I’m not a big fan of deep bodies of water. It doesn’t really matter if it’s a pool, a bayou, or the Gulf of Mexico. Water makes me nervous. A part of me wonders if I drowned in a former life, while the more logical part of my mind stresses that past experiences have shaped my distrust of deep water.
The first time I nearly drowned, I was five. And I was at swimming lessons. It was the last day of classes and we were supposed to dive off the diving board and swim to the shallow end of the pool. Being afraid of heights and a bit of a control freak even at such a young age, I came up with the bright idea of jumping in from the side of the pool, swimming to the middle, and making a 90 degree turn to swim to the shallows.
The plan was sound. My execution sucked. I didn’t take a 90 degree turn, but more of a 35 degree turn and ran head first into the other side of the pool…you know, concrete. I don’t remember much after that except waking up in the shallows with the instructor holding me and having a bit of a freak out. That was the first time.
Fast forward about 13 years and I was swimming at a hotel pool with my brother and two cousins. The pool was only about 6′ deep at the most, but at 5’4″, that’s enough to make for a serious problem. Especially when I was swimming with a cousin who didn’t know how to swim. (Not that I’m an expert, as per the story above.)
I never realized how strong my younger cousin was until she freaked out over the depth of the water and grabbed me. She pushed me down to hoist herself above the water. I remember my feet touching the bottom of the pool, looking up at the skylight above the water and thinking, “I’m going to die at the bottom of the Holiday Inn pool.”
Luckily, my brother is stronger than all of us. He managed to shove my cousin away to let me come up for air. But then she did it again! By that time, I vowed never to go in the water with her again and went sit my water-challenged butt in the hot tub.
So yeah, water and I? We’re not on the best terms. Which really sucks because I’m surrounded by water, I work on the water, I love to fish. See where this is a problem? Ah well, I remind myself that as long as my cousin isn’t around and I don’t go ramming my head into things, my butt (my internal floatational device) will surely save the day.