I’ve never thought of Layla as being a strong swimmer.
She can snorkel for fun and scuba dive like an expert, but I don’t think she’s the kind of person who swims laps in a pool or whips out fancy dives. Drop her in a cove and she’s more likely to paddle underwater to see if there’s anything interesting under the waves.
When I was a little kid I too preferred to swim underwater, usually while pretending I was a mermaid. Oxygen deprivation from holding my breath for too long can explain a few things about me now. I didn’t get swimming lessons until the summer before fourth grade, which coincided with my eyes going south; from then on I was cursed with glasses that got thicker over the years. This was a big reason why I didn’t like to dive off a board – I was never sure if I was jumping in on top of someone who was swimming under the water line like some dumb mermaid. Only as an adult did I start to do some (rather wuss) diving, and then only because I could combine contacts with tight goggles which meant I saw where I was going and where the other swimmers were in the pool.
Since Layla lives in Europe it’s easy for her to hop over to the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, where she can scuba dive all she wants and dabble in underwater archeology and exploration.
Me, I’m in Colorado, which ain’t known for having large bodies of water. Most Coloradans who scuba dive get certified somewhere else. An interesting factoid: Colorado is second in the continental U.S. for certified scuba divers; only Florida has more. I think this is because a) we’re a jock state, b) we can go stir-crazy in winter and want to get away somewhere warm and watery, and c) there are cheap airline tickets from Denver to Mexico and some of the islands.
Years ago I took scuba lessons at a place in my neighborhood, but I never got certified. Later when I was in Cambodia I scuba dived with a friend who had dived all over the South Pacific and could be my guide. But now I’m so rusty I’ll have to study up and practice at the nearby scuba school so that maybe sometimes this next year I can FINALLY go to the islands, get certified, and swim around underwater like a pretend marine archeologist.
About my eyesight: A couple years ago I went to an ophthalmologist to see if I could have Lasik. Turned out my eye tissue was too thin so I wasn’t a candidate, and on top of that I had the beginnings of cataracts at an early age. It may surprise you but this turned out to be good news because I had cataract surgery which meant permanent prescription lens were inserted in my eyes. So for the first time since third grade I can see all on my lonesome – except that I need reading glasses. But that’s okay. I can see and that makes me luckier than some people.
As for Layla — she’s always had 20/20 eyesight, and as usual I’m jealous.