To rehab my shoulder I’ve been swimming in my Condo’s rooftop pool. First couple days I didn’t really swim. Just sat neck high submerged and moved my arm slowly up and down to see how far I could push it without popping it out again.
Yesterday I swam one length, a slow breast stroke, just fast enough to keep my head above the somewhat cloudy water. Today, my plan is two lengths, slow and steady.
As I get in the pool, a staff guy asks if I was here yesterday. I say yes. He wants to know if the water is better today. It’s crystal clear now, so I give him a thumbs up.
I start swimming. Normally I have a pretty strong stroke, but today I just bobble along, mindful of my damaged limb. Waiting for the slightest sign that I’m pushing it too hard.
There’s another guy at the pool, looks like a Yakuza, with a badass tattoo on his back: Confucius with a radiating swastika coming out of his head. The tattoo, not the guy. Why a swastika? It’s a Buddhist symbol. Has been for thousands of years.
Meaning is in the mind.
Yakuza guy also has a swim cap and goggles. When I’m about halfway across the pool, he goes splashing past me. Hmm. Now as many of you know, I raced motorcycles for many years, and as part of the endeavor I picked up a little attitude that goes like this: “Passing me is not okay. People who pass me must be punished.”
Okay, okay, that’s nice but don’t be silly. Let it go. Just swim, mind your shoulder, and don’t do anything stupid. It doesn’t mean anything. Besides, he’ll tire himself out and then you can just pass him back while he’s resting.
That’s what I tell ‘myself.’ But have you ever noticed when you talk to yourself, that yourself also talks back?
Sure enough, Yakuza-man takes a break, as I touch the wall and head back the other way, bobbling along, but back in front where I belong. Halfway across, he splashes by again. My inner self says, “Motherfucker.”
I touch the wall, my planned two lengths at an end. Yakuza is taking another break, huffing and puffing, but I’m not stopping. Length three here we go. Slow and steady, slow and steady.
Halfway across, here he comes, and there he goes. No doubt looking forward to another petty victory in the condo olympics.
Well we’ll just see about that. I cut the slow and steady crap and let my stroke out. That’s right, here I come, there I go, buh-bye, nice try.
Other than a few clicking sounds from my shoulder I feel fine, and touch the wall first. Where’s my gold medal? Oh… there isn’t one. No shiny round object, prize or symbol to commemorate this silly non-competition. What does it mean?
Nothing perhaps, but then again, meaning is in the mind.