I knew when I told the butcher that I wouldn’t suffer the same illness that flattened the boys I was doomed. So, something bat crazy did happen. I’ve been infected. My post on needs will need to percolate a bit more, but I’m looking at two pages of notes.
Do I have needs.
These past two days have been fairly quiet and low-key here at the Infirmary. Not a lot of great sleep, but not a lot of hectic moments to drain me. I’ve spent most of my time digging around inside, looking for clues to what it feels like to be authentic, seeing what needs I have to fulfill, and centering myself after a brilliant day on the bay. So, before I go hurl, I thought I tell you about my sensory overload day on Wednesday and save the needs post for when I’m not feeling like I’m about to give birth through my intestines.
I made plans to meet Mr. Triathlete at the Sports Basement – the only store that ever made my knees weak. I’m not a shopper. I’d rather someone do it for me. I delay shopping for months. I’ve been wanting to buy bras since February. I just got them. They don’t fit. The over-under on when I return them is at the last possible minute. So it’s worth noting that I cannot wait to get back to the Sports Basement. If for no other reason than to ogle stuff I’d love to buy in bulk.
I beat Mr. Triathlete to the store. Probably the only ‘race’ I’ll ever win against him. I was going to wait for him out front, but I couldn’t. I had to get my hands on that wet suit. I guy in the back grabbed one for me. I took it into the fitting room, put on my bathing suit, and began to gently pull the foamy, surprisingly thick cat suit on. It was snug. It took some time to pull it up high enough so that I could get the shoulders of the suit up and over mine.
I felt like a super hero. This was a slammin’ look. I knew it was going to be a good day because for the first time in a store dressing room I felt invincible.
I came out and he handed my another one.
“You got that on too fast. It’s too big.”
I know my face went blank. Too big? Uh-oh. Too fast? I started to think I wouldn’t get it on by night fall.
I would have been better served if they just poured the hot synthetic over my head. It took my a long time to navigate that suit. And then it took some fairly close assistance from the, um, young man helping me to basically pull this skin up to my ears. I was lifted. This must be what it feels like to be Kim Kardashian, I thought.
Wet suit secured, I changed back into my clothes and emerged to find Mr. Triathlete with goggles in hand and a short list of exactly what I would need for the swim. We were out of there in 10 minutes. My kind of shopping.
I was borderline giddy upon arrival at Aquatic Park. Mr. Triathlete gave me some pointers on the way down. The one that stuck was, Don’t hesitate. Walk to the water and walk right in. I knew I was going to do that. There was no question in my mind. I needed to do this swim. I needed to feel at home in that water. The temperature would be the exact perfect temperature. I knew it. And it was.
I walked in about eight feet and dove between two short piers, right into the San Francisco Bay. I felt brazen. And light. And deeply happy. And beautiful. The water was bracing in the best possible way. Salty. And strong. Swimming in Aquatic Park is not like swimming in the coastal waters out beyond the wave break, but bouncy and unpredictable, a constant jostling, as if I was being juggled by jello. We swam out beyond the piers and turned left to head to the buoys that line up, one after the other, down the center of the protected cove where we would swim.
The view might kill me when I swim from Alcatraz to Chrissy Field. I’ll be the mesmerized, bobbing fool they snatch from the tentacles of death if I don’t focus on the task at hand. But it’s hard. To swim in the open bay with the absolute divine, breathtaking, gluttonous beauty that comprises the 360° view of San Francisco and the East Bay and not be floored would mean that I had gone catatonic at the mere thought of getting swept out to sea.
I got off to a good start. But I got tuckered out fast. This is not your local swimming pool. Even with 100 kids playing Marco Polo. The water was flying everywhere. I felt like I was on a ride. I was disoriented by my ear plugs, feeling like I had a helmet on with those two squishy discs sealing my ears shut. I did have a hood and cap on, locked in place by my goggles, making me look not unlike a cheaply costumed alien in a summer backyard theater production. And that wet suit was doing its job. I felt phenomenal. I was making progress as I battled the conflicted waves. Mr. Triathlete only had to wait up for me like, 6 times. I considered my swim a massive success when I didn’t have to be rescued. I had no expectations beyond knowing that I would get in the water.
You know what I didn’t expect? That you wouldn’t be able to see a thing. Not a thing. You really have to let go of that in order to not let it get the best of you. And I was just off shore. I cannot imagine what it’s going to feel like to be in the middle of the bay and not be able to see a foot in front of me. For 1.5 miles. Staring into a murky, sandy mix that moves like it’s being blown by the wind, but instead it’s being tossed by ocean water. Where critters live.
Man, this is going to be an epic couple of weeks. Whitney, the swim, training for both, and a week long Vision Quest. I’m starting to feel really excited about what is brewing.
So, ultimately I did a half mile and was really proud. I’ve got to get back in there another 5 times before I do the swim. Breathing seamlessly in the bay and sighting to shore are going to be massive challenges. The only way I’m going to get better is to get back in. I peeled off my wet suit and felt so full of excitement I wasn’t even cold. I stood there bursting with joy. I was completely hooked. If I lived within 20 blocks I’d be in this water every day.
Post-swim, we shared a fantastic bottle of Kistler wine and fueled ourselves with food in front of a fire before taking off to see The Parlotones. They were on stage when we arrived. It felt so good to hear those songs live again. As I stood dead center, my ears being worked over in the most delicious way by Kahn Morbee’s captivating voice and one hell of a talented band, I thought about my day. It was butterfly-inducing. Like jumping into a vat of soon to be dark chocolate almond bark. A sublime experience from beginning to end. Indulgent. Tasty. Spicy. Breathy. I felt like a grown-up who feels like a kid again. A very good and healthy combination. Every one of my senses was completely cared for that day.
I will never forget a moment of it. It was a day lived.
And now I have to go hurl. Fingers crossed that tomorrow night I can get all needy with you. Bowing to you for your patience.