Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Paddle that Paddle Man




Pandemonium reigns at the YMCA now. It’s summer. Everyone wants to swim. Leaving PP to negotiate increasingly hazardous conditions.

Take today for instance. Sure when she got there, at 2:15 in the afternoon, the pool was relatively calm though a swim lesson was being given in the lane next to hers that was not on the schedule. (She’d asked the beautiful Tibetan Woman for a Summer Pool schedule on their way in, reading it aloud to Dashingly Handsome Boyfriend as they proceeded down the stairs.)

“See…between 2 and 3 p.m there’s supposed to be 7 lanes available. Before that there’s only 5 and after that there’s only 3, so it’s a narrow window of swimming opportunity.”
DHBF nods. He doesn’t really care. Or maybe he does. PP has to be careful what she writes about him. He can be prickly when she makes certain assumptions.

But with swimming it’s all about her, so if she assumes wrongly about him, it doesn’t really matter.

In any case, today, when she finished her wimpy workout upstairs on the Torture Machines and treadmill, it was 2:15 and the “Slow” lane was completely open. Now, PP knows this is iffy. If she starts here, some real “Slow” swimmers will appear and then she’s in trouble.

Of course this is exactly what happened. 20 minutes later one smiling Asian Woman in a Brown Baggy Suit asked if she could split the lane. Not in so many words. It was more an asking pantomime. Jumping in. Standing at the wall. Motioning with her hands to point down the right side of the narrow lane. PP nodded, “Sure, ok.” And it was. Ok. With just the two of them.

But then, all Hell broke loose. Hemophiliac Swimmer claimed the lane next to hers once the swim lesson was over. Then another baggy suited Asian Woman tried to swim with him, but no, the lifeguards directed her to PP’s lane and asked her to do the dreaded circle swim.

Okay, PP could try this, but with two super slow spastic backswimmers to dodge, she finally gave up. Spied a lane over at the other side of the pool with only one swimmer and decided to move there. Seemed like a good idea until ……

Alas. This one swimmer was Paddle Man. Ugh. She really hates Paddle Man. He’s so dangerous. PP thinks that paddles should be prohibited in the Y pool cuz the lanes are so narrow and the paddles are so lethal. Especially in Paddle Man’s hands.







So, she watched, perched on the edge of the deck for a moment as he slammed the big yellow plastic paddles on the water, taking up the entire lane, making it impossible for anyone to share. He came to the wall, turned, should have acknowledged her, but didn’t. Just kept swimming. Now PP will admit that she does the same thing sometimes, but only when she knows there are other lanes to partake of. Today, PM had the only lane that had only one person in it.

And he was being a Paddle Pig!

Throwing up her hands in disgusted dismay, PM made a display of anguished frustration. And a Lifeguard actually came over to her! She was completely astounded by this. Not that the lifeguard did anything to get PM to be more swimmingly civilized, but at least he spoke to PP about the situation.

“Just get in and swim on the right side here,” the lifeguard motioned, his big beefy dark eyes lit with understanding.
“But I don’t know if he saw me,” PP whined.
“Oh, I’m pretty sure he saw you,” he nodded. “He’s just being a Jerk. He’s always like that!” The Lifeguard shook his head in futility.

PP laughed. “Oh, so it’s not me?”
“No way. It’s not you.”
“Well, that’s a relief.”
“Yeah, just signal when he gets to the other side and let him know you’re getting in. He’ll see you.”

PP nodded, dubious. She didn’t really want to swim with Paddle Man. But it was nice to know that someone agreed with what she’s always thought. Paddle Man is a Menace. And, true to form, he was being a Jerk. And the paddles were scary. Big, plastic hard triangles on the end of each hand. His arms flailing out to the center of his body and not in front like a normal swimming stroke.

PP was afraid that he would slice off her forehead with one of his goddamn paddles!

But hell, she needed to finish her swim and as you all know, anything for a swim.
So in she went. And yes, PM did pause for a moment at the far end of the pool when she signaled. And he did kinda stay to one side. But barely. He was a little too close for PP’s comfort, so she got out after only 10 minutes or so.

Swimming wasn’t worth losing one’s skin over. Well, at least not today.

What to do if the situation arises again with Paddle Man? Should PP go get her own set of paddles and duel it out?

Somehow this seems like not such a good idea. Paddle Man is crazed. She knows this not just cuz of the paddles, but also cuz of the way that he wears his yucky green swim trunks hiked up above his waist, and pulls his blue swim cap too far over his eyebrows and…..well, you get the picture.

He’s a weirdo. And PP knows better than to tangle with any weirdoes. Even if she is a better swimmer!

1 comment:

J said...

Aren't the signs of 'weirdness' in others interesting and perplexing? I'm sure that there are others who think this very same thing when they see me in my swim trunks with paddles. Yes, the trunks themselves have built-in paddles!