So there I was swimming in the Atlantic Ocean when a lengthy piece of human poop floated past me. I had taken a moment to stand and move my hair from my face when I saw it and immediately thought it had touched me somehow. I checked everything but no, it was just making its way closer to the beach I presume. When that man had been yelling that the seagulls were eating "it" earlier I hadn't paid him much attention thinking that he dropped some food in the water. Then again who eats while swimming in the ocean?
Another strange part about this experience was that moments earlier I had been reading a David Sedaris book. My absolute favorite David Sedaris story is the one where he uses the bathroom at a friend's house and finds a turd in the toilet that simply won't flush. He frantically tried to get rid of it, all the while worried that the next person in there would think it was his. I never laughed so hard at a story ever in my life but I can tell you that I did not laugh at my moment with someone else's poop.
I thought for a mili second about warning the huge family near me that a piece of poop was coming towards their children but jumped out instead and came back to my towel in a daze. I managed to play it off like eew ok gross I got out of there everything is ok now but really I was messed up. I needed to lay out in the sun and feel the sand and think happy thoughts. However, nearly every time I closed my eyes I could see the poop floating in front of me. This went on for a couple days. When asked how I enjoyed the ocean I immediately saw the poop and tried to think of something more amusing like that fat guy in American flag swim trunks.
It didn't work so I tried to talk about the incident to others in hope of therapeutic release. It turns out that no one I know has come across a poop while swimming so far unless they are not fessing up about it. Not only that but my friends didn't seem all that sympathetic. I thought someone would ask if I was ok or give me a hug but no. They just changed the subject because they are afraid of poop but so am I people! So am I. The friend that I was with changed our dinner plans and asked me if I needed to shower after the beach because she wanted to get going asap. Wanting to seem like a good guest I didn't have a firm resolve one way or another but you better believe I needed that shower! Luckily I managed one and scrubbed in a fury.
Let me be clear, swimming in the ocean or just being nearby and listening to the waves is my absolute favorite thing in the world to do. Combining my favorite thing in the world with excrement is a disaster of epic proportions. How does one get over such a tragedy? This week I tried to remember all the good times I've had in open water and luckily there are many: I went swimming with Dusky Dolphins in the Pacific Ocean. I floated in the Dead Sea. I swam naked in the Aegean Sea. I was treading water in Lake McKenzie when a light warm rain came in and it was an absolute miracle to be in that moment. I've laid in the wet sand on the Whitsunday Islands. I went scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. Surely those experiences outweigh crossing paths with a poop. At least I wasn't surrounded by tar balls.