Sink or Float?
I learned a valuable lesson Tuesday: I don't know how to swim. Or more exactly, I used to know, a long time ago, but I've since forgotten everything.
Tuesday I had my first SCUBA class, and at the end we had to pass a basic swim test. The basic test is swimming 200 yards, and then a stationary float for 10 minutes. I passed, but only through sheer willpower.
Normally before even attempting something like this I'd spend some time in the pool on my own, figuring out if I can do it (you know, so I don't make a fool of myself). But I had just decided to take the course Monday, and it was either start on Tuesday or wait until mid July. Being the impatient person I am, I rushed to make sure I could get in this month instead of next.
First lap in the pool wasn't bad. Second lap, a little trying. By the third lap it was obvious I was doing something wrong, and the fourth lap was just pure, brute force, nothing-else-matters effort. For the float I didn't even much try to tread water; I just floated with some light kicking and concentrated on getting my very rapid breathing under control. The life guard had an eagle eyed stare on me.
It might not be obvious from my personality, but I loathe sucking at things I think I should be able to do. I should be able to swim. Perfection is not required, but certainly better than my pathetic showing.
So I've done what any self-respecting engineer does when he fails the first time: go back and read the manual! A couple hours on the internet and I can already list half a dozen things I did horribly wrong. My goal is to, on top of everything else I'm doing, spend 5 hours a week in the pool practicing.
I will get better, damnit.