Thursday, 5 May 2016


My brain is undergoing a wash; it's very similar to an automatic car wash – vigorous – with the exception that its rhythm is unpredictable, as are the results.
The scrubbed areas have set so many thoughts swimming. All these bodies thrashing in the water. Their heads sheathed in rubber caps, their eyes hidden behind dark goggles. These are serious swimmers, not pleasure bathers floating or paddling. The stroke is not from the breast but overarm, and some clearly need more practice. With breath, the turning of their head and the slapping of the water; the latter should be avoided at all costs. The aim is not to splash but to develop a smooth technique much like a fish i.e. mostly undetectable.
(I never knew that this is what goes on in my brain. I wonder if others have the same...? Apologies for the interruption but the idea is fascinating, is it not? Perhaps others have a jungle with men in camouflage, or women with supermarket trolleys cruising aisles, picking an item up, studying it, then putting it back. And yes, I know I'm being gender specific and stereotyping, but one's imagination can only stretch so far and it's hard to visualise what someone else might find when it doesn't play to your own interests. Note: I have no interest in swimming. However, I sense your impatience, so let us end this discussion and return to the aquatic scene).
It's a respectable scene (there's no nudists here), and adult. No children are present and there's no childlike vibes i.e. no water slides or inflatables. This is serious stuff. A role the participants are to some degree experienced in as none (now I'm closer) have the appearance of complete novices. They cut through the soup of water or dive from the rocky ledges that encircle it with a skilfulness that only those engaged in continuous study can possess. (What I earlier termed as 'thrashing' I later learned is par for the course here, but then I've never been a spectator of water sports. Perhaps after assimilating this I'll develop a higher regard for it in the outside world...)
As I was saying before I discontinued my description of this inner setting, the swimmers come across as proficient: some fluid, others workmanlike, but as my terrain is in human nature my attention was immediately drawn to the fact that women outnumber men, (I don't know why I'm surprised when I identify as female), and considerably so. The disparity is instantly noticeable since the men seem little more than appendages, part of the pod yet somehow not, particularly as the women are so striking in their one-piece suits with not a tendril of hair showing beneath their bathing caps; their figures as shiny and sleek as multi-coloured seals, whereas the men it has to be said are more walrus-like. (Their washing technique is probably of more interest to you but I thought their physiques were worth a mention).
With their physical structures fleshed for your benefit rather than mine (I mean I'm here aren't I, an inside bystander to this spectacle whereas you're going about some other business I imagine whilst also reading this, as am I writing), I will now direct my gaze to their athleticism. And I have to say it's quite stupendous what they achieve in such a small space (they're packed in like sardines as they say) since there's very little margin for errors, and which means spray is inevitable. The few men being the chief offenders as they do tend to rather flop into the churning waters, and yet once their bodies are immersed their gracefulness is equal to that of the women's.
The purpose of swimming is I assume to agitate my cerebral fluids, and it does have that desired effect for there are so many thoughts popping in my brain, (which I think also accounts for the number of swimmers though this would also infer that thoughts have an X or Y chromosome), which from my inside position looks like a fish-feeding frenzy.
Remarkable, how the outer self is fed.

Picture Credit: Spray, Harold Williamson