Friday, February 12, 2010

Time, tide, p.s.i. and P-o Rs

It's a little strong to say I enjoy pissing off certain relatives, but I sure don't seem to mind it when the cause is just. To my eye, such familial friction is not confrontation so much as a version of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Energy seeks its own level. Perhaps a Little Too Casual About Things reacts with Perhaps a Little Too Uptight About Things and maybe each moves a little closer to rationality, or at least an equilibrium, if not a completely shared outlook.

Just like high pressure seeks low pressure, and the way high water flows downward, until everything relaxes into a flat-lined EKG. Except they don't. After all, time and tide wait for no man.

On the high-pressure low-pressure theme, and, for that matter, the time-not-waiting theme, I submit to you the background image one I finally removed from my computer screen:

Yes, those professional bike racers are taking a break to do exactly what it looks like they are doing. I love it. Pissed-off Relative, upon seeing it, reliably, briefly and I'm guessing subconsciously makes a disgusted face and accompanying noise in case I'm looking the other way. You'd think P-o R will be happy that I've finally changed the picture, but I'm doubtful. Because I've changed it to a more tidal theme:

These guys are probably peeing, too, but that's not the point. The point is that I'm looking forward to swimming those very same waters in a couple of months. P-o R is not at all big on risk-taking, and certain patches of my skin are still a little freezer-burned from the icy glare I got in 2007 when I announced I was swimming across the Straits of Mackinac. So I can't imagine a similar effort that takes place in colder, rougher water that's home to something a little more menacing than whitefish is going to seem a hell of a lot more responsible. But to steal and butcher a line from a song by the great Lyle Lovett (a kindred spirit in the risk-taking department, I'm happy to report), "if I were the man that you wanted, I would not be the man that married your daughter." The various P-o Rs will survive, because so will I. They're wonderful, and I know it. I'm ... well, I'm not sure what I am, but they ultimately seem to enjoy it. That's been our happy entropy for nearly 22 years now, whether either of us has learned anything from the other or not.

This particular familial conflict is brought to you and the rest of the world by:

My wife, Patty, who inhabits the demilitarized zone between my alleged recklessness and her parents' alleged risk-aversion with a level of grace that will never fall to a static level;
Joe Zemaitis, whose Foundation for Aquatic Safety and Training and Swim Neptune make this swim possible for so many swimmers - and whose invitation to psych up his swimmers and talk up my book were just the excuse I needed;
And, who are generously helping to cover my expenses. Because it's one thing to convince my in-laws I won't be eaten by a sea lion and another thing entirely to rationalize to Patty that I'm justifying this on business grounds if I lose money on the trip. (TriSports is not only generous but smart. While I'm a big fan of shopping locally, sometimes the locals just can't carry what the big online folks can, and TriSports has always been my go-to online source for just that kind of tri stuff -- and that's a lot of tri stuff. Meaning they'll get their money back from me, and then some, by the time the pre-season snow melts.)


La Professora said...

Could be worse, you could be a surfer invited to compete at this year's Mavericks Contest near Santa Cruz, CA, where "Forty- and 50-foot wave faces greeted the 24 invited guests ... with spectacular and bone-crunching force."