by, March 15th, 2011 at 04:31 PM (5104 Views)
At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God's name.
It ate the food it ne'er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us through!
And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariner's hollo!
In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perched for vespers nine;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white moonshine."
`God save thee, ancient Mariner,
From the fiends that plague thee thus! -
Why look'st thou so?' -"With my crossbow
I shot the Albatross."
--from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Sometime late on Friday, after I have interviewed an ophthalmologic researcher at the National Eye Institute about trends in retinal detachment in healthy men who may or may not play paintball, take drugs to build muscle and other drugs to conceal the first drugs, compete in mixed martial arts competitions, platform dive and/or bungee jump regularly, or blow their noses too violently, after all this, and responding to the Fortress's beseeching Facebook hollo's, I shall make the drive from Pittsburgh to the Vienna Compound for grilled protein, Maine Moon Cattery, reunion with several dear wee girls, a sheathe of papers on overutilization rates by clinical somaticisers (may opt to leave these at home; will gauge Leslie's mood first with regards to her receptivity to self-improvement catalyzed by me), possibly a new HTC 4G Thunderbolt Verizon phone, and the hopes of a nation on my shoulders, and--if I can cajole my lovely bride into supplying me with some--a cache of scones and sticky toffee muffins to give to Facebook fans of the Old Economy Cafe.
I shall not bring a cross bow.
I may bring some bird seed for any or all fair weather albatrosses blown off their natural peregrinations by Japanese earthquakes and what have you.
It almost failed to occur, this bid of mine to come back from retinal detachment, financial depression, and a recent severe case of incapacitating sniffles.
Last Thursday, I awoke at 3 a.m., my nostrils spilling twin cataracts of Niagara-like mucous falls.
Last Friday, I spent the entire day daubing my nasal passages with deeply absorbent tissues, and still these were not enough to stem the flow!
Why can they not make nostril tampons for men who get colds this severe? Why is this natural market niche not being exploited? Best healthcare system in the world? Sadly laughable joke for those of us who cannot find a simple nostril tampon or maxi pad when we so desperately need them.
On Saturday, I had not the energy to leave the couch for more than an occasional cheesecake refrigerator run.
On Sunday, I forced myself to go to the Y where I swam an open turn 1650 in about 33 minutes--and almost could not finish, so deeply lethargic and hypoglycemic and dizzy I was in my cold!
Yesterday, I forced myself to go to practice. I said to myself, "Jim, if by some miracle you can complete all these 100s tonight on the correct interval, then you must sign up for the Albatross meet, hosted by the Ancient Mariners! If nothing else, you owe it to show your appreciation to swimmer-poet Jeffrey Lil' Devil Roddin, who you talked into marriage, and whose appreciation for you knows no bounds!"
But I was certain I would not make this grueling set:
10 x 100 on 1:25 warm up
20 x 100 on 1:20
8 x 100 on 1:15
4 x 50 on :40.
But practice was so crowded last night that a swirling motion of bodies--no doubt abetted by the Coriolis forces so familiar to toilet flushers here in the Northern Hemisphere--allowed me to drag and draft along like a cork in the wake of my betters!
I made the whole practice.
I came home and, with 17 minutes to spare before the deadline, I signed up for the 50, 100, and 200 SCM freestyles.
Paul Trevisan (60 and thus no threat to this Fina 59 year old!) and Leslie (now Fina 50) are both going after world records.
I am going after the Albatross meet record for the 200 SCM freestyle in the 55-59 age group.
Equally worthy goals, I must say! And I do not have to race Leslie in any head-to-head events, so for now, at least, my .001 second advantage over her in our last competition of note (the 50 SCY butterfly) still stands with me, the underexercised, still shining in the Glorious Winners Circle!
Leslie has promised to grill a fine feast for me on Friday night.
My only request:
Do not serve up the kindly Albatross! My stomach is still much too delicate to digest it.