I´ve always liked swimming. Swimmy, swimmy, swimmy, that´s me. Amazing Swimmypants. Except that I´ve never been any good at it. That is to say, I know more or less the movements, I believe I do them more or less correctly, and I feel like I´m working pretty hard. But I look all around me and in comparison with the folks in other lanes, I might as well be swimming backwards. I hate going slower than other folks. HATE. IT. Not that I´d ever admit as much in public. Oops, I just did. Well, whatever. What I admit on the internet stays on the internet.
So down here in Managua I´ve been swimming a lot more than normal. I do this both because it´s a relatively accessible sport (hard to come by around here) and because my housemate Alta, with whom I spend about 98% of my free time, is a swimaholic. And damn, she´s really really fast. Five feet, eleven inches of Dutch swimming torpedo. She swims so much faster than I do that I give her the Doppler Effect in my head as she zooms by. (Zzzzzeeeeeoooowwwwmmm!) And in spite of this semi-ritualistic exercise in humiliation for slow slow slow little me, it´s been a load of fun. She taught me how to swim butterfly stroke and taught me some tips to swim the breast stroke and free-style a little faster. But best of all, she inadvertently taught me another lesson, and I will love her forever for it. This slowness? Not my fault.
In the past I always chalked up my inexplicable slowness to a lack of training, or perhaps a lack of eptitude. But no, it turns out I was wrong to think there was something wrong with my effort or skill. It turns out, as Alta illustrated for me the other day, that I am not made of bone, fat, and muscle like a normal person. No, it turns out that I, Amazing Cheastypants, am a solid lump of rock.
No really, it´s true. Alta and I were fooling around in the pool after swimming laps yesterday and we were remembering about how when you´re a little girl you have tea parties on the bottom of the pool. ¨Hey, let´s do one now!¨ I exclaimed, and promptly dove to the bottom, seated myself cross-legged on the floor, and began to pour cups of tea for Alta and me. Then I noticed that Alta was having a hell of a time staying down on the bottom. She was, in fact, working seriously hard just to stay somewhere near the bottom. What the heck? Why is she having so much trouble? We ran out of air and surfaced. ¨My God, Cheasty, how did you stay down there like that?!¨ she asked me, as she buoyantly bobbed on the surface of the water. Well I´d told her before that I don´t float, but she hadn´t believed me. I am a solid lump of rock. I don´t float, I sink. And AS A RESULT (why hasn´t this ocurred to me before?) when I swim I have to move all that non-floating mass through the water. No wonder I´m so stinking slow. At any rate, that's my theory and I'm sticking with it.
Sigh. I feel so much better about myself. I´m just a solid lump of rock. Not much I can do about that.