... is blithering idiocy.
Most of Robert’s natatorial experience has been on the beach, always sandy and sure-footed. So when we started swim lessons in a pool with a uniform four-foot depth, he demanded to swim by himself. I let him go, and he sank like a stone. After that, he spent a lot of time clinging to me like a barnacle.
During lesson two, I stood in the pool and beckoned him over, and when he got within arm’s reach I grabbed him and pulled him in with me. From there, he learned to avoid me like a doorknob on a public toilet. So on our third lesson, I corralled him, lowered ourselves into the pool, crammed the noodle under his armpits, and began blowing raspberries, spitting water, making faces, and acting deranged until the shrieking stopped. Soon he was too amused to be scared, and he swam for about 10 terror-free minutes.
On our fourth lesson, he spent the entire half hour in the pool, and he swam—OK, he propelled himself forward, looking a lot like he was pedaling an underwater bike—for eight laps, ladder to ladder. The
bored college kid “aquatic professional” said the pool is 33 yards long, so that means Robert water-pedaled for more than 1/7 of a mile.
It appears that obsessiveness is hereditary.
We would feed this obsession and swim there more often, but when the swim lessons are over, the pool reverts to its ordinary status as a chlorinated gulag. The rules at this place! Nothing on the pool deck but flip-flops (no street shoes) and a towel (which they make you unfurl when you arrive). No noodles. No diving. No jumping. No kidding. One of the kids even made me take my green T-shirt off “because of the dyes.” Kinda highfalutin talk from a facility whose men’s locker room looks like it was hit with a urine bomb.