I learned to swim quite late in life, somewhere in my 20’s. When I was around 12 I remember going to the large pool at the Montreal Police Training Center in my neighborhood. They used to make the pool available to the kids of the area on off hours, and my friend Nick and I would go pretty often during the Summer.

This one time I found myself in the deep end clinging to the edge as was my habit and slowly making my way around the circumference of the pool. Suddenly, my hands slipped and I went under. I sank quickly, despite much flailing and thrashing. It was only when my feet hit the bottom that I was able to give a big push with my legs to send myself towards the surface with enough momentum. I remember those seconds that felt like hours as I rose through the depths breathing in the water and saying to myself, “It’s over, you’re going to die”. As I broke the surface I was still a few feet from the edge of the pool, and when you can’t swim, it might as well be a mile. But as I looked up gasping for air, I saw my friend Nick reaching over the edge, extending his hand out. I grabbed it and he helped me get to the edge.

Funny enough, I never developed the fear of water that one might expect from such an experience; a testament to the resilience of the young psyche.

This memory came back to me this morning, as I was struggling for a metaphor to describe my experience with the Mac. Talk about a segway.

When I bought the iMac I failed to do the due-diligence (learn to swim) that would have been appropriate for the endeavor of switching platforms after so many years as a Windows user. I was drowning as I slowly made my way through all the problems of trying to use the Mac as a Parallels Windows 7 machine. When Office for Mac 2011 was released a few days ago, I broke the surface and took an enormous breath of fresh air, although there was much coughing and spluttering as I tried to migrate the data over to it from the Windows version.

I must admit, the folks at Microsoft’s Mac group have been terrific, offering live phone tech support free for a year with my purchase. Taking their hand, I’ve now reached the side of the pool and am actually beginning to enjoy the Mac enough to start appreciating its benefits.

Next…learning to swim with it.