Emily Timbol

Fiction Author. Good at making stuff up.

Don’t Look at me! Don’t Look at me!


I have a confession; I can’t ride a bicycle. It’s not that I never tried as a kid, I did, but I never really liked it, and so, whenever I’ve tried in recent years, it hasn’t happened for me. There are multiple reasons for this; my lack of balance, my huge ass, my lack of balance, but mostly, my irrational fear of people laughing at me causes me not to try and learn. Here’s the caveat, this fear is only for people laughing at me for doing something physical. There’s no doubt in my mind that this is because I’m a fatty fat fat, born and raised, but the weird thing is, I have absolutely zero shame except in the area of athleticism.

Example A: Remember that commercial for “Pepto Bismol”, where people would dance and point to their midsection and rear singing, “Nausea, Heartburn, Upset Stomach, Indigestion, Diarrhea?” I use to do that in the middle of Publix just to embarrass my sister. Example B: I was on the tennis team in high school and normally was a notch above the girl who picked up tennis balls after practice in skill level, but since the coach liked me, I sometimes was substituted for the higher ranked girls, when we were getting our asses beat. I was like the 3rd string quarterback. One time, because girls 1-4 were all sick or suspended (ie, caught drinking), I was placed in the NUMBER ONE slot against a girl who was nationally ranked. While all my friends and the super cute boy I later wrote my awful screenplay about watched, I was beaten, 6-0, 6-0, in about 5 minutes, without ever scoring a point or returning a serve. Trying to be sportsman like, at one point I went to say, “nice serve” but it came out, “nice sherve” and everyone laughed. I cried in the bathroom immediately after it was over. Example C: I love singing Karaoke. And I don’t sing well, and once was booed off stage and laughed about it.
As an adult, I know it’s important to face your fears and conquer them, but when I tried that with the bicycle a couple years ago, I ran into the sign for the neighborhood and flew off my bike into the bushes, so yeah, no more wheels for me. That’s one of the reasons though that I have been so determined to stick with swimming. Mixing my fear of being laughed at for lack of physical prowess with a freaking bathing suit is a lot braver than riding a bike, thank you very much. And so far it’s been great, I’ve really taken to it and have worked up to swimming for 45 minutes two or three times a week, and gone from 20 laps when I started, to now 50(almost a mile.)
The new Y where I am going to is a little different than the one where I began my swimming adventure. For one, it’s old, old, old, and dirty. But meh, I can handle it. What’s harder to handle is the fact that, being much less crowded than my last Y, I am often the only person swimming laps in the morning ,which means that on some mornings, like today’s, I have to swim laps with three lifeguards staring at me, just me. No one else. The whole time. Sometimes they even walk along the pool while I swim which is like, ridiculously awkward and always makes me feel like I have to swim faster. But the worst part is this, the cardio deck in the gym above, LOOKS OVER the pool, which means, in addition to those three lifeguards, there could be a dozen other people looking at me. On the bright side, I’m never going to drown, but on the downside, the whole time I’m swimming I hear Carrie‘s Mom saying, “They’re all going to laugh at you!” the whole time I swim.
So….anyone want to come to the pool with me Wednesday?

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