Thursday, March 31, 2011

Never Swim Alone

I’m quite sure that the four people that are long suffering enough to follow this blog are simply dying to know how my escapades at the gym are progressing. Did I stick with the spin class? Will they see me in the Olympics for racquetball in the near future? Was I ever able to do more than four minutes of swimming without a need for a respirator?

The answer to the first two questions is no and not hardly. But (drum roll), I am pleased to inform you that I have stayed with swimming for about nine months now. Not every day, but often enough that I have managed to become one of the morning “regulars” in the pool.

There are a good group of “regulars” at the pool. In fact, the big lie I was told when I joined this gym is that it isn’t difficult to get a lane if you come before 7:00. Fortunately, the “regulars” look out for each other and we try to make it work.

Let me introduce you to a few of my new swimming friends:

Five O’Clock Rock

He earned that name by being at the pool every single morning of his life at 5:00. Rain, sleet, snow, or hurricane, at 5:00 he will be in the pool. He will swim for an hour. Exactly. Then he will grab his stuff and head for one of the shower/changing rooms off to the side. Thirty minutes later, he will emerge wearing a white shirt, black shorts and flip flops. Rain, sleet, snow, or hurricane, he will be wearing that white tee shirt and a pair of short shorts. The only variation is that if it’s below freezing, he will add a little black jacket to his attire.

What I want to know is not how he manages to live his life in such perfect order. What I want to know is what in the world a man does in the bathroom for 30 minutes when he is bald as a door knob and he only comes out in shorts and flip flops. Must be that he joined the gym because his hot water heater at home couldn’t support a full thirty minutes.

Monk in Trunks

This gentleman isn’t quite so regular as Five O’Clock Rock. He probably doesn’t have time because he is busy traveling the world. If you google “Buddhist monk” you will see his picture. Yep, that’s him. Only, in the picture you see, he will probably be wearing an orange drape. I would prefer to see him in the orange drape.

The Man in the Yellow Shorts

If you’ve ever wondered if The Man in the Yellow Hat ever takes his hat off, the answer is yes. But when he does, he puts his long, lean body in a pair of yellow shorts. He is a very good swimmer. He is also a very nice man. He invited me to church with him. I refrained from asking if George would be coming along although I was curious.

Synchronized Swimmers

Also known as the “swimming supermen”…these men always swim in tandem. They come with all kinds of gear like I never knew existed for swimming. Fins and gloves and weights and things I don’t even know how to describe. They bring a typed up list of everything they’re going to do and they do it. They swim together the whole time, same strokes, same speeds, same gear. I think Pete and Re-Pete taught Michael Phelps how to swim. Or maybe they are still teaching him…They are good.

The Treasure Seeker

He wears a full snorkel and fins and he goes back and forth inspecting the bottom of the pool. Either someone told him the gym was built on top of an ancient Indian burial ground and he is looking for artifacts, or else he lost something once upon a time and he is still trying to find it.

Underwater Zoo

So far all of my subjects have been men…now is time to rat on the women. They get together for water aerobics every morning. Picture seven women over seventy in swim suits. Enough said.

And then there’s me

So…now that I’ve poked fun at my swimming friends, it is only fair play to wonder what they would say about me if they were writing this. Perhaps they would call me “turtle.” There is a reason why they call the stroke I do the “crawl.” If I were any slower, I’d just sink to the bottom. I can swim a long time, but I am slower than molasses.

Or maybe they would poke fun at me for the way I leave a trail of stuff behind me. It seems like I’m always trying to get out of there dragging wet stuff, dry stuff, hangars, clothes, flip flops…it isn’t easy to figure out everything you’re going to need for a work day and pack it before your brain has finished booting in the morning. And it’s even more difficult to get it all out with you when you leave. Forget renting a locker, I need to rent a whole room. I wonder how many bottles of shampoo, hair bands, flip flops, and goggles I have donated to Goodwill via the lost and found. I at least want a tax receipt.

Or maybe they’d call me “White Eyes.” You see, the really cool swimmers have the mirrored, fogless goggles. I am not one of the really cool swimmers. I had a pair of expensive goggles, and I lost them. But I can keep track of cheap goggles just fine. The downside is that I am always looking at the black stripe at the bottom of the pool through a white haze. They say that you spit in your goggles to keep them from fogging. I have tried that. And frankly, I found out why “spit in the eye” is a derogatory phrase. It doesn’t feel very nice.
Apparently, however, despite the haze, I can see something, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this blog. And fortunately, I can hear well enough that I can look in the general direction of whomever may be speaking to me; I just nod and smile. Besides, it’s all part of the disguise. I wouldn’t want anyone to actually know who I was or I wouldn’t be able to post this.

I guess if I get to the pool in the morning and one of the other swimmers calls me White Eyes, then I’ll know my disguise has been found out. And I will look their general direction through my white haze and just nod and smile. And maybe, just maybe, that would mean that there are more than four people who are reading my blog.