I overloaded and need to escape—but at least there's one place that still brings me silence and serenity.
by Jane D.
I hate this city. The past month, I've walked down the crowded sticky streets of Gotham wanting to explode. I stick the urban pacifier, aka the iPod, into my ears to drown out the grating noises of sirens, the subway trains screeching, and I dream of escape. If anything, that is what I love about the water, about swimming. When I swim in the open water and the pool, I submerge into silence and serenity.
I wonder if the growing stress comes from ADD (since I've read that ADDers are allergic to noise), or if I just need a real vacation. I need quiet time, down time, me time.
Yesterday, I almost overwired because I'd once again packed the day too tightly. At dawn, I awoke to swim several miles at the beach. The "boyfriend" came along to support me, even though I know he hates the water and is lukewarm about swimming.
We agreed to meet at 7:20 a.m.; he was on time, but I found myself running late again, making a pit stop at a deli, a fruit market, the 7-Eleven, being sucked in by the headlines of the gossipy tabloids. I had to text him and make excuses again. "Sorry, the subway is running behind..." It's bullshit. I have a time problem, a deadline problem. He's so patient, but I keep thinking he's going to say "enough!" like all the others.
However, the water proves that there are things I can do that the boyfriend can't. He shied away when the open-water swimmers and I told him that we were going to swim 5K in the ocean. He said he'd watch the bags. My smile was genuine for the first time. I was going to swim these 3 miles straight even if it killed me, and when I emerged, tired and exhausted, I would bask in the compliments that I so rarely get in my day-to-day life.
Indeed, two hours later, after stroking through tides, currents, and jellyfish, the boyfriend said, "Wow, that's pretty amazing. I could never do something like that."
So when people ask me what I love about the water, it is more than the fitness. It is the confidence—and maybe it is also a middle finger to the non-ADD population that I can excel in something that they can't.
After the swim, I went window-shopping, tried on a litany of dresses at big-box stores, then rushed off to the swim school to teach, and then dashed off to the train to meet the boyfriend again and go to a concert he was playing.
I've discovered that the boyfriend is disorganized, too, and it bothers me a lot. I am so keen on someone who is my arch opposite—disciplined, organized, someone to whip me into shape. (The stepmother points out that a drill sergeant isn't necessarily a boyfriend or husband, but maybe she doesn't understand.) I cannot live with, much less marry, someone as loopy and disorganized as myself. We would be a mess. I would hate what I would regard as his sloppiness, his inaccuracy, his lack of focus, because, in the end, I hate myself for all of those things.