THE POOL IS SO POLITICAL
“It used to be that you had to be able to swim 20 laps in order to be allowed in the lap lanes.”
Super Swimmer 8:30 Man shakes his head, then grins. “I remember when I used to bring my son here.....they wouldn’t let him in the lap lanes cuz he couldn’t swim the 20 laps. Later, of course,” he chuckles, “he could out swim me....”
PP nods, intently interested, “That’s very interesting. Evidently, that rule no longer applies.”
She’d been telling him about her unbelievably hellacious experience earlier that evening. How’d she’d arrived and all the lap lanes were full. Not with lap swimmers, but goddamn rec swimmers lolling about. Floating on kick-boards. Flailing with bar bells. Giving swim lessons.
“I’m just giving her a swim lesson,” one self-righteous Pool Cow had harrumphed at PP when PP had tried to explain to her that in order to be in the lap lanes, she and her two friends needed to swim laps, translation, up and down and up and down and up and down the lane without stopping. Hence the name, “Lap Lanes.” PP hadn’t included this last snide obviousness, but it had been on the tip of her tongue.
PP had actually had to stop in the middle of the lane; she couldn’t swim any farther cuz the ‘swim lesson’ was blocking the lane. Signaled dramatically to the lifeguard. Who completely ignored her.
Fortunately, another Lifeguard was on it. Nodded to her, “I’ll just try to get them all in the same lane.”
Yes, the swim lesson group was taking up 2 of the 3 lanes. He asked them to move. They ignored him. “Hablo Espanol?” he tried.
“Hey! I speak English!” Swim Instructor Cow hollered back at him. “I was born in this country.”
Shit, PP thinks, now it’s become a political matter to get the stupid cows to move outta the lap lanes.
PP tried to talk to one of the swim ‘students’. “You need to move out of this lane,” she insisted. Swim Student looked right through her. Maybe she wasn’t born in this country? Maybe she didn’t speak English?
Maybe PP was gonna slap her if she didn’t get out of the lap lane pronto!
Fortunately, Native English Speaker Teacher finally did. Lumbering slowly under the lane line and into the next lane with the Teacher.
Relieved, PP started to swim down the lane and then back again. A Real Swimmer asks if he can share her lane. “Sure,” she nods, actually relieved to share a lane with someone that knows how to swim laps.
She swims a few hundred yards, thinking the worst is over. Till, damn. Two Lolling Girls on kick-boards had now entered her lane and were floating right in front of her. PP almost considers running into them, but thinks better of it. She’s into confrontation at this point, but not of the physical nature.
“Excuse me,” she seethes, “You need to swim laps here.”
One of the Kick-board Girls gives her a look like PP is a piece of cat shit floating in the pool. “I AM swimming laps,” she stares into PP, daring her to contradict her.
“The hell you are,” she shouts.
Kick-board Girl shrugs and starts to float down the lane in front of PP, blocking her swim completely.
Damn. What the hell was she gonna do?
She waves at the Lifeguard now.
He completely ignores her.
She stands in the middle of the pool, slapping the water in frustration, seething at the injustice of it all.
She is invisible.
Why the hell do they even have lap lanes if the lifeguards aren’t going to enforce the practice of swimming laps in them?
Miraculously, the lane next to PP empties out. She pops under the lane line and starts swimming furiously, leaving Kick-board Bitch to float along, swimming ‘laps.”
Later, when PP tells Super Swimmer 8:30 Man about all of this and he tells her about the 20 lap rule, she can’t believe that she even got a swim in.
When she tells him about how the Lifeguard was completely unresponsive to the point of ignoring her pleas, SS 8:30 grins broadly when she pointed out the guard. “Oh, that guy? He’s a Chicken.”
PP laughs. Yup, this is so true. He is a ‘Chicken.”
And when she’d told him about the bitches on the kick-boards, he nods, “They give you Attitude, right?”
“Yeah, I’ve had that happen to me too.”
This made PP feel a little better. Sometimes she thinks she gets treated the way she does because she’s a petite middle-aged white woman: Attitude Girls can have their way with her. Not that it was OK for them to give SS 8:30 Man Attitude too. It was just somehow reassuring that it wasn’t just her. They behaved like they owned the pool with everyone, middle aged white women, fit Asian Men, Goddamn Chicken Lifeguards.
It was an equal opportunity Attitude Blanket in the pool at Hilltopia.
At least PP got a swim in. This night. Tuesday.
Friday, was another story.....