On two separate occasions, I brought my bathing suit to the Y, then changed my mind and just worked out instead. If that doesn’t give you an idea of the conflict within myself, I don’t know what will.
For the most part, I can bounce along in life, and as long as I do something well, I am satisfied. I know that isn’t the case with swimming. It awakens the competitive beast within me, and while it’s an impressive thing to have, it’s also a bitch to harness.
This morning, I dyed my husband’s hair grey—
(Obviously, I am not just going to drop that in without an explanation, since it’s awesome. He is participating in one of this state’s law schools IP moot court competitive, and he is supposed to be a 50 year old expert. He and a partner were talking about it, and decided that Vor should actually look the part, the 50 year old part, that is. So, I got out the baby powder for a trial run this morning, and wiped it all over his hair. Yes. I can actually say I made my husband’s hair turn grey.)
(Also, I am a grey person, not a gray person. I think there is even a difference in the way I pronounce with when I vary between the two words. Are you a grey, or a gray?)
—I dyed my husband’s hair grey, and shooed him out the door to work. “Aren’t you going to work out today?” He asks, as I am containing the tiny airplanes that I brought back from Tucson. Instead of verbally answering him, I pull a Superman. I’m wearing a wrap v neck shirt, so I flash him my bathing suit, and he cracks up. He leaves, and I gather up Lis for school.
Then, before I know it, I am standing in the Y, in my bathing suit, gazing at the pool. It’s been ages since I put a cap on, but my hands remember the motions, and It is smoothly pulled over my too-long hair, lose ends easily captured. My goggles—Speedo Vanquishers, my personal favorite—slide easily on, no fogging, and before I can stop myself, I slide underwater. No going back. I’m back in, in a way I haven’t been in ten years.
My hands reach down to my hip, right side, to touch my nose clips. I’m startled when I find them missing, then I laugh to myself. Old habits don’t die hard. They just never die at all. I didn’t bring my nose clips with me this time. This is just to swim laps.
I swim laps for a half hour. Although my body moves in exactly the same way as it always did—I have great kinesthetic memory—I tell it lacks the power, grace, and flexibility. My arms are tired after only a half hour; I used to swim laps for three hours straight, no stopping. I look down at the bottom of the pool as I swim, watching the light from the windows dance around. I wish there was a mirror on the bottom of the pool so that I could check my form, but there isn’t. I’ll just have to rely on my memory.
After my half hour is up, I start to cool down. Instead of just kicking and paddling, my brain says, why not? and I kick into my basic sculls, four laps, one lap of each. Since that felt good, I do laps of fast eggbeatering, and I feel like I’m going to die. Definitely not as strong as I used to be. But even still, I keep my shoulders well above water the entire time, and I can see the lifeguard watching me, her head cocked to the side, wondering how it looks like I am walking on the bottom in the deep end. Oh, yes.
I’m tempted to go under water and see how well I keep my legs and straight, but that’s exactly why I didn’t bring the nose clips.
Old habits, you know.