Thursday, July 31, 2008
I Am a Guppy. Deal With It.
This week, I am Esther Williams! I am Amanda Beard! I am Miss Piggy in that synchronized swimming fantasy she has in The Great Muppet Caper!
In short, I have been swimming. A lot.
Summer is by far my favorite season of the year. It requires so little clothing. I don't feel pressure to wear makeup, just a little sunscreen and some lip balm. You can sit outside and drink beers all day long if you have the mind to. AND you can go swimming. Which makes me giddy if I sit here and think about it for too long.
Because, you see, I love swimming. If I see a pool from a distance or even smell chlorine, I get excited. I'm like a puppy who wants to go for walk. "Pool? Now? Us? Pool? Pool?! Pool!" And before you know it, I'm sitting in the doorway with my suit on and a towel around my waist telling you to, "Hurry up and get your ass ready. The pool waits for no man!"
When I was a kid, swimming was better than Christmas. On vacations, I would BEG my parents to stay in a hotel with a pool. I didn't want dinner. I didn't want to go shopping. I didn't want to sit in the room and watch cable TV. I wanted to go swimming. "One hour after eating to prevent cramps" be DAMNED! When there wasn't a pool around, I would just overfill the bathtub and attempt to float in it.
But let me first clarify that I am, in fact, a terrible swimmer. Oh, I can tread water for hours and hours and hours and hours. And I can do a fairly graceful dive. My underwater handstands are sublime. But when it comes to actually swimming laps, my skills are abysmal. I blame it all on the fact that I never passed guppy level at swimming lessons. Allow me to tell you why.
I had a crush. On two boys. Brothers. And they were both in my swimming class. Along with my brother who knew I had a crush on said boys and was constantly making fun of me for it. And so, as I tried to maintain my dignity while wearing a swimming suit in front of boys, my swimming skills suffered. Everyone else went on to minnow levels. And eventually, I stopped taking lessons altogether. The angst was just too much. Which is why, at almost 29, I am still a guppy.
But let me just say that being a guppy is nothing to be ashamed of. I imagine there are a lot of aged tadpoles out there still wearing their water wings or avoiding the water altogether. I can totally do a breathstroke. Just not a very effective one. And sometimes, when trying to breathe and stroke is just too much trouble, I simply stop mid-pool and have a nice, refreshing break. I don't go to lap swimming to break any kind of speed record or whittle myself down to one of those streamlined swimmer's builds. I just go to wallow around in the water. Less of a duck to water, and more of a pig in shit. A fabulous one with purple gloves, a green boyfriend, and a no-nonsense karate chop. As Miss Piggy would say, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye." I believe this also applies to proper swimming technique.