I swim twice a week at my local YMCA. Once someone assists me in finding a lane that isn’t being used, I’m on my own for the rest of my time there. Ropes strung along the lane lines give me boundaries, so I can swim laps with confidence. I keep a talking clock at the end of the lane, double-wrapped in freezer baggies, so I can keep track of the time, on account of my transportation. My guide dog Dora waits patiently and watches me as I swim up and back, up and back. I just love the feeling of strenuous exercise that is also relaxing.
One morning, as I hauled myself out of the pool and walked over to collect Dora, who was tethered to a bench, a woman came up to me very tentatively. “Excuse me,” she said. “I don’t know how to say this but, um, the back of your bathing suit is worn out. It’s the chlorine.” I reached around and felt nothing unusual, no skin peeking through a seam, no hole in the fabric. I was puzzled. Apparently, when you swim a lot in an indoor pool, the chlorine eats out the color in your suit, no matter how careful you are in rinsing it out when you get home. But she insisted that she could see right through the fabric. I was mortified. There I had been, walking around the pool for who knows how many weeks with my behind exposed. Another lady offered to walk very closely behind me as I made my way to the lockerroom. You can be assured that I got on line and ordered a new suit that very afternoon. The sense of touch just wasn’t enough this time. It’s just like telling someone about a spot on their shirt. We can’t feel it, but you can see it, so please tell us. I had no idea I was walking around with a transparent suit. Remember the story of the king’s new clothes? There will be no picture accompanying this story.