I have a stupid fear. It feels a little shameful.
This really shouldn’t be a problem for me. See, I do triathlons that require me to train and race swimming in lakes. I teach a class on swimming in lakes for triathlons. I’m a strong and confident swimmer, just not so much in lakes. I really don’t like swimming in the lakes. There, I’ve said it.
It’s the lake weeds and sticks and the way it smells. Mostly I hate the murkiness. Its the fuzzy greenness that my limbs disappear into that creeps me out. If I knew with 100% certainty that it was entirely void of creatures I might be ok. But I know with 100% certainty that there ARE creatures in there. Creatures I won’t be able to see unless they are practically touching me.
It’s not that I don’t like creatures or fish. Or that I’m actually afraid of them as I know they are mostly harmless. I have snorkeled and SCUBAed in the ocean with creatures that are obviously more dangerous. I’m totally OK in the ocean as long as I’ve got a crystal clear view of the fish. My friend Andrea made the point that if the lake was suddenly super clear I’d see lots of fish. I’d be ok with that. Actually that would be really cool. It’s not like I’m prejudiced against fresh water fish. If the pool was filled with freshwater fish I think it would be weird but I don’t think I’d be afraid of them.
But swimming in the lake is like waiting in the dark for monsters to sneak up on me.
Andrea, who I’ve coached. Whom I’ve coaxed into first enjoying swimming in the pool. After winter months of slowly coming around to pool swimming was then certain that she’d never like lake swimming is now obsessed with it. She loves swimming in the lake and likes to tease me about my fear. She sent me this lovely news article:
A monster Muskie caught in Lake Nokomis. This is the lake we swim in every week!
So I did the only reasonable thing I could with this knowledge. I gave my monster a name.
Mr. Kitty Nibbles
Because I like kitties even when they nibble on my feet.
I’ll also pretend he ate my long lost Tempo Trainer. It’ll be like a bell on a cat’s collar that warns the bird of an impending pounce. Or maybe like Tick-Tock the crocodile in Peter Pan. Or maybe Mr. Kitty Nibbles will just help pace me.
Because imagining these fish as cartoons waiting in the dark is so much more manageable.
So I had to give them more names…
Sir. Floppy Splash
Ms. Muffin Bubbles
Dr. Lucky Stink
Lady Slimy Fuzz
Jr. Bitty Bites
Prof. Pokey Whiskers
Now I can hope to see a fish and yell through bubbles underwater “ARE YOU DR. LUCKY STINK?!?” and through a crowd of people shout “Hey Andrea! I saw Mr. Kitty Nibbles!”