is silent for a moment.
“Well, I don’t know about you,” IRS announces while she slowly makes her way out of the tub, “But I’m gonna go lie in the sun and drink a Diet Coke and….”
”Eat some Oreos with lots of Trans Fats!” PP interrupts.
IRS glances at her, perplexed. “Do Trans Fats cause Cancer?”

LIGF grins, exclaims happily to PP, “Oreos! Right on!”

Shaking her head in a motherly oh what will I do with these naughty children fashion, IRS steps out of the tub and meanders over to a lounge chair, taking advantage of the late January California sunshine and its life giving vitamin D and life taking UVB rays.

PP watches in envious admiration. There is something to be said for throwing caution to the wind. Living in the moment with no cares about the future.

But it’s hard to do once you’ve had cancer. Especially when the one thing you resolve to do to make you happy is to swim everyday outdoors in the killer sun.

Sighing, PP waves bye to the Lovely I and her GF as they get outta the tub, sauntering slowly toward the locker room.

Donning her cap, grabbing her fins, kickboard and pull buoy, PP follows and heads for an open lane in the pool.
O Fuck the goddamn Cancer! At least for today.
And chuckling to herself, she tests the water before plunging happily into the cool, blue lane.

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