I saw a report on “The Early Show” about the learning power of sleep and dreams. The doctor/consultant talked about a study that had been done of people learning a new task. Half the people had to perform the task very soon after having been taught the task. The other half of the people took a nap for over 90 minutes (evidently, we don’t dream until we’ve been asleep 90 minutes), and then they performed the task. The people who slept before performing the task did a better job.
(Maybe there really was some credibility to Professor Harold Hill’s “think system” in “Music Man.”)
Watching this report reminded me of the time I attempted to learn to water ski. I was in my late 20’s. That’s late for someone to learn to water ski in my corner of the world. We have a ton of lakes, and children learn to water ski when they are very young. But then, I’ve done a lot of things late – first period, first bra, first degree, etc.
Anyway, we were at the lake with some friends who had a ski boat. We were having a great time – enjoying the sun and the water. Back then, I took every opportunity possible to be out in the sun and around water – pool, lake, water sprinkler (Have you ever sunned on a deck chair with a water sprinkler spraying cool water on your legs to combat scorching summer heat? Try it – you’ll like it.).
I was definitely a sun worshipper. Of course, that was before we found out that all the sun exposure would turn our young, supple skin into dry, pruney, saggy yuck. Ahhhh. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. I miss those good old days.
Well, the friends found out that I had never water skied. They were surprised and, I think, rather appalled (although they were polite and didn’t berate me for ignoring an important part of our culture). The husband friend declared that he could teach anyone to water ski – even an old gal like me. So the tale begins.
I was strapped into a life jacket, deposited into the lake, handed the skis and then the ski rope – all while being given specific instructions about how to put the skis on, how to hold the skis under me while crouched down in the water, how to hold the ski rope, how to position my body as the boat would pull me, and how to pop up to a standing position to finally water ski for the first time.
Such excitement! I listened carefully to all the instructions. I felt such confidence – after all, learning is something I have always been good at. I knew that I could do it. And I looked forward to zipping through the water with the wind and spray cooling and energizing me in the 100 degree summer heat.
As the boat began to move slowly and pull me forward, I concentrated on everything that I had been told. I knew I could do it – and my excitement grew by the second.
The boat went faster, and I went faster with it – the boat pulling on me. . . the lake pushing against me. I saw the people in the boat motioning for me to stand up. I tried. But nothing happened. Panic!
I tried again. Still, nothing happened. I continued to stay in the crouched position – wondering how in the world I was going to fix this. Breathe . . .
I was hanging on desperately – to the ski rope and to purpose. I just needed to analyze the situation and figure out what I was doing wrong. Right?!?!?
To be continued. . .