Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Note to People Who Can Swim

14" x 11"
Oil on Canvas

I have a note to people who can swim. But first, let me introduce the painting above. This is "Relax." I wanted to paint something that was just as the title describes...relaxing. What's more relaxing than a beautiful person lounging? Not much, my friends. Not much. I may turn this into a larger work, but I have plenty of larger works to complete. We'll see how it goes. Either way, I love just sinking my gaze into it. And the red-orange really helps with that. I almost added a little trompe l'oeil piece to it, like in the last one. But, I thought it would be distracting.

Alright, onto you swimmers.

This morning I went to the pool. I am a terrible swimmer. But the Tough Mudder is coming up fast and I have to jump from a 15' plank into a cold pool of water and then swim out of it. A week ago, that would have been my epitaph. "Here lies Geraud...stinking up the pool. Could someone please get him out of there."

But, I'm working on it. I'm trying. I'm an adult who learned to swim recently and I have to remember that for 40 years I could not swim. I can not expect to compete with Michael Phelps all of a sudden. Swimming is hard.

Not that you'd know it, looking at you people. You 'naturals.' You bastards who have been swimming since you were kids, just tadpoling around the pool like you were still in your mother's womb. Yes, I said womb! How do you stay afloat? How do you stay afloat and UPRIGHT??? Why do you not spit water every time you come up for air? How do you not sputter like your grandfather's 1962 Studebaker?

Grampa, why does the car smell like gasoline and lost dreams?
I watch you while you're swimming. Not in that stalker way, like my friend Who's-That who gets caught peering at people all the time, usually from around corners. No, I watch you in awe. You crawl over the water like a dolphin. Even the worst of you look like Poseidon next to me. I'm almost always surprised you don't come out of the pool with a trident.

But this morning, I felt it coming on. I was trying out the breaststroke (which you'd think would be my favorite, right?) at the recommendation of ZumBug and TheWife. I did that til I was tired and then finished up with a freestyle crawl. And it was magnificent! I was moving along the water like Aquaman. Granted, Aquaman with a broken arm carrying 17 cans of Starkist Tuna (packed in water, thank you) but still. Much better than the swimming koala that I was a few weeks ago.

Wow, Poseidon. Put some pants on. We can see your Kraken!
I shit you not, as I was swimming I heard:

"If I can see it then I can be it.
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it."

It was amazing. I felt like I was flying. It must be how flying feels.

"I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky."

I thought, I'm one of them. I'm one of the swimmers! One day, someone will look at me in the pool and be amazed and say, "I want to swim like that guy!"

"I think about it every night and day. I spread my wings and fly away.
I believe I can sore. I see me running through that open doo-oo-oor."

I was going to Forest Gump this thing. I was just going to keep swimming and swimming and maybe never stop. I was going to swim like there was...

Then, I took a huge gulp of water, went into a panic and realized that defeat tasted a lot like chlorine. I stood in the 5' deep section of pool, coughing and sputtering and trying not to make eye contact with the no-longer-bored lifeguard.

And I remember thinking, "I hate swimmers."

* * *
Did you have any trouble learning to swim? Any advice on how to teach a brick to swim? Put it in the comments!


  1. They do. I actually saw someone driving one down the road about a week ago. And not one that was refurbished and in good shape. I mean, one that was rusted out and ancient looking. Still, I was more impressed by that then I would have been a bright shiny one!