You can run a marathon, but you can’t swim. You watch YouTube videos on how to swim the freestyle stroke. The reach, the catch, the pull, the push, the recovery. You get a membership to the pool. Holding your breath underwater for three strokes at a time is a difficult trick. You are more tired after one lap, down and back, in the pool than after a usual morning 7 kilometer jog. The pool is half-size; it’s 25 meters. Underwater, in goggles, you try your best not to notice hairs – the worst of human debris – floating in front of you. One time, you swallow a choke of water and can’t forget the feeling, like the last time you scraped a fork on an empty plate. Swimming’s not impossible, you’re sure it’s not impossible, but humans are bipedal land animals.
“In running the mind flies with the body; the mysterious efflorescence of language seems to pulse in the brain, in rhythm with our feet and the swinging of our arms.” – Joyce Carol Oates in the New York Times (July 19, 1999).