I am a Cynical Old Woman

Yes, it’s true I am a cynical old woman.

Yesterday, I was reading a thread on Facebook, in a group Fernandina Surfers. It was addressing the issues of lifeguarding, in the time of pandemic. However, it touched a nerve in me, that was yet, another one of those issues of aging.

The word that set me off in their dialogue was “enforcement”. I dislike enforcement, therefore, according to the dictionary, I am cynical.

I made the simple comment, of having mixed feelings, concerning lifeguards. Some, white haired, old man named Bert, called me a cynical old woman. I know lifeguards have their place, but that’s part of the problem. I don’t want a sixteen year old, with braces, telling me where and how to swim. They will look at me and my grey hair and think I shouldn’t go out deeper than my waist.

Reading the comments, on the thread, my mind reflected on vivid memories, of being a child and swimming, in the ocean. I would bend my knees and duck under the waves. I would feel it pass over me. I learned about the rhythm of the sea. I was taught about run outs, and how to deal with them. I swam far out beyond the breakers. I swam every day all day long, only stopping for lunch, a rest, and then back out until the sun went down.

No lifeguard. – I would not have been allowed.

I swam in the salt springs of Florida. They were freezing. I would dive and check out the caves; my mother put a permanent fear mark, of caves, in the depths of my being. The same as the currents in rivers. The St. John’s River will swallow you whole, and only a fool would ski there. After civilization moved in, I was whistled at and removed from an area by security, because of alligators. I have swam, in that spring since 1960. I’m sure alligators were there before then, as they are now. It’s Florida!

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