Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Hidden Danger of Exercising with Earphones

Yes, it's true; I exercise with earphones. When biking or running, for the record, I use earphones which don't block external sounds, so I'm not living as dangerously as some others might with earbuds.

So, yes, on the bike I'm taking risks by not hearing as well as I could otherwise. And, yes, when running I'm taking risks by not hearing as well as I might otherwise. I've accepted those risks, and I try to be alert to my surroundings.

Little did I know that the true danger lay elsewhere.

You see, I also wear headphones when I swim. I thought I was safe. I mean, many swimmers wear ear plugs to keep water out of their ears. They can't hear much either, right? It's not like a car would come barreling through my swim lane, right? Whatever urgent information while swimming could wait until I hit the wall, right? So, I thought, I could tune out my surroundings at little risk.

Little did I know that the true danger lay within.

I don't always listen to music. I frequently listen to audiobooks or podcasts. I am particularly fond of NPR podcasts like This American Life. Yesterday, as I had done many times before, I listened an episode of that very show. One of the stories was read by essayist David Sedaris.

If you haven't read (or heard) anything by David Sedaris, I entreat you to delay no longer: Rush out and buy a book or, better yet, buy an audiobook read by David Sedaris himself. He will make you laugh. He will make you cry. He will make you do both at the same time.

And this, my dear friends, is where my near-fatal mistake lay.

For, really, how can one every be trained well enough to counter a laughing fit in the middle of the pool?

One can't.

There I was, mid-length, laughing like a maniac. Not only did I have quickly cease swimming to make sure to get my head above water, lest I drown in four feet of water, but I then had to do my best to ensure that my erratic behavior didn't alarm any fellow swimmers. They, surely, are not used to finding themselves in the pool with a deliriously hysterical woman.

Despite the fact that, at this time, we all had the luxury of our own lane, I do believe that they each quietly inched to one side of their lanes, attempting to place as much water as possible between them and me, and hoping desperately that my madness was not somehow contagious.

They could not understand.

But now, at least, you understand. You know where the hidden danger lies.

Swim safe, and choose your podcasts with care.

Photo credit: _Morrissey_, Creative Commons usage


geodee said...

LOL! Glad I'm on the couch.

geodee said...

LOL! Glad I'm on the couch.

Chloe said...

sedaris has made me laugh out loud till I cry, definitly dangerous in the pool