Say It Isn't So

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


When I was 7 years old, I joined the YMCA. Yes, I was a girl! It was about a mile from the house and just up the street from my school. It was a place to go swimming (so I didn't have to wait for summer picnics to roll around)!

That same year I had taken ballet in school. I wasn't very good at it. One needs to be graceful to be a ballerina, and graceful I was not! But put me in the water and watch out, I joined the Water Ballerinas. We would dance in the water, doing twirls and dives, swimming underwater and on the top. Some of you might remember TV shows like Jackie Gleason and the dancing girls who performed with the camera looking down upon them from above. It gave a wonderful kaleidescope like effect. I felt like we looked like that when we were dancing in the water.

The Y had a banquet that year and I was invited to dine at the head table. Apparently, I was the youngest member to ever join. I had to give a (little nervous speech) about why I joined the Y. My whole family attended. They were proud as punch and so was I.

Years later I was still a member of the Y. After school (high school) and on Saturdays I would head over there to train on their swim team as a racer. I was built the right way for it. Kind of triangular shaped, broad shoulders (no pun intended) and narrow hips. 40 laps a day was the routine. 10 laps doing the crawl, 10 laps doing the breast stroke, 10 laps with our hands tied and another 10 with our feet tied (never were both the hands and feet tied at the same time!). The side stroke and back stroke would occassionally be thrown in there also. We learned to do the turn as you reached the end of the pool and our dive into the pool was perfected for maximum speed and minimum drag. The training I loved. The actual racing, I hated! I have no desire to beat the other guy. Now, if I could have raced against my brothers, that would be another story. For some reason I was always trying to outdo them! One was 11 years older than me, and the other, 5. Sibling rivalry, you think?

Later, after attaining a quasi-adult status, I started smoking. A habit which had no basis in the mature thoughts of a quasi-adult mind, but in the tumultuous thoughts of a latent teenager who had just been dumped. But I still went to the swimming pool to do my laps. And as a smoker, that first cigarette after a swim tasted so weird! It tasted awful. Of course, that is not enough to deter an avid rebellious quasi-adult/latent teenage smoker. But the mind gets to working, sometimes whether you want it to or not, and I knew that it was the chlorine in the pool that was ruining the taste of that rebel fag (fag as in cigarette, not fag as in queer). And so my fear of chlorinated swimming pools began to foster. My fear of cigarettes began before I started smoking. That chlorine was getting into my skin, into my tastebuds, into my body and I was not happy about that. So I quit swimming in those cemented swimming pools. I stuck to lakes, rivers and oceans after that. It was much easier to quit those swimming pools that it was to quit those cigarettes, but eventually I quit that too.


At 11:29 AM, November 08, 2005, Blogger mdmhvonpa said...

Hmmm, if Chlorine could get you to stop swimming, think what it could do for smokers everywhere! ;)

At 9:24 PM, November 08, 2005, Blogger mouse said...

Did not give up the swimming! Just in overly chlorinated public swimming pools. I love things like lakes full of water spiders and leeches, rivers full of fishees and frogs, oceans full of sharks and stinging jellyfish:)

At 3:13 PM, November 11, 2005, Blogger Pris said...

came on mainly to say hi, mouse....and before cfids when I could get out and swim, I used to swim off my boat up north. Jaws destroyed that for me, forever;-) Need to see the bottom now to feel safe.


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