Sink AND Swim

Public Domain
I have the uncanny, unnatural, unerring ability to both swim (not well but I can get from one part of the swimming pool to another part 15-20 yards away without touching the tiles) and sink (picture a four year old child having been ejected from a capsized boat in shark-infested waters after a shark ate his father and punctured the little child's life-jacket). It is something that bothers me greatly because it means that I would probably be able to save my life were it to be on the line (unless I am the aforementioned 4 year old child {at which point Benjamin Buttons case would cease being so curious} in which case I would be reunited with my father much like Jonah except a lot more grotesque.) but never be able to swim for leisure.

The art of swimming is something I learned way back when, during the summers on Rita and Paddy Connellys bus to and from the old Ballinasloe swimming pool. I may have learned to swim there (a certificate to prove I can do two widths, thank you very much) but I pussied out (hard) when it came to water above my chin and I never braved the deep end unless I was clinging onto the sidewall and walking along the raised ledge around the sides.

Did I learn to tread water? I did in me hole. Did I learn how to breath as I went? Did I bollocks. I breathed in as deep as I could and my head was not coming above the water again until after it hit the wall on the other side of the pool. At which point I would take off my water filled googles, rub my eyes that were stinging from the piss of a thousand giggling infants and suck in as much chlorine-filled air as my little, 11-year-old lungs would allow. That was what I considered, and still do call swimming.

Today in the pool I felt like the elephant in the room (when I was in fact the bear in the pool - complete with hibernation belly)  as people refused to acknowledge my existence and were all around embarrassed at the very sight of me lying on my back, desperately clinging to my two flotation devices in three feet of water trying to separate the water and air I was swallowing so that they both went down the right pipes and I didn't die. In fact, dying would not have been the most embarrassing thing. There was a young (er than me) female lifeguard on duty who would have had to save if it came down to it.

As I contemplated doing away with the floats, and sinking to the bottom in the hope the lifeguard wouldn't notice until my no-longer-breathing-corpse floated to the surface I looked across at some three-year-olds being taught how to dive by a girl even younger than the life-guard, I contemplated  why I can't float when I'm alive but as soon as I die I could float for all of fucking eternity. Looking at the diving kids I realized that maybe I can't swim very well nor can I tread water, but when it comes to diving, I'm a regular old Pocahontas (complete with sallow skin and perky breasts). Give me a diving board and a swimming pool that gets shallower as you move away from said diving board and I will show you the dive of a graceful swan (complete with arched back and ruffled feathers). I jumped out of the pool, adjusted my ill fitting shorts that were revealing my ass crack and clinging to my junk, and I strode off with a new sense of purpose.