every day in may (a rant)

first, a story.

the pool day.
oh! what a day, i thought to myself, you just couldn’t align it any better. my lunch break began and i couldn’t think of a better idea than go for a nice swim. it was beautiful.. warm, sunny, the water just the perfect cool temperature! what’s that i see as i walk towards the pool at my gym—an open space in the lap swimming lanes. open!! what a marvelous opportunity that has befallen me!

i tie up my hair with incredible excitement as i hurriedly whip off my sweats, kick my flip flops under the bench and zip up my bag swim bag. slapping on my pink goggles, i notice a buzz about the deck of the pool, not the typical sunday afternoon crowd, which is a laid-back, share workout tips and giggle together (my usual experience).

today was different. and i was certain my feeling was correct as soon as i spoke with my lane companion. i walked over to greet her. hi there, i say, do you mind if i share the lane with you, my smile is nearly brimming over—after all, it’s the perfect day for a swim!

the acknowledgement.
time for the acknowledgement. what’s this, you ask? well, it’s the thing to do in any lap swimming circumstance. there’s laws in the swimming community about this stuff, you know..one that goes a little something like this:

‘if any person shall require or hope to share a lane with another person, it is an unspoken maxim that he/she who is second to the lane shall acknowledge in some way/form that there is sharing is about to occur.’

possible methods of acknowledgement.
option one: the head nod. acknowledgement by a head-nod is one method.. to which i usually smile and nod; the swimmer that employs this method is a no-bones about them sort of swimmer, i get that. no small talk here and that’s plenty fine.
option two: the question. the other possible method is acknowledgement by way of rhetorical question. ‘do you mind if i share this lane with you?’ is a surefire winner, but with a smile, the ‘can i split the lane with you?’ is equally appropriate. i prefer the question method. these questions are polite but the answer is not to be tampered with. if the pool is full, the answer is firm. you will share. you mustn’t mess with this my friends, this indeed is the way it must happen.

my treasured lifeguarding days where i made people share lanes and be nice!

the lady who messed with the answer.
as i was saying, there was an awkward pause… followed by more awkward pausing. with the most sour of sour expressions, my lane companion replied …i guess i don’t have a choice. hmm alrighty i say kind of shocked, glancing to make sure i hadn’t missed a wide open lane, my last ditch effort to see if there’s somebody—anyyyybody—else to swim with. but no. no chance. i hop in and brush it off.

as i get moving and come down the right side of the lane, my new friend is performing backstroke down the center, causing me to cozy up against the wall scraping my arm! but i continue on, because really—that sort of thing just happens. but then! a few minutes later, i make a turn at the wall (not a flip) and notice an intense scowl firing my way. and later, as we pass again, she’s on a kickboard and she’s dogging me!! i finished up my swim after about thirty more minutes of side eyes from her and hop out. she gets out shortly after and rolls her eyes at me when i sneeze

i smile even bigger this time.. she didn’t notice.

conclusion: be nice!!!!
to all the ladies doing laps at the local gym, let’s all learn a little poolside politeness and we’ll all get along much better. and to all the other people of the land who are prone to dogging people, let’s all give it a nice healthy try and be nice! i promise i’ll try, too 🙂

6 thoughts on “every day in may (a rant)

  1. Oh I so identify with this – I have such issues with swimming pool etiquette – there are rules people, some of which are unwritten and just normal social niceties (which some people seem to lack, clearly). Love your writing, always a pleasure to read your posts. Jennifer xx


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