Thursday, March 6, 2014

No, You CAN'T Share My Swim Lane--More Awkward Encounters

You might know I love to swim, and that I bucked up for a gym membership around Thanksgiving, so I *could* swim, which was awesome.  I went a lot at first, unsurprisingly.  Of course, the usual stuff started happening, which made me not get to the gym, not unlike most everyone who gets a membership, I imagine.  Because:

Then it was Christmas.

Then it snowed a lot.

Then the kids drove the car to school a lot and I had no way to GET to the gym.

Then we all got the flu.

Then the whole county apparently had the flu, and went to the gym.

Then it was January and hello--one million new members signed up for their New Year's Resolution and ALL WENT TO THE GYM.

I went over there all determined to swim one morning at 8 a.m. and, I kid you NOT, I couldn't even find an open parking spot.  And we're talking about a really really huge parking lot, including a covered garage area.  Plus, on the way in, I passed someone literally hacking and coughing in their car, coming out, which grossed me out.

Two other times I've driven over there and gone to the door of the pool room and stared morosely at the 10 lanes full of this:
Don't even bother.  I'm going to be here for AT LEAST ANOTHER HOUR.

I glared at them through the glass door long enough to be sure they totally knew they were messing up my day.  I sent guilt waves rippling their way, while I stood there in my coat, wondering why I was there.  Then, out of spite, I went into one of the private rooms and took a hot shower.  For about 45 minutes.  I figured, if I'm paying for this, I'm going to USE it.  This has happened twice.

Two days ago I went to the gym in the afternoon, thinking maybe there's a window of time when it isn't full of men training for the Polar Plunge or the Iron Man or the Indy 500 or whatever.  At first glance, again, I saw pretty much this: 
What the-- REALLY???

*sound of a balloon deflating*

I angrily frowned at the pool for a minute, standing there in my coat, then went into a changing room and stared angrily at the wall tiles for a minute, wondering if all I would ever get to do is shower here.  No.  I deserve to be here.  I pay to be here.  I am using that pool.  I glanced at my phone.  1:26 p.m.  I angrily sat down on the little bench in the changing room and waited four minutes, sent Shane a grumpy text, something about how I'm SO GLAD I HAVE THIS membership, then nonchalantly walked back out to gaze through the pool room doors.  Carefully...ah HAH!!  A lane was open.

I literally leapt into the women's locker room and flung myself into a bathing suit, dodged back out and stuffed my bag, coat, scarf, purse (turn off the phone, grab the water bottle), and boots into a locker, made a mental note to NOT carry so much stuff, snapped a padlock on it, and did my best to walk/run to the one open lane.  It was still open.  I think I heard angels singing.  I got in without even putting on my swim cap.  I did remember my goggles (foggy buggers), though, and oh, my gosh, you guys.  It was LOVELY.  For about 30 minutes.

I was approaching the wall at the shallow end on one lap, and I noticed, through the total fog of my super cheap goggles, that there was a person, squatting down at the end of my lane.  Great.  The lifeguards are going to ask me to leave.  I'm not wearing a swim cap. In case he was trying to steal my water bottle or something, I stopped and pulled off my goggles and peered at him.  It was (basically) this guy:   
Can I share your lane?
Seriously.  A total stranger.  "Can I share your lane?"

What?!?  No.  

I looked around.  OK, yes, there were some people sharing lanes, but the difference was that they actually were together.  I'm usually a wuss about this kind of situation, and I ALways say "yes" and then spend the rest of the time regretting it.  But I thought about all the times I haven't been able to get IN this pool.  I thought about the 25-minute drive each way to get here and the times I have arrived, only to shower and then leave.  I thought about the membership fee I pay each month to have a lane to myself, for an hour, once in awhile.  And I thought about the actual dreams I've had, twice, in the last week, where I am actually sharing a lane in a pool with a lot of people, and in that dream I constantly am bumping into them and trying to swim around them.  I hate that dream.  I wake up frustrated.  My eyes narrowed briefly, but--I am the soul of diplomacy, if not actual smooth replies.

So I looked at him, and I said:  "Um.  I'm going to be getting out shortly."  That didn't seem like enough of an explanation, (though he seemed to take it as one).  I needed to say more, so I said, "I'd share with you.  But--I can't see out of these goggles.  And I'd just spend the whole time running into you. Sorry."  He looked at me like I hadn't needed to say that.  I proved it by showing him.  "See? Fogged up."  He made a gesture like, "It's OK (lane hog), I'll wait," and sat down.

I was at the 32-minute mark of what I'd hoped would be an hour swim.  It felt so good.  But now I have this guy, sitting on the bench 8 feet from my lane, staring at me, waiting for me to get out.  
So, how long is "shortly"?
I rebelliously thought that if I want to swim another 25 minutes, I'm paying for it; I should be able to.  But every time I came to the end of the lane and glanced at the clock, there he was.
How bout now?

I swam another 5 minutes and glanced at the clock.  I mentally adjusted my idea of a great swim to OK, 40 minutes.  Forty minutes is good.  Because every time I finish a lap, I see this:
Are you seriously going to just swim all day?
I shouldn't feel bad, but I do.  I made him wait a whole eight minutes so I could clock 40 for my workout, and I got out.

On the way out, I got to thinking.  Maybe if I'd had my SWIM CAP on, I'd have looked more like someone who he shouldn't have asked.  He didn't ask any of those Iron Man guys to share their lanes...

Next time I go, I'm going to be better prepared.  I'm driving over there in my bathing suit AND swim cap.  Possibly barefoot too.  

Even still.  It felt great, and I'm inspired to go there more often, even if I do have to work on being more assertive, if I want to use anything more than the showers...

Ever cause yourself annoyance, or actually cut a work-out short, because you can't simply say "no" to someone?  Ever feel like you don't belong somewhere, even if you DO?


  1. I grin like a goon the whole time I'm reading your post...I thought you should know that.

    I would die. I don't share anything (especially girl scout cookies, but that's another story) I probably wouldn't have had the balls to tell him no, so for that, KUDOS. But what an effed up sitch at your gym, chica!! Suuuuucks.

    Also, I think swimming is amazing. I would do it more if I'd go in public in a suit. Like, in my bizarro life, I would swim every day. But not this life. This life I can barely check my mail every day. I'm trrrrrrrrrying to exercise more. I'm just a lazy ass at heart. I do love hiking, jog/walking, and yoga. Anyway, I'm rambling. Great post. I really dig your writing style! xo

    1. I love that you grin like a goon. Because that's the goal...

      We have a gorgeous gym, but we could use about 3 of that facility to accommodate the population here. So, we wait in line everywhere, and we grouse about being Idaho NATIVES because NATIVES SHOULD GO FIRST!!

      I adore swimming, and I ride our spinning bike at home about 30-40 min a day, (which I hate, but--sweat's sweat, right?) I try not to worry about being in a 10-year-old faded bathing suit in public. Everyone in that pool is wearing (hopefully) fogged-up goggles too, anyway, lol. I'd swim if I could. If we ever win the lottery...the only way anyone will know it is because there will immediately be a GIANT INDOOR POOL HOUSE attached to our bedroom. Like, the next DAY. :D

  2. Also, did you know you have Captcha set for your comments? it's that thing where the commentor has to "prove they're human" and fill out the numbers for the comment to go through. I'm only asking cuz another blogger I knew didn't even realize it was set, and there are some readers that hate captcha so much they won't even comment if it's there. Just throwin' you out an FYI.

    1. Ahmigash! I just turned it off, had no idea it was there, OR that people hate it (I'm indifferent to that stuff), so--Thanks! I think it's funny for it to be there as a default, especially on *my* blog. I don't think I have the kind of, um, readership size to really warrant worrying about phishing yet. LOL

      K. It's safe now. Come baaaaaaaaaack, y'all.


  3. Ugh. I wrote a comment and my computer restarted before it published. *insert witty comment here* I'm sick, I can't do it again.

    1. Imagining it.

      Don't you hate that? I could fill a book with cool stuff I've written and accidentally deleted! Somehow I am always able to hit a magic combination of keys while typing, and I see the whole block of text highlighted, and then deleted, and there's no "undo" button. I'm like my OWN virus.

  4. I just happened upon your blog today and I am going to share this post with my friend Sarrah (not a typo). She had a funny and similar experience recently while at the gym doing rehab for her knee. A guy "bullied" her off of the leg extension machine for a friend of his (a girl who was too snotty and chicken to ask her to vacate herself) by setting his water bottle down next to the machine like he had dibs on a pool table. As a fitness professional I hate that kind of behavior at the gym. Your lane time is well deserved as your lane time. You are a paying member and you can use the facility as you deem fit (unless otherwise posted). This was a good laugh on a tough Friday night! Thank you and I look forward to following you more in the future!

    1. Glad I could help! Lol

      My daughter runs there, too, and she has that kind of stuff happen all the time with the treadmills. Not. cool.

      Welcome and--Thanks for sharing!

    2. PS. tell her she should have said "thanks" and taken a SIP of his water...

  5. This made me laugh! I try to go swimming at my gym -- but just about the time I get up the gumption, I realize that 1) I haven't shaved my legs for three days and 2) it's water aerobics day -- so the entire pool is filled with bobbing, semi-spry 90 year-olds.

    1. Haha! Right! We always have some class going on, so there's that booming music in the background...with the narrative: "and one and two and lonnnng strokes and three and four REALLY FEEL THIS ONE and five and six!"

  6. This is my first time here on your blog. I just left a comment on The Bloggess' most recent post, and you were one of the recent commenters before me. The title in the link to this post caught my eye, and I am glad that I decided to give it a read. This was a great post, and it totally made me laugh. I'm not a swimmer, but I could relate to the theme of bad timing and bad luck in this story. And good for you for staying in the pool for a few extra minutes even though that annoying guy was staring at you the whole time waiting for you to finish!

    1. Welcome! I was pretty proud of myself for staying in the pool. Like my own little strike against letting someone else decide what im doing...
      I should have told him: "Pack a lunch, I'm here for an hour, dude."

  7. I have three no answers ready to go, depending on the situation.

    1. "No thank you" said in the same tone/facial expression as though the person asked me if I wanted free girl scout cookies (I do, but I'm being good by saying no). This confuses people.

    2. "I'm almost finished" said with a single finger in the air. Works in a variety of situations, but isn't actually a yes or a no. Leaves people confused.

    3. "That's a good one." like the other person made a joke. This confuses them, and they think I'm slightly crazy.

    I have a problem saying no. I don't want to be impolite, even to people who are being super rude or selfish with me.

    1. Ahh. All good ones! You might be *me*, I think...

      I forgot about the single finger in the air. Love that one!!

      And--"No thank you" with the right tone/expression does work great as an answer to so many things!


  8. Going to the pool has been my saving grace for the last year, as back problems got worse, and I couldn't ride my bike or hike anymore. I finally had surgery and am looking forward to getting back in for some much needed cardio.

    Our community pool has several lanes that are 4'6", which are good for walking, jogging, dancing (I'm the only person who wears a radio in a plastic cover and tucks it in a headband and then dances in the pool) or swimming. It took a long time for me to figure out the best time to go to find a lane, and us regulars still have to share sometimes.

    My beef is with the people who don't know squat about pool etiquette, and they come into your lane without asking, bring their kids, or get in and don't use the lane for swimming or walking. I'm a tattletale and will go get the lifeguard in a heartbeat, because I'm also old and cranky.

    Go to management and ask for a solution- to reserve a lane or something. You deserve it.

    1. I miss the pool, haven't been there all summer, but YES about the people who just hop in. I had a girl do that last year, and I couldn't see her too well because my goggles aren't the best, and I didn't realize she'd gotten in without even motioning to me that she was going to, so I just SWAM RIGHT INTO HER.

      Hello. I didn't realize you were even here. Wow.

      If someone jumped in with their kids, I'd definitely say something because wth. People are amazing.