Ya! Got some freelance writing work. This makes me happy.
Every dollar I earn from my writin’ chair is worth two (emotionally) dollars earned leaving the house. Yeah, I know, I’m a weirdo.
I was also a Good GirlTM and swam this morning. It felt good. Thing is, I’m still having a hard time getting over being the heaviest woman in the gym at a given time. Early mornings are harder because it’s all the sleek athletes and hard-cores in then. Then here’s me. I know I need to bloody well get over myself and be done with it. No-one really cares but me and I know that, too.
I’m thinking about saving up to get my life guard certification, or possibly even my WSI. I’ve checked over the requirements, and I’m plenty capable of passing them, though it’s been over twenty years since I was last certified. I actually did use my training once, about ten years after I’d gotten my certification.
A mother with two kids (all of whom were inexpert swimmers) got into rough surf I would hesitate to swim in. As a matter of fact, I’d just been griping about the dangerous surf red flags and the fact I’d be spending the day on the sand instead of in the water.
The mom was playing in the surf with the kids, holding their hands, and lost a grip of one of them. He was being pulled out. I was nearby and charged in to grab the kid. The lifeguard was about six seconds behind me and according to my parents, was shouting at me (I couldn’t hear it. I was busy) when she saw me use a standard lifesaving technique to get the kid in — the reach and grab. It’s a method of getting someone without getting too close to a panicked person who can drown you, but is a very firm hold. The guard got the mom and the other kid in and started chewing her out for getting in the water during red flag surf. (You really should stay on shore when the red flags are flying). The guard thanked me and told me that even though she was glad I was able to get the child in, I should be careful with that sort of thing. Well, okay, she was right. I’m not ocean rescue trained. That’s some specific and rigorous skills and I know it! Still, the kid was being swept away, the mother and other kid were in trouble and the lifeguard would have had to choose who to help.
I hope I would have had the sense not to try to swim out after the kid if we both got swept off our feet and out into the deep water. And that’s why ocean rescue is a different sort of training than your standard Red Cross Pool lifeguarding. Conditions are harsher and change a whole bunch faster. The reach and grab in a pool when you’re on deck and there’s someone flipping out within your reach? No biggie. You’re on steady ground, there’s no current or waves to deal with, and you can focus on getting the person out of the pool. In the ocean? Different story by far! Waves are a lot stronger than people, and you can be knocked down while you’re trying to use that very simple technique. Combine that with rough surf, a lot of wind and an outgoing tide (the exact conditions of that particular day), and things change fast.
When I was a kid my dad told me something that I’m not sure if he actually knew the stats on or not, but I’ve never forgotten it: Strong swimmers drown more often. Why? They get cocky and take dumb risks. I don’t know if this was to caution a little girl quite prone to get cocky about her own physical skills or if it was a real statistic. But I figure the caution is fairly useful.