Sunday, February 20, 2011

first world problems, first world fun

I have a place to swim! I joined a gym so I could use their pool. It's all rather thrilling.

I-joined-a-gym I-joined-a-gym I-joined-a-gym...that's how the phrase flows out of your mouth whether you want it to or not. The beginning of a new year being high season for I-joined-a-gym, it is almost impossible not to say it that way. Although I did, note, join said gym in December, not January. Whatever.

January in America. When we are assumed to be participating in some agreed-upon group penance for being our greedy, horrible selves. It is so tedious. And tyrannical. And, well, incorrect. And part of why we get fatter. Fuck our inescapable Puritan roots, or however this mass, commercialized mea-culpa is chosen to be understood: it's bullshit. Who decided that it's not okay to celebrate our celebrations? That is, in fact, how celebrations work. By celebrating them. Aligning the post-holiday downshift with virtue and an assumption of guilt is delusional. And playing into the I'm Good/I'm Horrible pendulum that keeps the diet industry in motion, which in turns pours the GNP into making sure we're sure we need to fix things we haven't been fixing. What a waste of time.

Whoa, okay. I'm back. Anyhow. Up until joining the pool I had been "working out"--also another term it's hard to avoid, but whatever--it flows--by using the treadmill in my building, until my Achilles you say. Squawked. Splurgoyed. Swigguned. I want to say "snapped," which isn't accurate--if the whole thing really had I would be in a wheelchair--but something sproinged back there and all that became impossible.

Sample pool about to be used by a nice couple!

Although I adore swimming, and it is in fact medically advisable in my case, the hassle of it all had kept me avoiding it for a long time. The hassle is, in fact, the exact opposite of the ease of using a treadmill. When I used the treadmill, I could pop downstairs in whatever I was wearing and toddle away for a proscribed time, and then it was done. That's it. No prep, no clean-up particularly. 15 minutes, 30 minutes. Done. I loved that.

Going swimming means committing yourself to a two-hour to-do list of constant tasks involving packing things you'll need, getting to the gym, changing clothes, locking things up, swimming--oh yeah, swimming--then doing it all in reverse, only more, as you wish somebody designed a people-washing machine that got rid of the chlorine you can smell emitting from your pores and/or that somebody could hold you upside down by your feet and swish your hair in clean water like a little girl with her Barbie doll. Honestly, I find the hoo-ha surrounding swimming much more exhausting than swimming itself.

"Swimming" probably isn't quite the right word: it's probably more accurate to say I caper about. I do swim some laps, but I do lots of exercises, stretching and "weight-lifting" (styrofoam "weight"-pushing)--things like that. It has occurred to me more than a few times that what I do is basically hop in the water and start demonstrating the Ministry of Silly Walks.

Being in the water makes me so happy. It makes me so happy that it tells you something about how much of a hassle swimming is, as that kept me from going swimming for so long when I might have been able to. The pool I go to is not far away, and other than a few problems, it is pretty much all one would hope for in a pool. I am embracing the two hours of hassle and constant slight chlorine pong for the joy of being in the water.

The lovely ladies of the Padded Lilies

Someday I plan on having the pool of my dreams. It will have the sturdiest stairs and handrails to ease to the journey into and out of gravity, a big deep end, an infinity edge for happy water flow, be kept at the cool temperature I like, and I will be able to just walk out the door and hop in it. It is going to be beautiful! You're all invited.