“You sure have Strong Legs!” Water Walking Weirdo gives me a strange sideways leer.
I’d seen him earlier when I’d been kicking back and forth back and forth back and forth in one of the lap lanes: so boring! But I’ve somehow mysteriously injured my arm and while the Nurse Practitioner, when she examined me and I winced, pronounced I had “Exquisite Pain”, she also told me that it would take several weeks to resolve. I was to rest it.
This meant, no swimming. Can you even imagine?
I’d been going crazy. But then I texted the Lovely I who’d suggested that there were other ways to be in the water: “You can kickboard. Or use the water belt. Or even water walk.”
Duh. None of these would be using my arm, so on this Sunday, here I was at the Oakland Y, fin kicking mightily with the kickboard, hoping WWW would leave before I switched from kickboard to walking.
He didn’t. Much to my dismay.
I’d observed his strangeness while I’d been kicking. He had a lopsided grin and seemed to be singing or talking to himself as he jumped and danced and lunged away in the water walking lane.
Oh, great, I’d thought to myself. A weirdo in the walking lane nice special for me.
Maybe he’ll get out.
But no, he was in for the entire afternoon, or so it would seem. So finally, exhausted from kicking (I think I actually did get a workout), I moseyed over to the walking lane and was greeted with the Strong Legs Proclamation.
“Well....I was using the fins,” I answered, trying to walk away from him, but in that water walking lane, you’re kinda trapped. Ian saw me from the deck and just shook his head. Why didn’t he get in with me? I wondered. Oh, I’m sure he thought I could handle myself.
“Do you go faster with fins?” WWW eyes me crazily, the strange toothless grin creeping me out but I needed to stay in the delicious water just a little while longer.
“Uh…yeah….” I answer, as he continues to walk parallel with me. A Swerving Asian Woman joins the lane, but isn’t walking, just swimming head out of the water breaststroke so we have to go around her every lap. “I usually swim,” I say, “but I hurt my arm.” I’m holding my little arm out of the water slightly in delicate anticipation of a mishap crash with Swerving Asian Woman.
“What did you do to your arm?” he asks.
“I have no clue. “
“Is it from swimming?”
“Maybe, I don’t know. All I know is that I need to rest it and so I’m just kicking and walking today. But it’s good to be in the water.”
Okay, I admit, I can’t help myself. I don’t have to engage, but when I’m in the pool, I just am so happy to be in the water, that I lose my usual wariness of weirdoes prevalent on land. Plus the water walking lane is more convivial that way, you know? Your head is out of the water and you can talk; whereas, when you’re swimming laps, this isn’t an option except for resting at the side of the pool, which I rarely do. So the water walking was a novelty this way. A social pool situation if you will. Even if the social situation is strange.
“I’m a Pisces,” he announces.
“Oh, me too!” Again, I know, I’m engaging. But it was a strange coincidence. Maybe WWW wasn’t so weird after all.
“When’s your birthday?” he asks.
“Mine is March 20th. Right at the end. And you’re right at the beginning.” He gives me another lopsided leer.
“Oh, thank you, thank you,” she smiles sweetly, circling around us as I lift my arm away from her.
“I learned lots of different moves for this walking lane. Some with the weights….” He chuckles. A crazy gleam to his eyes. “But that probably wouldn’t be good for you. But you can walk backwards….” He demonstrates and I follow suit, thinking maybe this way I won’t be facing him and thus won’t be as obligated to chat.
But then, lo and behold! I like it. Backwards is better! I can go faster; maybe I can break away from him….But no, he’s a water walking expert and is glued parallel to me. “I can’t walk too good on land,” he says sotto voice to me, and I wonder what the hell this means. I don’t see a wheelchair or cane on the deck. Maybe he just means he’s got a limp? Or he gets dizzy? Or one leg is weaker than the other? Or….I don’t ask for the details, but just nod, glad that it’s only my arm and not my legs that has the Exquisite Pain.
“Thank you, thank you…..” Swerving Asian Woman grins after us again.
“We gotta watch out for her,” he nods, beginning to flail his arms in spastic over the head circles.
I nod, thinking how I was starting to feel pretty darn tired.
Was it from the walking? The talking? The kicking?
Or just the energy it took to navigate a Weirdo Encounter in the pool?
Frankly, I think it was all of the above. I certainly hope my Exquisite Pain heals quickly. Cause even though my legs may be strong, my tolerance for water walking and all its eccentricities may be limited, exquisitely or not....