I am convinced that mostly good things happen in pools.
First of all, I’m glad we float. For all our complaining, the human body is a pretty cool thing. (Everything that’s waterproof is cool).
Second of all, thank God for belly flops, which are awesome for everyone, even the flopper, if it’s a good one, because then they get a splotchy paunchy battle-wound to strut around with for a while. I like to surprise people at public pools by pulling a sick belly flop in a two-piece. Pizzo is the only person who dares outsmack me. We are having a contest this afternoon at the Country Club Towers. I wish more people would try. It would bring us all together, the blondies and oldies and fatties, if we threw it down, gut-first, more frequently.
This afternoon, the sun was coming through the water in glimmering rays and flittering on the tile T below me. I hovered underwater with my goggles on and ran my hand in and out of the shape-shifting fairy dust for a few seconds of admiration. The water is a little warmer where the sun is and where heat comes out and where you might have went pee but not said anything about it. Which I did not do. (But I used to).
I am continuously impressed with our fluidity underwater. Do you know you can move practically any way you want to when you’re submerged? I tried it today. I could move into every formation my legs led me, which is impressive for me, since I have the knees of an 80-year-old war veteran.
I am only beaming and body-happy now because I woke up in a bad mood this morning. I was feeling a little fat, which is ridiculous because I’m not fat, but people from without would have me think that I am. I didn’t shake the fatness feeling until I decided I was going to like at least one thing today and jumping in a pool would be it.
I think my blues were twofold. One, I hadn’t done anything fun yet, and that can add pounds to a day. And two, my sluggish reluctance must have been because Moving has become so obligatory. I have to walk the dog. I have to go for a run. I have to work out today because I didn’t yesterday. I’m tired of having to.
Kids who don’t drink two-liters-a-cola and play Wii all day are skinny because they do their physical things with the pure unadulterated motive of not having to. I was thinking today, while looking like a six-year-old learning how to swim, that it’s unfortunate how adults don’t look like six-year-olds doing anything anymore. Serious this, serious that. Someone needs to pick us up and shake us or push us in once in a while.
I know I am an adult, and realistically, the activities which get me moving can’t be as carefree as zooming around a pool or a playground. But when we were hunters and gatherers and farmers and communities using outside to do real things, movement was mandatory in a way that promoted progress rather than vanity.
I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to that, but I’ve been swimming because indoor gyms thick with matching outfits, make-up, and mirrors exhaust me. Someday I’ll have a farm and get my exercise hoisting heaping baskets of produce to the communal table. But for now, being in the water, mostly alone, gives me time to think, time to be light and quiet, and filled with liquid light and quiet. I feel a rarity of contemplation and peace that does feel like progress at the bottom of pools.
When I got out of the water, there were these two little girls smashing pretzels into the ground and giggling their heads off, so I gave them a few stomps myself, and then my workout was complete.