I like to swim. I will swim in pretty much any body of water. Cold, warm, wavy, still, foggy, clear. For years, my preferred body of water was the spectacular pool at the Koret Center at USF. I would try and get out there at least twice a week to swim laps until either a) an hour had passed or b) I had to pee. How do I swim back and forth for an hour without getting bored? I don’t know, some people run and no one’s chasing them. Here’s a snapshot of my thoughts over the course of a one-hour swim in the Koret pool:
Goggles working. Is my watch still on? I should really get a lock so I can lock my locker. Did I leave my lipstick in the car? Where did I park? It’s like I can SEE the Spice Girls in my head but I can’t remember all of them. If you wanna be my lover, gotta get with my friends. Scary? Sugar? What the hell is the blond one’s name? Next lap I’ll count my strokes. Ok NEXT lap I’ll count. Muffins. Warm, blueberry muffins. What if Simone gets hit by a car? Muffins. Is Willa sad? Muffins. They’re going to be gone someday. That community school conference. Clinics on campus. $25,000 just to repair the windows? Can’t the board cover that? Graceland, Graceland, Memphis Tennessee, I’m going to Graceland. Kickboard next time. Switch breathing. My ring looks sparkly. Ouch, my ear. He’s a poor boy, empty as a pocket, empty as a pocket with nothing to lose. Risotto, butter, white wine, shallots, mushrooms, salt. But then I can’t talk to them if I’m making risotto. Chicken Marbella? Marinade it overnight. Fuck, isn’t he allergic to basically all fruit? Chicken Marbella without prunes and apricots? Olives. Breathe. ALL fruit? Citrus? Call Lindsy. My eye itches.
One day last February, while swimming in the USF pool, somewhere between the Spice Girls and Saturday night’s dinner menu, a thought occurred to me, “I should swim in the Bay.” Later that day, I emailed my brother, “This Saturday, the Dolphin Club has an Introduction to Bay Swimming class. Wanna go?” He was in. So on February 22nd, Daniel and I attended a class for which the agenda was basically:
1. Welcome to the Dolphin Club
2. Signs of hypothermia
3. Rules and ways around the rules
4. To review, signs of hypothermia
5. No wetsuits in the locker room
6. More signs of hypothermia
7. Have fun!
We changed into our swimsuits and neoprene caps and walked into the Bay. Since then, up until the morning of my flight to Perth, I’d been swimming in the Bay two to three times a week. Here’s a snapshot of my mind over the course of a 30-minute swim in the Bay:
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fucking fuck, fuckitti fuck, fuck, fuck. What the fuck. This is happening. This is happening. What the fuck is that? This is happening. Is that a fucking seal? That IS a fucking seal. This is happening. This is happening.
Note the dearth of Paul Simon lyrics, the lack of menu planning, and the absence of concern for my children. In the Bay, my brain only has room for three overarching concepts:
1. It’s cold.
2. What is that?
3. This is happening.
And I love it. I love everything about being freezing in the glorious San Francisco Bay. I love the hurt, and the pushing through, and the feeling of achievement.
This is my life, and Perth is happening. We’ve jumped in the water and are bobbing at the surface, making goofy faces at each other and calling for help when we feel scared. We don’t know where we are but the water is warm and the fish are friendly.