Apex, North Carolina’s Jordan Lake is about 16 miles west of the Raleigh suburb where the goddess and I live. While hardly an open water swimming haven Jordan lake’s murky, dirty, shallow and overly warm reservoir provides a fine area to splash around in and it sure beats nothing by a country mile.
From mid-May onward the goddess’ and my goal is to head out to the lake for a little wet triathlon training about twice a week. Adding our June 21st Jordan Lake swim to our previous visits our practice swim count now stands at five. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that we’re falling far short of our goal, but summer didn’t officially start until the 21st so we have another three months to catch up. As if.
Though called a swimming area Jordan Lake’s beach is really a glorified wading playpen. To actually swim any distance Durga and I venture just outside this roped in, lifeguard unattended amoebae. Our swims consist of going back and forth between the four stationary markers that act as a safety buffer between the large boating area of Jordan Lake and the tiny no-boating area roped off for swimmers.
Typically we swim two laps, going from buoy A to buoy D and back again. We haven’t measured the distance but as it takes me about 15 minutes to do a lap and the goddess ten we’re confident our swim lap is in the quarter mile/400 meter range. Hey, there’s a reason she’s the goddess and I’m just old and fat.
Durga is drop-dead gorgeous with a fit physique women a generation younger covet while my body is one most any 78 year-old man would be proud to have. At 58 years of age we make an interesting couple but it was not until the 21st that I caught a glimpse of how much interest our swimming generates among the Jordan Lake swimmin’ hole aficionados.
When starting our summer solstice swim Durga gave me a head start and, pausing at the end of my first lap, I looked down our channel and spied my beloved nearing the turnaround for her second lap. Sighing, I sailored on, splashing away in cold pursuit of Durga’s perfection. Coming to rest 15 minutes later I turned my head to the left, scanned the beach for the goddess and found her, but she was not alone. Instead, she stood and chatted with two women who lounged on beach towels.
“You look good out there!” the older of the two women declared as I freed my feet from the lake’s clinging mud and stepped onto the sandy beach.
“Thanks,” I replied, nodding and smiling.
“We been watching for ya,” the younger said. “That’s a long way ta swim.”
“It is for me,” I concede, eyebrow raised, lips smiling and head nodding. “She does real well though,” I add, hooking a thumb at my beloved.
“Yeah,” the first woman adds, “we saw she gave you a head start.”
“Didn’t help though, did it?” I ask with a laugh. “She’s still up here waiting for me.”
“Well yeah,” she laughed. “But you still did it.”
“True,” I reply, stepping next to the trio. “Plus she’s got an advantage,” I add bringing my right hand up and holding my thumb and index finger an inch apart, “she’s that much older than I am.” I pause a second before hollering, “Oh! Wait! That’s not an advantage, is it!?”
The women give me a polite laugh and the younger says, “But you’re doing it. That’s what’s important.”
“You’re right,” I agree, my brain answering sincerely while my ego gives me dirty looks.
“We been watching for ya,” the older woman adds. “It’s good to see you out here.”
“Ready?” asks Durga.
“Yep,” say I, adding, “Nice talking to you,” to the women on the beach as we walk away.
Once in the car Durga says, “That was a mother and daughter. How old do you think they were?”
“Well, not as old as they look. Older woman was probably 62?”
“Fifty,” Durga replies solemnly. “And the younger one has a son who swam next to me for maybe ten strokes. He was really proud that he could keep up. When I spoke to him he said he just started dirt biking and wanted to increase his endurance.”
“You know he probably meant motorbike, not mountain-bike, right? Not that motorbiking doesn’t take a lot of endurance too.”
“Huh. Yeah. Hadn’t thought of that. The grandma said lots of people watch for us. And watch us. Funny huh?”
“Funny that I feel like I’m failing and people are watching us thinking we’re hot snot? Yeah. That is funny.”
“Hey,” Durga says, turning north on Beaver Creek Road, “you never know who you can inspire.”
“Or who’s watching,” I concede. “Swim again on Sunday?”
“You bet,” she says, accelerating toward home.