I realize I’m a big baby.
Large bodies of water terrify me.
Part of it has to do with my (extensive) past experience with ear, sinus and throat infections, the idea of bacteria growing in bodies of water and the fact that ear, nose and throat infections can lead to bacterial meningitis which can kill people.
But it probably has more to do with the fact that until I took adult swim lessons 4 years ago, the only thing I knew about large bodies of water was that if I was in them, the water was in charge and I was at its mercy.
(I might have control issues….)
But seriously…. Water is a scary thing if you don’t know how to handle it.
I didn’t get too terribly far with my swimming skills, considering it took me the entire first lesson to get in up to my waist. But what I did accomplish was…. amazing — at least for me it was! I learned to tread water — which my instructor made me do in the 12 foot section until I could do it for an entire minute without nearly drowning. I also learned the back float, which I was actually pretty good at once I figured out that trying to save yourself is counterproductive.
That was about all I learned.
But before taking lessons, knee deep was my limit.
Now, as long as my feet are on the ground, and my head is above the water, I’m OK.
Water slides are a different story.
I realize the water is only 3 feet deep.
You just don’t know how you’re going to land.
Water up your nose…. ear infections…. sinus infections…. bacterial meningitis!
(I might be a hypochondriac…..)
I could drown!
Do I really remember how to tread water?
Oh, wait…. it’s only 3 feet deep….
These were the thoughts coursing through my brain as I climbed the stairs and headed for my (inevitable) demise. My favorite 10-year old had coaxed me up to the top of the slide at the local water park, and I stood there, shaking, as the (very) young attendant explained to me that it was safe and I wasn’t going to die.
Are you sure?!?!
It wasn’t so bad….
…. until I got past the first curve and then I started going faster…. and faster…. and faster….
Then I hit the water.
I was thoroughly dunked. I was as dunked as a candidate at a Baptist baptismal service.
Which wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t been screaming my head off when it happened.
I’m sure you can imagine how well that went.
I pulled myself out of the pool and realized that I was shaking.
And then, said 10-year old suggested we should go on the tube slide — the one that you sit in a floatie and exit into the Lazy River.
I thought this would surely have a better outcome than my first attempt. I would have a something to hang on to, after all!
So we made our way up the stairs again, this time with big green tubes in tow, and I watched as my little pal loaded up and the slide attendant gave him a small shove.
And then it was my turn.
Again, it wasn’t so bad — until I rounded the first curve.
Basically, it was same song, second verse, a little bit louder and a little bit worse.
Around about the third curve, I was going so fast that I almost fell off the tube when it headed precariously up the side of the slide as it rounded the bend.
The screaming wasn’t reserved for the landing this time!
It was then that I realized that this thing was completely out of my control and I was at the mercy of physics and gravity whatever else determines how fast and how hard and where and on what you land after careening through that ungodly long tuby slide thingy.
I was certain I was going to die. I think I even saw my life flash before my eyes.
The terror got worse when I rounded the 87th bend (ok, fine. It was probably only the 4th or 5th) and began to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The water was coming!
And who knew if I was going alight, safe and sound, on my lovely green perch, or if I’d get dunked again?
I came to rest in the pool, right next to my little pal.
And I laughed. And I laughed. And I laughed.
I wanted to do it again.
I wanted to do it 50 more times.
Because it was.
My little pal just looked at me like I was a raving lunatic.
(I probably was!)
And his brother met me at the river exit with a sigh and a, “Now can we go??”
Oh, ok. Fine.
Why did I wait so long for such an amazing experience???