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My fear of drowning [Jul. 16th, 2004|11:15 pm]
[Current Mood |scaredscared]

There are all sorts of ways that I don't want to die, but drowning is near the top of the list. When I was in college I attempted to get scuba certified but, despite being a strong swimmer, I could not handle the getting-into-snorkel-gear at depth. I got terrified every time, so never got to the next class where we would actually get, like Oxygen while we were sitting on the bottom. Oh, I could do it in 5 feet of water, but not at 10.

It was all the fault of some guy I didn't even know.

When I was a kid we would go to the Oregon Coast and stay in small hotels with indoor pools. (The Oregon Coast is a really wonderful place to visit if you like to watch crashing waves and storms, not so hot for actual swimming.) I was about 10 years old on this particular trip, and my brother and I had been practicing swimming the full length of the pool under water. It was a big pool, and I had only just succeeded the day before. Excited to try again, I hopped in took a deep breath, and dove beneath the surface.

My lungs were hot and painful when I reached the deep end and touched the light. I shot up, broke the surface, gulped for air.

And was shoved beneath the water by a strong, adult hand. I sucked water into my lungs and flailed, panicking. I pushed upward, my eyes breaking out, my nose.

He pushed me beneath again. I realized that a complete stranger was trying to drown me. I fought against him with the last of my strength, but I had already breathed a good deal of chlorinated water into my lungs. I knew I was going to die. I had no fight left. I went limp.

He dragged me to the surface and threw me out onto the deck, leaping out of the water to perform CPR. I coughed and choked and vomited pool water. My dad - who had missed the whole thing - came running.

"I'm sorry!" I heard the stranger's shakey voice. "I thought it was one of my sons roughhousing with me."

His sons were strapping highschoolers. I had very short hair at the time, but I didn't look like a 6 foot basketball player. I still don't know what he was thinking. But he seemed sincere, and for the rest of the weekend kept buying me sodas out of the machine. I imagine he was worried we'd sue.

At the bottom of the pool in college, the memory of that incident kept coming back to me. I hate being scared of things, and try to bull my way through my fears. I couldn't make it through that one. And have never been scuba diving.

[User Picture]From: justbeast
2004-07-17 03:42 am (UTC)
Holy shit, zoethe!
That's really scary! :(
I'm so sorry to hear
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-17 04:13 am (UTC)
'Twas long ago. And, hey, I have good stories to tell, right? [g]
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[User Picture]From: brujah
2004-07-17 03:47 am (UTC)
I couldn't even imagine how you must have felt and still do feel. Jesus, what the fuck was that man thinking? My initial feeling on it was a sinister, icky back-of-the-head feeling. Ew.

I'm sorry you had to endure something that freaking horrifying. Just ughh.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-17 04:15 am (UTC)
It seemed odd that he felt it would have been okay to nearly drown his sons, but I suppose there was that "prove you are still the king" thing going.

It was pretty icky.
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From: random123
2004-07-17 01:23 pm (UTC)
Guys like that are why I'm a lesbian.
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[User Picture]From: apostate_96
2004-07-17 03:53 am (UTC)
I can see how something like that would leave that kind of impact on you. That's really scary. I really have to wonder what was going through that guys head...

I hope it's something that someday is no longer interfering with your life.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-17 04:16 am (UTC)
It doesn't interfere much. i've gone snorkeling in the Virgin Islands. But I don't like to go far down....
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[User Picture]From: drowningmermaid
2004-07-17 08:17 am (UTC)
I never fully learned to swim because of some stupid kid at the public pool.

I recall being 7 or 8 and I thought I was a mermaid... my dad had been teaching me to swim... he felt confident enough in my ability to allow me to go down the slide into the 6' water... alone.

well, I'd have been fine if it hadn't been for that stupid impatient fat kid who didn't want to wait for me to get off the slide. As soon as I'd started to slide down, there he comes, feet touching my back, right on top of me.

I was pinned under the water, losing my air and he was on top of me, using me as a raft.

I was about to black out, I just know it... but then my dad comes splashing into the water to my rescue. He threw the fat kid across the pool and dragged me out.

But I've still never learned how to swim.
Floating though? I'm an effing master!

and they wonder why I'm the drowning mermaid. HA.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-07-17 08:42 am (UTC)
Holy crap. That's all I can say, mostly because I am completely braindead. But still, holy crap.
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[User Picture]From: altaego
2004-07-17 06:30 pm (UTC)
I just had to mention this week's Portland Mercury the Drowning Issue.

(My family swims in an indoor pool at the Oregon Coast too, but no near death experiences yet. Although my younger son has a disputed memory that his father dropped him into the hot tub when he was a baby.)
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[User Picture]From: astridsdream
2004-07-17 07:06 pm (UTC)
Huzzah for the Oregon Coast! Many fond memories of many summers spent there with family. No drowning stories, though, thank heavens.

I have been scuba diving, though only once, and not on the Oregon Coast (you're right about crashing waves not swimming, though I would add the tremendous appeal of tidepools to the list of virtues for the Oregon Coast). I was in Hawaii, and my dad took me. Great fun. Down below the snorklers, the fish grow to the size of tires. Big 18-wheeler tires, too. Pretty amazing.

The seasickness going to the second dive site was not so amazing. So it goes.
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[User Picture]From: batshua
2004-07-18 03:48 am (UTC)
Holy freaking crap of hell!

I just... there are no words.

What a completely thoughtless asshole.
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