Head Above Water
The Daily Blog #23
Yes. I am aware what the word daily means. Look, I’m sorry alright? I’ll try to be better.
The ship has rolled starboard in response to a rogue wave and some people have fallen into the sea and are now busy drowning.
I am clinging resolutely onto my desk, as the water floods the aft cabin. These are not good conditions to work in. I think that’s probably why I’m hiding down here while everyone else tries to stow the mainsail or whatever. I don’t really know the parts of the boat. It’s probably in a manual floating around in here somewhere.
Help! Help me!
I think I can hear them screaming. I clack on the keyboard loudly. If I can just make the voices stop, then maybe I can paddle this desk outta here.
Sometimes I’ll be lying on the sofa minding my own business and my son will suddenly grab my hand and try to pull me into the sea (where the sea is the overpriced low-pile rug that I bought from IKEA).
I can tell him that I’m quite happy on terra firma, but we both know I’m going in the drink. At which point I’m encouraged to swim to the shore which is about a metre away from me on the large anthracite tiles of the kitchen. I can’t move.
Just, leave me. Save yourself.
It’s confession time. I cheated when I got my five-metre swimming badge. Much, much later, I also swam five times further than that and it was an honest doggy-paddle right to the end of the pool in the leisure centre. Disturbing sidenote, a paedophile helped me get that badge by lining up in the water ahead of me and offering me gentle encouragement.
Go on sonny, just a little further. That’s it. Keep going. You’re so close.
No, that’s not fair. I didn’t know who the hell he was. He was just a member of the public who’d appeared in the middle of my attempt. He was probably just a very nice man. He was probably recently bereaved and was going to the leisure centre during the day to try to stay active and to meet people.
Although I can’t conceive of this because I’m a misanthropic tosspot, one day, that might be me. I vividly remember wanting him to fuck off, though.
But that five metres. I cheated. The instructor knew I’d cheated but let me have it anyway. It was the first of many hollow accolades and achievements I’ve received down the years.
Did your foot touch the bottom?
I shook my head. Nope.
Well alright then.
Why ask the question if you knew?
I had, I definitely had. I’d pushed off the bottom of the pool with my foot. It was impossible not to, I was basically in a paddling pool that didn’t have any water in it. I’d have a hard time drowning in there. But I can tell myself that all day long and it still won’t change the facts.
Feels good to get it out in the open, finally. I cheated. There. I said it. I owe an apology to all those kids in Water Tots, or whatever the hell it was called. I’m sorry.
In the end though, I’ve only cheated myself, haven’t I? After all, I still can’t really swim.
Not literally and certainly not in the opening metaphor, where the boat is the relative safety of my job. Everywhere that isn’t the boat is the thrashing tempest of unemployment with me flapping about in the IKEA sea listening to recruitment consultants tell me that they think I’m a perfectly good swimmer.
The idea about jumping is not necessarily to do with the boat sinking. It’s the thought that maybe, somewhere out beyond the storm there is one of those round-the-world cruise liners that is so big that you can wander about in there for years and still find a new buffet line each morning for your eggs.
I’ve lost sight of the metaphor now, it’s floated away beyond the horizon, but the cruise liner is probably a large software house. I’m happy enough with it being an actual cruise liner, though.
Perhaps I can spend the rest of my days at one of the ships many swimming pools dangling my feet over the edge and holding a drink with a little umbrella in it. Perhaps I’ll see a kid doggy paddling as though his life depended on it.
Go on sonny, just a little further.
Thank you for reading, I am bowled over by the fact that you clicked on this story and took the time to read the tosh that comes out of my head.
If you feel like you might like to read another, then head over to my publication for a poorly maintained blog with a lot of good stuff: