Week Eleven- First Swim Lesson
“You don’t know how to swim?”
“I understand the concept of it. I simply have yet to execute the process.”
I was weary of using that explanation year after year. (The same is true for riding a bike, but bicycles are expensive and they get flats and I like hiking instead.) When I was around age nine or so, we went to visit our favorite cousins. Our cousins had a pool in their backyard. They were informed that I did not know how to swim. They tried to teach me to float. My immediate family is not skilled at floating. (None of us would label ourselves as “swimmers”.) Of all the things I want to try or learn this year, becoming a swimmer has always been on the top of my list.
I do not fear drowning. I simply dislike the thought of having water up my nose or in my eyes. I have been using the bathtub to curb those qualms. Dipping my head low enough to get water in them, exhaling when I turn my head sideways; you get the idea. Also, let it be said that swim goggles are a cheap investment that are worth every penny.
It also does not hurt that my instructor is delightful. She already tried to give me a bicycle lesson once, so she knows how embarrassing I think my shortcomings are. She has done her share of triathlons, so swimming is an area that she excels at. When you are trying to keep your mind off of tense muscles and water in your lungs, I find it helps to have a comforting sight and friend to aim towards.
The first lesson was me trying to feel comfortable. Most days I still feel self-conscious walking around with no shirt. My body resists the idea of submerging everything below water. And floating? Turns out, years later, I still lack any obvious floating skills. In short, not a lot was accomplished. However, I never expected to learn everything in one lesson. Nor did my friend expect it of me. So we will keep at it.
(Lesson two was a bit better. But still not dignified. “Push off!” And after my two-foot thrust, I began to sink. “Try pulling yourself forward with your arms!” I did, as my feet touched the bottom of the three-foot pool. “Hold onto the edge and kick your feet out behind you. Now let go!” Kicked me feet, felt fine, and then, surprise surprise; sinking kicked in. Not the kind of kick we were hoping for. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…)
Happily she likes being in the water and has missed it. The opportunity to see each other and catch up is a happy result. Sometimes good things come from slow learners. (Though I could do without swallowing so much water.)
Week Twelve- Radio Play
I am a sucker for the Golden Age of Radio. (This remains, now and again, a media blog after all.) So when I heard that a theatre I volunteer for was performing one as a fundraiser? Well color me intrigued. I quickly let them know that I would be happy to volunteer. I wanted to relive the glory of yesteryear through a live performance.
As I said last time, just because I attempt to do something each week, does not mean that I will succeed. For one thing, I was coat checking. And let me tell you, everyone had a coat that night. Coats all over the place. Then there were those that saw there was a coat check after they had passed the coat check station so they were trying to add theirs to the stack while I was already trying to clear the hangers for the three new coats someone had just handed me. It was hardly an I Love Lucy scenario. Though I would say they kept me busy for a while.
Twelve or so minutes past the hour, I more or less gave up on catching the act. (We all know theatres have latecomers. ‘tis a fact of life.) I would have preferred to be there, watching from within the theatre. However there is a monitor in the lobby that people can watch. After the proceedings were underway, I joined half a dozen staff members that were strewn about. We tried to take in the show while catering rushed back and forth with full trays and carts.
It turned out that the “cast” was made up of local celebrities. An author, a weather forecaster, some board members; the emphasis was not on bringing actors on stage. The emcee is a rather notable actor, but I admit to some disappointment.
I get it. I do. You want to bring in figureheads from the community. Should they happen to invite some spending-inclined friends with them, swell. The goal was to raise their profile and their income. The other six shows of the year can show of their ability to draw in skilled actors.
However my goal was not to see a group of people read pages off a script. My goal had been to see a group of actors invoke a performance style that had not been popular for almost eighty years. My expectations were not quite in line with what I saw on the screen. Perhaps my experience would have been different if I had been watching it unfold on stage. But it was already past my bedtime, I had worked my shift at work beforehand and had completed my volunteer shift. I was ready to go home.
Perhaps I only like radio for its nostalgia. Maybe I like having the finished product piped into my headphones but I find the actual act of a row of chairs and microphones boring? I am not sure. I still think the theatre-going public would enjoy professionals displaying their craft. However, I am not the one calling the shots; I am the one assisting those that do. I may be a purist who wants his radio dramas to play out a certain way. Oh well. I am not about to make waves.