Circle Swim Hell
I roll my eyes at Butterball Backward Swimmer’s start to her circle swimming lecture. I don’t care if she can see me doing this; though maybe she can’t because of my foggy mask.
In any case, I don’t have the patience for her pedantics. “I know how to Circle Swim!” I harrumph rudely, still not caring.
Tonight the pool at the downtown Oakland Y, needless to say, is utter mayhem. Summer is in full swing and the anarchy splashes to a crescendo. If I didn’t need to swim so badly because of my bad back, I’d just get out, but the water is so good for the pain.
And so, I’m rude.
Butterball has been swimming backwards, splitting the lane for the first 10 minutes of my swim, but now Hawaiian Swim Trunks Man wants to join the lane, and oh hell, this should be fun.
He’s in the water too now. We’re all clumped at the wall as the gang of Asian Teenage boys toss the water basketball into our lane. “Oh…sorry sorry so sorry.”
Why do I even bother to swim during the summer?And now circle swimming with these two?
“I know how to circle swim,” I repeat, “but do YOU?” They both gaze at me, blankly. They have no clue.
“Yes, yes that is of course,” Butterball nods.
“Great,” I grunt. “I hope you can pay attention,” knowing that they won’t know what this means, but it just comes out. Is it really rocket science to wait at the wall if a swimmer is on your heels going 20 mph faster than you?
Butterball floats after me, her backward nonchalance unchanged in the new paradigm of circle swimming. Hawaiian swim trunks man proceeds to practice a WIDE breaststroke that knocks into me each time I pass him no matter how small I make myself.
Is this really swimming?
It is at the Oakland Y at the height of summertime!
And so, later, in the hot tub with DL, when she asks me how my swim was, I have to just roll my eyes again and say, “Summer! I don’t even know why I bother! If it weren’t for my back and this hot tub, well….”
She nods in sympathy even though I don’t think she’s ever tried circle swimming here at the Y.She swims in the sea. Something I can’t fathom in the frigid No Cal Waters. When I’d asked Sandy later if she swam in the ocean, she just looked at me like I was bananas: “I would if there were a reason for it….” I crack up. “But since I don’t surf, what’s the point?”
DL giggles in that quiet delightful way she has when we’re in the final getting dressed phase of the Oakland Y. She’s all for swimming in the ocean any and every chance she can. Loves loves loves it. I get this. I love swimming in the ocean too.
My toes frozen. My head an ice cube. My frigid eyeballs ready to fall out from their sockets!
Because if there’s one thing I loathe more than circle swimming, it’s the cold.