Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vegetarian chili

I am eating vegetarian chili I had frozen from the hospital cafeteria while Mom was still a patient. I'm eating something that feels like a hair and I think it may a fiber from one of the many vegetables, or, a hair. I have come back from the north end pool with more water in my ears irritating my already irritated sinuses. This swimming project has a couple of drawbacks.
I am a silent and sullen swimmer. I walk into the shallow end and plow through the increasing deeper waters until I reach the laps lane. It is sectioned off from the diving area and the swimming area and it is approximately six feet wide which is inadequate but at least it exists. There is a foot-wide dark ribbon painted on the floor in the middle of the lane and if there is a solitary swimmer she may use the ribbon as a guide as she swims across the pool. If there are two swimmers they can easily stay on one side of the ribbon or the other and maintain an easy separation that promotes good swimming. This works well if one or both swimmers like to do the crawl and when the pool side is reached they dive under the water performing a somersault and surfacing in the same lane as before. If there are more than two swimmers the oval orbit pattern is the best choice. The swimmers continue in an endless loop traveling down one side of the ribbon to the opposite end and returning on the other side of the ribbon and so on and so on. Sounds easy? Well, it's not. Why? Because every swimmer who enters the laps lane believes that she should be the ONLY lap swimmer in the lane. Like so many other situations in life a class system exists here. I do not totally understand as my experience is slight but I will report on what I know at this time. There are many kinds of swimmers. At any given pool the two most respected classes are the fancy divers - the high dive, of course - and the lap swimmers. We will concentrate on the lap swimmers at this time. The most basic ability level consists of half-swimmer/ half water walker. She swims 10-20 feet and then touches bottom and walks for the rest of the lap. She rarely goes under water preferring to remain on the surface to better watch the numerous social combinations occurring around the pool. She doesn't have the strength to swim an entire lap and she may remain in the lap lane for a small amount of time - rarely more than 10-15 minutes. There are exceptions, of course. These people usually have come to the pool with a group of others and they have excused themselves from that group to do laps. Occasionally, one of their group will travel along with them on the other side of the rope so she will not lose the social connection. The middle level consists of lap swimmers who are able to complete several laps at a time without stopping. The number can range from five to twenty on the average. They are not speedy swimmers but they believe in consistency and duration and like the tortoise, are capable of winning the race. They may prefer more than one swimming form. I am in this group and I prefer breast stroke with occasional back stroke and side stroke to rest my neck muscles as I do not like to put my head underwater. It tastes bad, people do pee in it, the smell is strong and my throat, eyes and nose object. Not to mention the great number of people walking around with the most God-awful open sores. Just go ahead and count how many band-aids are floating around. The last and most formidable group are the true swimmers. They usually wear goggles and caps. They may use timing devices and they have large water bottles at the edge of the pool for immediate hydration. Amazingly, they come in all shapes and sizes. You would think that these strong, long-distance swimmers would develop sleek, muscled bodies but this is often not the case. They swim long stretches of laps usually with faces under the water for the majority of the time. This limits their ability to see other swimmers in the laps lane whether they be in front of them or on opposite sides. This does not seem to bother them as they are like large semi-trucks on the highway. As the trucks know they are the biggest dudes on the road this class of swimmers know they are the swiftest and strongest of the lot and woe be to anyone who gets in their way. They swim without rules, without morals and without consequences. They believe their superior ability has promoted them to a god-like status and no one can question their behavior in the water. Needless to say, I hate these people, but like the other small frogs in the pond I must quickly get out of their way and learn to swim around them and not with them. A pox on all of them, I say. May the next mouthful of pool water you accidentally swallow contain a strain of serious diarrhea parasites who drain your system of everything necessary and healthful.

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