Swimming Lesson # 1

It’s been a month since our big fat HinJew wedding and now that the dust has settled I decided that I would like to start writing again. We don’t have to worry about wedding planning anymore and all the details involved . . . like tracking down RSVPs, creating table arrangements and alphabetizing the guests (did you know there are like 5 different ways to spell Choudhury?) It was an amazing experience, but I’m happy to have my life back!

One of my goals for this summer is to learn how to swim. Yes, you heard that right. I am 31 and I don’t know how to swim. Last year I was the 31-year-old who couldn’t drive, and this year I am the 31-year-old who can’t swim. One of my biggest fears about driving was that I could die. I don’t think there are many things I do on a regular basis where I worry about hurting myself and others. You don’t hear about people dying taking the train or bus. It’s just not common. But now I love driving. I love the freedom, I love that it’s easier to schlep stuff around, I love that I don’t have to be a slave to SEPTA’s schedule. Maybe one day I will love swimming. Since we will be going to our honeymoon in Puerto Rico a month from now, I figure its time I learn how to swim.

I will be tackling a few major fears at once.
Fear #1: Drowning
Fear #2: Sharks

I almost drowned in someone’s apartment pool while visiting family in L.A. when I was 8 and my mom (fully-clothed) jumped in to save me. I guess I never got over that. My parents put me in swimming lessons at the Y, I went to summer camp, even my military-trained uncle tried to teach me when I was a teenager at a hotel pool in Canada, but I always end up resembling a drowned puppy. People always tell me that my fear of sharks is unjustified . . . . a result of watching too many Discovery channel documentaries and Hollywood movies as a child. “Do you know you have a much greater chance of getting killed in a car accident” is the most common thing people say. But check out what we found washed ashore when J and I took my cousins to Point Pleasant Beach on Memorial Day.

A shark, about the size of my arm, washed ashore in Point Pleasant, NJ

I know it is dead, and that it is too small to hurt me. But it makes you think, “If this shark was in the water, what else could be lurking in there?” Also, we aren’t talking about South Africa, Australia or Hawaii here (the most common areas for attacks according to the International Shark Attack File), we are talking about the Jersey Shore! The place where your biggest problem is supposed to be catching an STD from a meathead. Sure, there haven’t been shark-related fatalities at the Jersey Shore since 1916, but I was scared to get too deep into the water.

Last night was my first swimming lesson with J at our neighborhood gym. J was able to teach me how to drive when no one else could, so I am pretty confident that he’ll be able to help me swim. The first thing he wanted me to do is get comfortable with putting my head under water and exhaling through my nose (creating bubbles). I was able to keep my head under for about 5 seconds at a time, but J kept his head down for 30 seconds easy. Then (wearing goggles) we had an underwater tea party. I kept floating up because I was “filled with air”, as J said. Later we played a game. I did various dance moves under water and J had to guess what I was doing. I successfully did the shopping cart and the sprinkler, but some other moves were really challenging. I guess anything that required a lot of leg movement. Next time you are at a pool try doing the running man under water and you’ll see what I mean.

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