I have a Manhattan neck doctor. Last month he told me I needed to begin swim rehab. Before we move forward with this story, let me explain. I have a neck injury. And no, it’s not from kickboxing, Tae Bo, or Zumba. It’s not from a car accident or falling down the stairs. It’s because I decided, during those early twenties of mine, as I was living the hard core life of a Peace Corps Volunteer, that it would be in my best interest to carry heavy, very heavy, buckets of water, maize, bricks, concrete slabs….on my head. You know, the usual thing 20 somethings do when they graduate with an expensive BA in Anthropology.  The positive side of things is that now I have a sexy Manhattan chiropractor, who: 1. Is sexy, 2. Has very flowy hair that he is constantly running his hands through, and 3. Wears tight muscle shirts. Now, with that little preface to my story, I will finish by saying, “I don’t have any qualms about doing what sexy neck doctor tells me to.”

Soooo, sexy neck doctor tells me I need to begin swim rehab, and of course, I oblige. I immediately cancel my fancy gym membership and join the YMCA, despite the required swim cap and goggle rule, and I head over to Paragon Sports to outfit myself in proper sexy bathing suit attire. While gallivanting through Paragon, I happen to run into a cute boy while looking at swim caps, and after almost being convinced to buy the same cap as him (the camouflage edition),  he turns to me and says, “What pool do you train in?” I giggle of course (wait, that’s a lie, I don’t know how to giggle.), because the last thing I trained for was the drunk broomball championships during my college days. But I was confident, holding my blue one-piece Speedo with pride, and I responded, “The cobble hill YMCA.” To which camouflage boy actually laughed and walked away. Now, little did I know at this time that because of my newly acquired pool endeavors, boys would not only be turned off as I outfitted myself in Paragon, but wherever I travelled (yes, even on dates) I would bring with me the overwhelming stench of chlorine. In fact, I just might bottle this scent and make millions selling it as “Athletica Swimmica,” or something creative like that. But we’re getting off track here.

The point of this nonsensical blog today is this. I swim at the YMCA. Awesome right? I swim. In New York City. Dreamy. But wait. Because of my rather obscure neck injury, I swim, not in the fast lane, and no, not in the medium lane, and no no no, not in the slow lane. My name is, __(this is where I say my name)____, and I swim in the water-jogging lane at the cobble hill YMCA. There. I said it. Wow. I feel, released…kinda.

Now I want to take you on a journey with me. It’s like visualization with your eyes open. Picture this: I have my Speedo on. It’s tight and sleek and has purple streaks running up the sides, you know, like an Olympian. When I put it on, I feel fast. And when I walk to the YMCA, I have a spring in my step, and I’m listening to the Adult Hits station on Pandora, and I’m singing, and I have my goggles in my pocket, and I feel like Rocky, if there could ever be a 5’3 female version of him. And I feel like this alllllll the way to the pool. And when I get there everyone is swimming, you know, fast, like in the Olympics, and the smell of chlorine takes me back to a place I can’t forget, growing up in Manhattan, swim lessons on 86th and Columbus. And I’m in a state of nostalgia. And I slowly walk over to my desired lane, where my new friend Susie the Swimmer is, everyday. Susie the Swimmer also has a neck injury, and because of that, we totally connect. I jump in next to her, and I can just make out her eyes, even behind her gigantic snorkel goggles, and with the snorkel in her mouth she manages to ask me, “Do you want to try using my water gloves today?” And I think, well hell. I’m 31, swimming next to the infamous 81-year-old Susie Swimmer, in the water-jogging lane, why the hell not?! And I squeeze the gloves on, that make me look like I have webbed hands, and I begin to water jog. And I feel like I’m gliding, because duh, I now have webbed hands. And Susie is next to me with her snorkel on and she throws me the thumbs up, and I throw her the thumbs up right back, which looks more like a wave as a result of my webbed water gloves. And there we are; Snorkel Susie Swimmer and I. Just two fine ladies water jogging on a typical Monday morning.



And I go on a date that evening with Brazilian Beefcake. He has an accent. It’s thick. Sometimes I have to do the lean in thing when he talks, cause I can’t really understand him, but that doesn’t usually help either. But last night there was no mistaking what he said when he started sniffing the air and exclaimed, “Why the HELL do I keep smelling chlorine?!?!” To which I, of course, shrugged my shoulders and said, “You’re loco.”