I've Never been Afraid of Sharks


I'm glad the swim season's over. I'm glad because I love being the only one not to mind the cold. Lately I've been going to the beach almost every day.

Sometimes, when I'm swimming, I imagine myself being attacked in the water. A large combine harvester rises out of the black depths beneath me and it's many curved, rotating blades lop my limbs to pieces as I struggle to swim away. I don't know why the incongruous image of a large piece of farm equipment I'm quite unfamiliar with should so frighten me while I am swimming in the Ottawa River, but the unwelcome image is very persistent. The obvious fact that such a vehicle would sink straight to the bottom and be buried by seaweed and mud only makes the sight of it motoring after me in the water all the more horrifying.

Sometimes the blades stop before severing my limbs and the machine surfaces with me scooped up in it. The water around me drains into a sleuth and I tumble down a grate into the machinery below. I'm trapped in a little box that serves as an elevator to the deepest depths of the earth. Little whirring drill bits pop out from every side along with saw blades, and tasers. I squirm to avoid them as the walls of my prison press in like a trash compactor.

Really though, I quite like swimming. I love the dreamy sense of freedom and elegance I experience sloshing about in the waves. Perhaps it is simply impossible to experience something so pleasant without conceiving of its opposite.