Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Treading is always an option

I spent yesterday morning giving swimming lessons to a friend who didn't really know how to swim and who started to panic a little stepping into water a little over 3-foot deep. My friend is not a dwarf nor abnormally short. The fear had a different origin. One that was a foreign concept to me because, for the longest time, I've been at home in the water. Texas is so fucking hot during the summertime that the only way to survive to spend it immersed in something other than your own sweat. Parents toss their young into the pool at a young age and expect them figure out. I survived the ritualistic baptism by fire in our 4-foot above ground monstrosity. Shortly after that test it was swim lessons every summer that ended the year I maxed out and finished the final course before lifeguard certification. Yes, I've rescued a drowning dummy and used my own jeans as a flotation device. From there is was the city swim club and competitive swimming. I didn't suck but didn't really win either.

As yesterday's sun beat down, my only goal was to at least convince her she could float on her back. We came close. Even though she wouldn't give up control and let go of the wall, she did indeed float on her back. There was no faith in the water not to screw her over, to be that invisible layer of support beneath her back. I hope I was understanding and patient. A teacher I am not, but I figure I do okay when I try. It also made me realize that there are things I'm afraid of, and even though others may be able to do them, the smallest step will be difficult for those who are afraid.

9 comments:

  1. My offer still stands, 8, 1/2 hour lessons for $75. It's a steal.
    I still have my Swim School certificates.

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  2. Scarlet, I can swim, but I would sign up just to let you molest me. :P

    Flamey, I think Nebraska kids are much like Texas kids. I was in my first pool before I made my first birthday. I can float for hours, and as a child, I would swim to exhaustion simply because it was fun.

    Sadly, I never really paid attention during swimming class and never passed a single one.

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  3. I don't think it's odd that someone doesn't know how to swim. And if you're not a kid, it must be especially scary. You have to be very patient to teach an adult something new like that. I once tried to show a thirty year old how to ride a bicycle and I was just hopeless.

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  4. Sometimes the best thing to do is just be there to support someone.

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  5. I never quite learned how to swim. Oh I can tread water and get from one end of the pool to the other. But it ain't easy and it damn sure ain't pretty. Damn it! I always told my parents we needed a pool.

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  6. You were a very good teacher.

    Baby steps, Serena, I need baby steps.

    At least we got some sun!

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  7. CoyotoeMike, for $75 I might consider it.

    I used to be scared of the deep end. Sharks and all.

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  8. Got any friends here with pool? I think I'm gonna need some....

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  9. wow, you're a better woman than me. i always, also, believed that our instinct would take over and we would literally rise to the top and start paddling. so one time when my little cousin was learning to swim, he was basically being pushed between me, my brother and his father. when my brother threw the little guy to me, i stepped back, thinking he would know to come up for air. after a second, i reached down and finally grabbed him but he was scared sh*tless. you, good patient teacher. me, maniacal water nazi.

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