Who would have thought that I would ever get into aerobic exercise? I remember back in high school there was a 600-yard walk/run. What torture that was for the couch potato I was then! I was almost dead by the time we arrived at the finish line. France has changed all that. Or rather, being unemployed in France has changed all that. When I arrived in France I had a job. Now I have a job. In between I was unemployed ("en chomage"). Which is a bummer. Maybe that is why the French government gives unemployed people ("chomeurs") bunches of benefits. (Sometimes you wonder if maybe you should stay unemployed to keep up all the benefits – but no, no! Don't listen to me. I'm still a good American who works, works, works). These include free admittance to most museums. And free entry to all the municipal swimming pools of Paris! For awhile, I had a lot of time on my hands, so I decided to try it. I got hooked on lap swimming.
Even now that I'm working again, I still go to the pool and swim for 30 minutes without stopping. When I begin the laps, I can swim about six strokes without breathing. Then it hits - heavy breathing, or having to breathe with each stroke. Then, breathing every other stroke. Finally, after about 20 to 25 minutes I get into what I call "second wind". My breathing slows down; I feel really centered; and I go even faster than before. Wow! I think of it as a reward for busting my gut and suffering. Justice! Long live second wind. If you'd like to find out more about swimming in Paris, take a look at my E-Book, "Life in Paris: The Real Thing".