I’d like you to try something for me — hold your breath. Now count one… two… three… four… five… keeping going… six… seven… eight… nine… 10… hold it in…
How far can you go?
For the majority of us it’s not a particularly time-consuming exercise. After about 30 seconds I was getting uncomfortable; 40 seconds it wasn’t much fun any more (if it ever had been); and I gave up on 52.
Clearly, holding our breath isn’t exactly something we’re designed for — unlike, say whales, free divers, Michael Phelps (or does he not actually inhale?) and bizarre entertainer David Blaine, who holds the world record for holding ones breath at an astonishing 17 minutes and 4.4 seconds (which I thought would make him brain dead, but who knows).
Walking, running, eating, drinking, sleeping, driving and watching TV are all things our bodies are, generally, more than happy to comply with. Therefore, it makes sense that where our bodies take us, technology will follow. Naturally the space on top of our desks, the area in front of the couch, our pockets, in the car — these are all places in our everyday environment that are ready-made for technology to thrive. You can easily see how the Walkman fitted into our lifestyle. Ditto the television, mobile phones, car radios, and so on, and so forth.
Except, what about the SwimMP3 underwater MP3 player, an advert for which pinged its way into my inbox recently? Hmmm …
If you want to listen to music while swimming, this is obviously the gizmo for you. It uses bone conduction, rather than regular earphones, to transmit sound directly from your cheek bone to your inner ear. The ‘speakers’ are two plastic discs that rest on your cheeks instead of your ears (which all sounds a little too creepy for me and don’t ask how it works because I’m not that bright). Nevertheless a quick Google on the subject shows people swear by them.
Okay, so I can vaguely see how swimmers could get a kick out of it, although the best sound is apparently when you’re underwater, so bobbing up and down doing the old breaststroke must impact on the overall quality of the experience — although, I guess the point is that there’s an ‘experience’ at all. Anything’s better than splash, gulp, splash, gulp, splash, gulp. There’s even enough power for four hours’ playing time. But it strikes me that anyone who swims for longer than four hours at a time is either a) mad or b) mad or c) extremely wrinkled and mad.
Which brings me back to the advert that piqued my sudden interest in the SwimMP3 in the first place. It wasn’t for swimming per se. It simply showed a woman — in a skimpy bikini, naturally — half sitting, half floating beneath the water’s surface and listening to her SwimMP3 … for all of, what, 45 seconds, maybe a minute tops, before coming up gasping for air!