Rare Swimming Obsessed Video-less Vlog
by, October 12th, 2009 at 05:58 PM (2513 Views)
5:34 p.m., Columbus Day, Oct. 12, 2009, Sewickley Heights, PA
My son Ben turned 21 today, which prompted my twin brother John to say, "That's amazing, bruddie. The first adult Thornton male in a generation!" He paused to reflect, then added, "maybe two generations."
Ben and his friend Ben Armstrong just took off for the long drive along the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, where Ben is going to Temple and his friend Ben is living with a girl who is going to Temple.
It's not that I am feeling terribly old, exactly, but there is something about having your first born son turn 21, and your second born son getting his driver's license a couple weeks ago, that makes you realize that the Celestial Time Clock has not suddenly started running backwards. It is, if anything, running in its usual forward direction faster than it once did, i.e., those blissful childhood days of yore when the wait from Dec. 22 to Christmas seemed to last centuries.
Now, it seems that if I blink just slightly longer than usual, Christmas has arrived again. Blink. Christmas. Blink. Christmas.
The only thing that does seem to take forever is swimming distances that used to go by in a flash.
Which brings us to tonight's Bill White workout, which is basically 4,000 yards in a 60 minute time allotment: warm up, 6 x 500 with assorted challenges--first one DPS, second one alternate side breathing, third one faster; repeat; then some sort of cool down.
Maybe it is the nature of being in the middle of an age group where a certain slowing down appears to occur. Maybe it is the prospect of losing the cheating suits that have allowed me for so long to defy my age. Maybe it is a general weariness borne of my time in the wilderness, followed by a horrible swimming meet, followed by a bad cold, followed by a resumption of responsibilities, followed by the resumption of wintry conditions (I blink, and once again I find myself changing from my layers of clothing in a snow storm into my swimming costume! Blink! Christmas! Blink! Funeral!)
In any event, what was that William Carlos Williams poem:
An old man
in a dry year
dum dum de dum de dum
being read to by a boy
dum de dum
waiting for rain.
Or maybe it was Christopher Smart and his famous cat:
for he is of the Tribe of Tiger
for he can swim
for he creeps
So now it is 5:47 p.m., time to make my way down to the YMCA, perchance to do an old man's warm up, back and forth, paddling here, paddling there, dead man's floating hither, dead man's floating thither, Christmases passing by the edge of the pool like telephone poles on the speedway, and still I have not made it through the first 175 yards of the interminable 500...
Am I just talking myself into decrepitude? Or am I railing against the dying of the light through jest and hyperbole?
I shall force myself--force myself!--to try in practice tonight.
The only thing that could possibly make me stop is last minute Christmas shopping, for it seems that the money extraction season is upon us once more, and we old men creakily bend over, assuming the position whereby the extraction can proceed with the least trauma to all involved!
Wish me well, youngsters! I am your trailblazer and proxy for your fate!