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February 18, 2011

It was a dark and stormy afternoon...

It's a' brewing
I just got back from a very long walk. The morning started out partly sunny and ended with a windy chill. Usually as I walk the day warms up but this time it seemed to be getting colder and windier and darker by the minute. Storm clouds are building and the sky looks ominous and I think we're about to have a real-deal bonafide storm.

My supplies are all stocked up, I have a good book (When We Were Strangers, of course, this month's book club selection) and I have beverages and snacks and candles if the power goes out.

Oh yeah, there's something I forgot to tell you about my adopted home city. When it rains the power goes out. I'm not sure why our infrastructure isn't water-resistant, some little mysteries are best left unexplained.

- - -

Luckily I can swim

Yes I can swim, so if my rooftop patio turns into a swamp I'll get through it. Seems when I mentioned the class that wasn't some people thought I was taking swimming lessons instead of swimming exercise class. I got several earnest, heartfelt notes urging me to reconsider and learn to swim and stories of how the writer or his/her mom/sister/aunt learned to swim as an adult and conquer the fear.

You know, until I read those notes I never thought about my own ability to swim, it was something I just took for granted. My folks taught me as a baby and it's something I can't remember not knowing how to do. Thanks to those notes, when I talk to my dad this weekend I'm going to tell him how grateful I am they threw me in the pool early because that is one life skill I definitely would not want to learn as an adult. When you're a kid your fear and anxiety level is so low about things like learning to swim or learning to ride a bike or trying to fly by jumping off Little Nanny's barn (whoops) fourteen times (whoops). I think I spent most of my childhood jumping off stuff and landing in creeks and bayous and large piles of dirt. It is sort of a miracle I survived.

I don't have a fear of water or swimming, though I am not real fond of boats. And I downright panic at the thought of a big ship, like a cruiseliner. They make me hyperventilate just looking at them (see what I mean about adult-level anxieties? I am pure crazy head.)

My ability to swim is the only reason I can even step foot on a small boat. I have two firm rules when it comes to watercraft: the vessel must be small enough for me to safely jump off the side and the boat journey can't take us out of site of the shore because I can swim to shore.

When my mom and I were in Bermuda last year we discovered that much of the transportation around the island was on a water taxi (read: boat). We were about to step on the first boat and she turned to me and saw the expression on my face.

"Are you going to be OK? You're not going to upchuck or wig out or anything are you?" she asked. SO MOTHERLY.

"I'm fine," I reassured her. "But we have to sit on the top deck so we can evacuate more quickly if we start to sink."

"Why would we sink?" she asked. My family enjoys humoring me.

"Not sure," I said. "Could be anything -- pirates, icebergs, mechanical sharks. The point is we have to be ready and aware."

"It must be hell living inside your brain," she said cheerfully.

"Sometimes," I said.

We got on the boat and sat down (near the side of the boat, easier access to the edge) and she laughed at me.

"You look like you're working out a math problem," she said.

"I think if we have to swim for shore we'll probably have to ditch your handbag," I informed her.

"Why do we have to get rid of mine? Yours is bigger," she said.

"Because I'm the stronger swimmer," I replied tartly. "If I'm dragging you, I can't take your purse and mine both. And we'll need some money for the wine I'll have to drink after this mini-Titanic goes down."

"Yeah," she said, "I could really use some of that wine RIGHT NOW."

Then she put on her sunglasses and pretended to be vacationing alone. But it was such a great trip. I could see the shore the whole time.

- - -


When the big storm hits today, I will be safely home, safely cocooned in my little world where my personal heated blanket is all ready to go:

Oh yeah.

Posted by laurie at February 18, 2011 11:34 AM