It's a curious crowd at the pool at 6am. I don't know if it's the hour, or the kind of character (or lack of sanity and good sense) that brings one out of their warm soft bed to throw themselves into a chilly tank of water and flail your arms and legs hard enough that you start to sweat in the water. One thing's for certain- there are regulars here. Let me tell you a bit about them:
- Lane One- tall, lanky bald gentleman. Retired VIP with the college. Does an interesting mix of one lap crawl, then this odd double-armed backstroke back. Sort of a two-armed Pete Townshend windmill stroke.
- Lane Two- me. Until recently when it had to be retired due to sagging-ass issues, in my Wondrous Woman suit. And goggles that leave me looking like someone hammered shot glasses
- Lane Three- This woman is intimidating. She is here EVERY SINGLE DAY. I am not kidding. During the school year, I'd occasionally change my schedule around and swim on a Tuesday or Thursday instead of MWF. She'd be there. I'd switch it up and get my laps in on a Saturday. She was there. Beyond the disconcerting idea that maybe she's some kind of pool ghost that haunts the middle lane, that is some goddamned dedication. She swims exactly the same workout at exactly the same time, every single day the pool is open. I can tell what time it is by where she is in her workout. In spite of the fact that we have encountered each other in this environment for the past three years, we never speak. It's an unwritten rule of respect- we will not waste each other's time with the frivolity of chat. She does not suffer fools gladly.
- Lane Four- Creepy couple. This middle-aged pair is a recent addition to morning swim. When I first encountered them, they were making out like bandits outside the women's locker room. At 5:55am. On a Friday. I can't even look people in the eye at this hour. I actually had to tap the woman on the shoulder in order to get past her to go in and change. And then, curiously, as I was standing at the sink getting my swim cap on, I saw through the mirror the woman come in, strip down to just her hoodie
- Lane Five- As of the past couple of weeks, Lane Five has been dominated by a woman who seems to have a Single White Female thing for Lane Three woman. She also wears these paddle-type devices on her hands, and goggles yet no swim cap. (Although Lane Five does a very leisurely crawl stroke, while Lane Three, to my befuddlement, swims a very vertical breaststroke with the paddles on her hands.) Lane Five also times her workouts to Lane Three, abruptly leaving the pool when she sees Lane Three get out. She has often tried to engage Lane Three in conversation in the locker room, but Lane Three, while polite, quite firmly discourages this. As I've said before, Lane Three does not have time for meaningless chitchat. It's Business Time for Lane Three woman.
- Lanes Six-Exceptionally hairy dude in a Speedo who likes to dolphin-kick a lot and uses a snorkel. One day I was swimming in Lane Five and when I reached the wall at the end of a set, I looked up to him sitting nearly spread-eagled on the deck, his crotch directly above my head, adjusting his snorkel's headgear. It was enough to make my bypass my rest period and dive back underwater.
- Lanes 7-9 tend to be the pros, the off-season swim team members or masters swimmers, sometimes two to a lane, which is nice of them to leave the entire lanes for the rest of us weirdos.
You may think that perhaps I'm not paying enough attention to my own workout if I'm noticing all this
For more about why I'm doing Women Swimmin', visit this post from a few years ago. And if you're feeling generous, you can support my swim by going here. In addition to making my morning encounters worthwhile, your gift will be used to provide items such as medications, oxygen & medical equipment, as well as emotional, psychological, social & spiritual support to patients, families and friends facing the hard issues of mortality and loss. Hospicare's services are available to everyone in the community regardless of their ability to pay. So in addition to enabling my chlorine habit, you'll be doing a good, good thing. Thank you.