My daddy taught me how to swim, and I've had a swimming pool in my backyard for 36 years of my life. When we moved from Glendale to Phoenix, we decided against a pool because the desert dust storms were always turning it to mud and husband was tired of trying to keep it from turning green.
When I was growing up, my mother always made me wear a cap - a white rubbery number with a bumpy woven texture and a little chin strap. Not a very flattering accessory - especially when the boyfriend came over.
Now that I'm older and cellulite has turned the thighs to cottage cheese, I've had a phobia about appearing in public in a swim suit. I like dimples, but not when they form a landscape of hills and valleys starting at the second fold of my knee. I took a chance, however, and joined a water aerobics class along with the other white-haired ladies. After viewing the assortment of body types that padded single file down the kiddie's shallow end into the water, my fear of revealing my thunder thighs has somewhat diminished. As we were "jogging" and "jumping jacks" and "cross-country skiing" to the oldies, I observed a woman swimming laps at the other end of the pool. She swam back and forth for about 45 minutes. She had a long, slender body.
I want a long, slender body.
In my new quest of body-image improvement, I have taken up the sport of swimming again. I bought a new racer-back swim suit, goggles, and swim cap - not white, but black with a green dolphin. I can't go wrong with a dolphin on my cap. Off I go on my laps, swimming in my best free style. After the second lap, I found myself gasping for air, and the life guard started walking my way. Guess I'm a little out of shape. Forty-five minutes turned out to be a really long time. In just a few days, however, I increased to 14 laps using a variety of my best strokes.
There are pluses and minuses to swimming at the community center.
1. It is extremely difficult to pull down a wet swim suit, go to the bathroom, and try to tug it back up. It's kind of like a rhinoceros shedding the skin of a lizard.
2. Water likes to flow into my ears. I have to stand on my head to feel it slosh around the ear canal and try to persuade it to trickle back out where it belongs.
3. Getting dressed in the locker room with 70 year-old women was a rude awakening. I guess years of having babies and surgeries has diminished their modesty. And all the cartoons depicting sagging boobs and body fat are true after all.
4. My hair looks like crap every day.
1. Swimming is an excellent cardio workout.
2. Swimming is low impact on my arthritic knees.
3. I don't rub a blister.
4. I feel 20 pounds lighter in the water.
5. My inner dolphin and I are one.
6. I'm on my way to a long, slender body.
My daddy would be proud.