Swimming Lesson #7

The skies turned the colour of a dead trout and lightning began to arc at 5 this evening, and the deluge hasn’t stopped by 530 when I tried to get a car to my swimming lesson. The rain hadn’t stopped by 6 when I finally managed to get in a car, and the rain hadn’t stopped by 730 when I finally got a car back from the swimming lesson. Had every car been dissolved by the rain?

(On the way back, I was forced into taking GrabShare, which is an even more aggravating experience than being driven around in the back of a car by somebody who trusts an unreliable satnav. With GrabShare, they collect two or three riders from disparate places, so now the inconvenience is at least squares. You have drivers who don’t know where they’re going, riders who don’t bother to be ready in time to be picked up, and you always get picked up last "because it was convenient." Convenient for who? The person who isn’t standing in the rain like a berk?
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Swimming Lesson #6

Thursday comes, and with it another swimming lesson. Today was my second attempt to master breaststroke, and also my first attempt to explain to my swimming coach why I’d had 14 different swimming teachers, without using the phrase "ice cold pool of dilute juvenile piss". (My 14 different swimming teachers is a terrible lie my wife is spreading; it was 14 years of swimming lessons with an indeterminate number of unsympathetic swimming teachers whose pedagogical technique was uniformly comprised of yelling and blowing a whistle.)
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Swimming Lesson #5

While I was in Portugal I swam ten lengths of the pool almost every day. Because I hadn’t figured out breathing before I went on holiday, that meant holding my breath the whole way, coming up for air and wheezing, then going back again. So today it was good that we moved on to combining freestyle with breathing. Continue reading “Swimming Lesson #5”

Swimming Lesson #4

Although with every photo I look more sketchy, I think I’m improving. My instructor asked me if I’d been practicing this week and that explained my increased competence, but I think it was the dual function of not having four cups of coffee before my lesson, and making a sustained effort not to tense up. Oh, and the goggles. The goggles were the best $15 I’ve spent in months; they aren’t painful to wear, and I can see clearly underwater, and after an hour in the pool my eyes aren’t stinging and refusing to focus. So that was nice.
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Swimming Lesson #3

I didn’t have a brilliant night’s sleep – possibly I was frightened about oversleeping and missing my flight back. I had worried myself unduly by not paying attention to timezones; although the return flight took off at 8:40am Singapore time, that was 9:40 Bangkok time, so I only needed to get to the airport by 8, which meant I only had to get out of the hotel at 7, not 6. Still, security and customs seemed to take an eternity; it was relief that I crammed myself into the plane and snoozed to Singapore, where I was immediately embroiled in meetings. Which is a roundabout way of saying I was already tired and stressed before my Grab driver came to pick me up (10 minutes late) and whisk me over to Swish for my lesson.
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Back to Palo Alto

The flight to San Francisco only took 14 hours (I guess prevailing winds are a wonderful thing) and I was through Customs and picking up my bag before 9am. It was touch and go for a bit; they have automated machines at SFO to collect your information before you hand your passport to a person in a bulletproof vest, but for some reason the camera and the flash on the machine weren’t playing nice. It kept taking a picture of me so over-exposed you could almost make out my pupils and jawline, and nothing else, and then complained that the picture wasn’t clear and would have to be taken again. Technology, I love you.
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