Un Épisode

Il est mignon et je suis mignonne. Mais ce n’est pas important.

Il y a deux soirs, nous sommes déshabillés.

Nous déscendions le jacuzzi. L’eau était plutôt chaude, mais l’air était très froid. Il m’avait invité et j’ai dit, “oui”.

Nous n’étions pas nus, bien sûr. Vous êtes fous.

Nous aimons passer de temps ensemble. Personne n’était dans le jacuzzi – seulement lui et moi. Il me posait beaucoup de questions, mais quand je le posait des questions, il a brièvement répondu et puis il m’a fait encore parler. J’étais étonnée. Je pensais qu’il parlât plus, mais au lieu, il voulait savoir de ma famille, où j’habitais  et où je travaillais. Donc, j’ai parlé de Floride et New York; j’ai parlé de mon père de naissance. Je ne pouvais pas arrêter de parler.

Ensuite, un autre couple venait au jacuzzi. Ils gâchaient l’ambiance.

Pourtant, nous avons échangé des massages. Mais ce n’est pas important.

Après une heure et quart passaient, nous sommes partis. Nous avons marché à sa voiture, et il a mis sa bra autour de moi. Hee. Quand nous sommes arrivés à sa voiture, il m’a étreint et m’a soulevé. J’ai un peu ri.

Bien sûr, nous ne nous sommes pas embrassés. Non.

Mais ce n’est pas important.

In Which I Could Have Gotten Into All Sorts of Trouble

Was it only two months ago when I declared this?

I really have no excuse, other than my blasted cowardice.

The intent was to go skinny dipping. I’ve always wanted to go, and I already packed my swimsuit and sent it to Utah. It was 80 degrees in St. Augustine this afternoon. I dug around and found some black bottoms I could swim in, and I also put on a sports bra and a t-shirt and jeans.

The non-interstate way to the beach is so much more scenic. The first stretch of FL-16 heading east features cattle grazing pasture on the north side and banana trees along the fenceline on the south side. A1A toward the beach suggests a safe and lazy 30mph, which is slow enough to notice all the attractions and fast enough to escape the tourists’ pull.

Anastasia Beach is a state park. It’s clean, and on this December weekday afternoon, it was relatively quiet.

I planned on jumping in the ocean, getting neck-deep, and removing the sports bra and bottoms. I looked at the ocean. I took off my t-shirt and jeans. This is all you’ll get:

At the park entrance they posted high tide sometime around 6:40pm, so when I got to the beach I noticed  the waves:

I walked out to the water in what basically looked like a (relatively modest) bikini. The waves rolled in, and I felt their particularly strong outward pull. This was why I didn’t go out very far. As some of you may know, I’m not a strong swimmer, and while in theory I know how to get out of a rip current, I didn’t want to test it.

Also, the cold water made me shy. I stood knee-deep for 15 minutes, trying not to freeze.

Then, I just dove in.

Then, as usual, the water was bracing for only a few minutes, and it helped that the air above the water was still warm. Still, the waves were high and I stayed pretty close to the shoreline. No one else swam. A few strollers passed, but I ignored them and dismissed my self-consciousness of my near nakedness. Because I look great. According to me.

I splashed around a bit and body-surfed for another half-hour, then I decided to dry off and warm up. And, get dressed.

Don’t ask how I got dressed in the middle of a not-quite deserted beach during a Florida winter.

As I left the beach, I noticed the flags indicating beach conditions:

Needless to say, I would not have gone in the water had I seen the warning flags first.

So, to recap:
1. I could have been arrested for indecent exposure (though I was very, very, very careful).
2. I could have DIED, either by drowning in a vicious riptide or by a shark during snacktime.

My flimsy little excuse came in handy.

Kids, do NOT try this at home.

More photos at flickr.


So you know, there are these people who, no matter what, have to say something that one-ups everything someone else says. Your dad’s a lawyer? Well, my dad’s a lawyer AND  a rocket scientist who won the Nobel Prize three times and donated the prize money to relief efforts of the past two natural disasters. AND he’s hot.

This past week, I let a friend know I was playing this game with her. I can’t even remember what she said first. Maybe it had something to do with her running, because she’s training for a marathon. And she’s doing a wonderful job, progressing quite nicely. Well, I don’t even know how my brain went there, but I scrambled, because I had to one-up her somehow, and I’m not doing anything really athletic right now but hey, it was random enough, and it might be enough for the win, so I declared:

I’m amazing. I look great naked.


Dipping, the Skinny Kind

Wednesday night at Carnegie Hall was a tribute to R.E.M., where various artists sang their favorite R.E.M. songs. Ingrid Michaelson was one of these artists.

I went to her concert last night at the City Winery. She described her part in the R.E.M. tribute, and when she mentioned the song she sang, my heart leapt:


Nightswimming deserves a quiet night.
The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago,
Turned around backwards so the windshield shows.
Every streetlight reveals the picture in reverse.
Still, it’s so much clearer.
I forgot my shirt at the water’s edge.
The moon is low tonight.

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night.
I’m not sure all these people understand.
It’s not like years ago,
The fear of getting caught,
Of recklessness and water.
They cannot see me naked.
These things, they go away,
Replaced by everyday.

Nightswimming, remembering that night.
September’s coming soon.
I’m pining for the moon.
And what if there were two
Side by side in orbit
Around the fairest sun?
That bright, tight forever drum
Could not describe nightswimming.

You, I thought I knew you.
You I cannot judge.
You, I thought you knew me,
this one laughing quietly underneath my breath.

The photograph reflects,
Every streetlight a reminder.
Nightswimming deserves a quiet night, deserves a quiet night.

I have never been skinny dipping. I’ve always wanted to. I hear other people’s experiences, and it sounds wonderful. Seeming vulnerable and nervous, yet empowered. This song is the way I imagine my experience when it finally happens, in setting and thoughts and  feelings. I’m glad Ingrid got to sing this song for Michael Stipe and friends. She sang it for us, and she did a bangup job. It was her and her voice and a looping pedal at the microphone and an upright bass. I loved it.

This song was part of a mix tape my friend, Sarah, gave me before I left for college, some 15 years ago, almost. It always stirs nostalgia. Its images haunt my mind. Its power draws me to the water’s edge, toes squishing in the sand, the water’s chilling air gently bristling my legs as I slowly step deeper. No one’s around, just me and the moon and a certain unexplained yet understood freedom, sprawled out, reaching out to each other just because we can. Splashing, gliding, floating. Goosebumps, then temperance, then utter and incomprehensible joy.

It’s one of the things I have to do before I die. It’s one of the things I’m definitely going to shave my legs for.

Tri this one on for size.

When I went shopping for a triathlon suit, I decided to get it in two pieces, since 1) it was cheaper than the singlets and 2) it seemed practical. So, when I first got out of the pool about seven weeks ago I headed to the shower room to rinse off. I remembered to bring a towel.

The shower stalls are along two walls facing each other. There are no shower curtains or doors, just partitions separating the stalls. I turned on the faucet and rinsed off the suit while it was still on my body. I removed the bottoms just fine. But when it came time to remove the top, I had a problem. The top slicked to my skin, and the spandex was too stretchy. It didn’t have a zipper, and I couldn’t remove it the way I would a regular shirt. I tried, and the material just kept stretching and sticking to my torso. The more I stretched my arms, the more the spandex stretched, but the top wasn’t coming off. And, I couldn’t reach the seams that weren’t stretchy so that I could get a good grip and some leverage. I tried pulling my arms inside of the top and that only made the top tighter and harder to remove. I kept pulling the top over my head. When the front of the suit was against my face, it was hard to breathe, because the water made the suit impermeable.

So, there I was, wriggling my arms underneath this spandex suit. It must have looked like a black blob had consumed my torso whole, and I was trying to punch my way through, clawing my way to escape, but it kept clinging to my skin and stretching with every single movement, because it’s a well-designed suit.

I was facing the wall, but still, never mind my bare bum for all the world to see while I struggled and fought my way in vain out of the top. I tried not to think of the people passing by who must be laughing at me. It made me laugh a little, but I also wanted to cry, because I really wanted out of my suit. I thought I would never be able to take it off.

After what seemed to be at least five minutes wrestling with the top, I took a deep breath. I lowered the top below my head. I reached my right hand across the front of my body, around my left arm, just outside the shoulder blade. My hand stretched for the back band of the built-in bra, and my fingers curled under it for a grip. I scrunched my shoulders inward and forward while I pulled the left side the suit over my left shoulder, where I pulled my left arm free, then I pulled the suit over my head, then I used my left hand to pull the top off the right side of my body. I was free. I finished rinsing off.

Needless to say, I remembered this technique for subsequent showers at the gym. My life has been so much better since.

Losing Streak

Yesterday morning I got out of the shower and looked at the towel rack and my towel was not there. I forgot I left it in my room, which I normally do not do. I stood in the tub to airdry as best I could, but that’s extremely difficult because I just finished showering, and the bathroom is all foggy and humid and my skin felt all slick and probably wouldn’t get dry anytime soon. So to speed up the process, I patted myself dry with my pajamas and it seemed to work just fine. My hair was dripping, and I wrung out as much water as I could. I cloaked my pajama pants across my shoulders so I wouldn’t get my outfit for work wet while I brushed my teeth. When I got to my room, I dried my hair properly with the towel I left there but was nevertheless impressed with myself for MacGyvering drying off without a towel.

When I got home that evening, I didn’t hang my towel up in the bathroom, but as I was getting ready for bed, I put my towel where I would see it in the morning so that I would take it to the bathroom on my way to shower. Seemed like a pretty sensible thing to do for being lazy. I woke up early to touch up on my seminary lesson. I usually lie in bed for a few minutes mentally going through my wardrobe trying to figure out what to wear for the day. So I got up and set aside my clothes and finished the seminary lesson. I went to the bathroom to take a shower. It was a nice shower with the shampooing and soap-lathering and rinsing and repeating. And hot water. Man, hot water is nice. I shut off the water and pulled open the shower curtain.

Through the steam, all it took was a quick glance. The steam wasn’t thick, so I saw right away that I forgot to take the towel from the place in my room where I THOUGHT I’D REMEMBER IT. I almost swore out loud, but if I stop it before it leaves my tongue, it also goes nowhere in my brain. Probably because not hearing it coming out of my own mouth doesn’t reinforce it. So instead of bad word materializing in my mind, it was something like “oh, blurgurk.” 

I did NOT want to use my pajamas to dry off again. I thought about what it would take if I were to scramble to my room to get the towel. You see, I share the master bathroom. Running naked to my room would mean having to run through my roommate’s room. I thought it out: if I turned out the bathroom light before I opened the door, then it would be dark. And I know my roommate would most likely not wake up, since it takes a near-apocalypse to rouse her. So that’s what I did. I dried my feet on the bathmat and turned off the light. I opened the bathroom door and made a run for it. 

The air was cold against my warm skin. The second I stepped into my roommate’s room, I turned into a goosebump. I opened my roommate’s door and hustled to my room. The rest of the apartment was dark. I grabbed my towel from the chair where it was lying. I had no time to be self-conscious, but I couldn’t help but think somebody saw me. But I noticed that at that moment, getting back to the steamroom of the bathroom was far more important. Being cold is bad enough. I do not recommend being naked and cold. I do not recommend being naked and cold and risking your roommate seeing you in the buff as you sprint through her room. I headed back to my roommate’s room. I left the door slightly ajar behind me as I stepped into the dark and warm bathroom. 

I shut the bathroom door quietly, then I turned the light back on. I dabbed the thick, woven cloth of the towel to absorb the extra moisture from my skin. I put on clothes. Clothes! That must have been the longest 8 seconds of my life. I can’t imagine life without clothes. I don’t remember being comfortable and cozy and naked in the womb. I think that’s a major difference between me a lot of other people. They have fond prenatal memories and have no qualms whatsoever about not wearing clothes on a regular basis. They would have strolled lazily to their room to pick up their towel they forgot; perhaps stop by the kitchen on the way to have a piece of toast.

How do people do it? How do people run across soccer fields or recite lines on a Broadway stage in the nude? How do toddlers drop their drawers and not care how vulnerable they are? I HAVE to remember my towel. I don’t ever want to run across my apartment like that ever again. I’m getting off my duff right now and hanging up my towel, right THERE, where it’s supposed to be, on the towel rack in the bathroom. Naked is scary, guys.