Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"Hello, Water"

I feel sore and I feel stupid.

That was not my original opening. 

Yesterday morning, when the incident occurred, my original thoughts were in the “bemusement” direction.  It occurred to me that one of the coolest things about being alive is that something you have never experienced before retains the possibility of happening to you.  (Contrasting with when you are dead when it doesn’t.  Excluding the experience of death itself, although the jury remains out on whether you actually experience death, or if death is just you, without you.

Today, however, echoing “Line One” of this blog post…

I feel sore and I feel stupid.

A third opening would be a direct “lift” from David Mamet’s State and Main.  A shaken Alec Baldwin emerges from a harrowing car accident and says,

“Well.  That happened.”

That’s good, but it’s not mine. 

Returning me once again to “I feel sore and I feel stupid.”

Which is descriptive although hardly imaginative. 

Now that I’ve wasted you time chronicling possible openings, let me tell you what happened.  (And it was something I never experienced before.  And I feel sore and I feel stupid.)

Just yesterday morning (cribbing from James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” but in an alternate direction)…

I took an unscheduled flip into our swimming pool. 

Fully clothed.  Including sneakers and sweat socks.

Here’s how that happened.

After exercising on the treadmill, I was watering the new trees we recently purchased.  (By the way, new trees are extremely expensive, even though there are forests of them standing around.  The trees themselves actually seemed embarrassed.  (“Sorry.  We do not set our own prices.”  Still, it’s like five hundred dollars for fruit flies.)

We bought three trees.  Our lemon tree had died, and the other two ran away, fearing the same fate as the lemon tree.  (“They seem like nice people, but they are killing their trees.”)   

(Note:  Attributing human qualities to trees is so rare they do not even have a name for it.  Possible Suggestion:  “Anthropoarborism.”)

The two trees did not actually run away.  (Ergo, no handmade flyers with pictures of trees on them saying, “Have you seen us?”)  Something I am not clear about happened and they had to be uprooted and replaced.

Preamble To A Watery Happenstance

I am standing on the bench storing our rolled-up pool cover, hose in hand, dutifully watering the first of our new trees.  I step down from the bench to move to the nearby second new tree, my sneaker-clad foot slips on the slick, protruding edge of the pool cover, I lose my balance and…

Well I recall flying helplessly through the air thinking,

“I believe my next stop is the swimming pool.”

Then, after a “slo-mo” arcing trajectory…

I was in it.

My first thought after flying helplessly through the air… 

No, wait.


In the summer, our backyard pool is heated at a balmy eighty-eight degrees.  Recently however, due to some malfunction with the heater, the temperature hovers at a less welcoming eighty-one degrees.

Okay, Back To Story

My first thought after flying helplessly through the air…

I hit the water and my reaction, rather than shock and dismay, is a calmly evaluative

This isn’t so cold.”

Followed almost immediately by…

“I’m wet!  And I’m fully clothed! 

And by the way…

I am not on land anymore!

Between being seventy-one years old and having no discernible muscles in my arms (or anywhere else for that matter), my aches and pains relative to my unplanned dunking result from my – ultimately successful – efforts at pulling myself out of the water.

For a while there, my extrication was hardly a certainty.  This misfortune happening on a Tuesday, there was the possibility my rescue would be delayed until arriving gardeners discovered me on Friday.  Although by then, Dr. M might have possibly wondered where exactly I had gone off to.  (And hopefully cared.  I mean, I may not be the most helpful of husbands, but hey! – I am watering the trees, aren’t I?  At least I was, till I took a flip into the swimming pool.) 


In numerous places. 


I can imagine some resourceful neighbor with a handy I-Phone capturing my graceless tumble and uploading it on YouTube, hash-tagged:

“Old Jew’s Splashy Rendezvous With Water.”

Who knows?  I may be “viral” and not know it.

And why not?  A fully clothed, watery “Belly Flop”?  Who doesn’t like that?

To me, everything’s silly if you don’t die or need X-rays.  Plus in this case, a valuable lesson was learned.  I am now warily careful of the “Slip ‘N Slide” tendencies of our slithery pool cover, so this should hopefully happen just once.  (Although, since it’s me, you may want to stay tuned, just in case.)

There’s something happily encouraging, especially at an advanced age, about an experience that has never happened to you before.  But you know what?

I would be equally happy had it have happened to somebody else.

And arguably more so.


Wendy M. Grossman said...

I'm glad to hear that at least the pool was full of water. My first thought was: empty concrete.

When I was about seven I fell into a pond on a school trip. I'm not really clear how I did this, since no one else did.


JED said...

Glad you made it out before Friday and that you weren't hurt beyond feeling sore and stupid. So, I guess all you had to do then was walk over to the second tree and shake a little.

The only thing worse than doing something like that is doing something like that and not learning from it. That's what I tell myself when those sorts of things happen to me.