Dec 4, 2006

"You're fast."

Every week for the past semester, I have been giving Elana a ride to her teaching job on Thursday nights. I use the trip as an excuse to go swimming at a community center, do the week's shopping and study for a time at Starbuck's before I have to pick her up when she's done. I hate exercise- so the routine that gets me swimming is a good opportunity for me.

I do about 26 laps each visit to the pool. Later, when I am in better shape, I will expand to more. In the past couple of months, Elana says she can see a difference in my arms. I am not quite sure that I believe her, but I can FEEL a difference.

At the pool, I obviously have to remove my glasses in order to swim. This is a little period of solitude. A couple of the lanes on the left have a swim school class for toddlers. A couple of lanes on the right have elderly swimmers, people who are doing physical therapy and some kids who are practicing swim strokes without an instructor. I usually swim in the middle lane. I can't see anyone clearly...they are all blurs. So I feel alone.

Except for the kid.

The kid with the goggles.

We have a sort of game. I look over at him. He looks at me. We start off and race down the length of the pool. He swims with beautiful form doing the butterfly. I splash and use my rough swimming skills that I learned at the Beverlywood Swim School during the Carter administration. The kid uses flippers. I always beat him. I would guess that he is about 6 or 7.

Every time we finish the race that lasts a single lap he says, "You're fast!". I reply that he's fast too or that he has great form...and then we swim at our own pace for a bit until we look over at each other again and the process repeats...

I think he smiles- I don't know because I can't see him. If he were my next door neighbor, I wouldn't know him. I only know that there is only one kid with goggles who uses the right lane- and who races me. Also, I recognize the voice now.

It's funny, but I think of this person whose head barely clears the water as my swimming buddy. I don't even remember seeing him enter the pool or leave the pool so I've never even been able to spot a blurry adult who might be his parent.

In my solo swimming, I have pondered that the little human interaction between us is a precious little place. It is rare today for two strangers, a grown man and a little boy, to interact without there being a stigma of inappropriateness cast over the relationship. I think of all the movies where the 'kind stranger' helps a kid find his parents, pays for a meal or gives the kid a dime to call home. Sometime recently, something was lost in our society. Or maybe I'm imagining it and it never was there.

For now, I'll continue to enjoy the little ritual that has been created. I look forward to each trip to the pool where the little blurry kid with the goggles tells me that I am fast.*

*Note: I am not actually a fast swimmer, I bust my butt to keep ahead of the little whippersnapper. The races only last a lap because I am out of breath at the end of each race. :)

1 comment:

Nikki said...

Great blog Adiv- keep 'em coming!

Hope you and Elana are doing well (and seti too!)

Chag orim samayach