Sunday, October 27, 2013

I hate public pools

As part of my foot 'rehab' my only form of exercise at the moment is almost entirely limited to that which can be executed in a large body of water. I don't have a pool at home, or have access to an ocean, so I am forced to slum it at the local sports centre.

As if it's not bad enough I have to wear a ridiculous bright blue foam belt that makes me look like a giant she-child while "water-jogging" [read: doggie paddle and/or furiously thrash limbs in deep water]. Nope, nothing remotely dignified about it.  In fact, I could arrange my hair into a delightful french roll (no, that's not true, I can't actually do that, but I could pay someone to) while parading a string of pearls atop my rashie, and the only thing that could make that scene more graceful would be me submerging my entire body under the water, and never resurfacing again.

I didn't realise the intensity of my hatred for public swimming pools until just recently.  Of course, every time I walk through the doors, the heavy air hits my skin and that unmistakable scent of chlorine violates my nose. All those old anxieties and fears born of being a poor swimmer, turns me to my former eight year old self and I actually have to stop and think "no, it's ok, you're an adult now".  But even as an adult, pool-etiquette is fraught with potential anxiety.  There's the fight for space and small shreds of privacy, and then the fact that without lane ropes, people become savages.  Straight lines people - what have you got against swimming/walking/ogling in straight fucking lines?

really? what's the point here?

Poise is not easily achieved at 7am on a Sunday morning, especially after learning all the lanes are occupied, or empty but signposted "Closed to Public" and therefore off-limits.  Today I had to share the small heated pool with 'extremely hairy man', and his sidekick (who can only be distinguished from his 'friend' purely by the lack of excessive back hair).  I had applied my "fuck-off" face, because, I don't know, I just don't want to 'chat' when I'm trying to exercise; I don't feel like smiling politely that early in the morning, I don't even want to acknowledge that I'm really here, because in my mind, I am trying very hard to be far, far away.

For the second weekend in a row, I had a lifeguard do his best to casually approach me, before cutting straight to the hard hitting question...
lifeguard: excuse me - is that a-
me: NO, it's a rashie!
lifeguard: oh yeah.... cool
You can't get eye contact from them any other time.  No, God-forbid someone was actually drowning, they'd be too busy stalking someone they suspect is wearing street clothes in the pool. Dumb-asses.

Sure, they'll let hairy, sweaty, inconsiderate people in - but they'll shit their pants if you're found to be wearing 'street clothes'.  I tell you, they could do with letting some people wear ordinary shirts into the pool - I'm probably one of them, but 'extremely hairy man' is definitely a strong candidate.  I am thinking about getting some paint, or bleach and etching into the back of my rashie "yes, this is a rashie". Dumb-asses.

Mostly, on days like these, I hate public pools because it is so glaringly obvious that I have submerged my [clean] body into a large cocktail comprised of water, probably snot, definitely at least a little pee, almost certainly shit, without a doubt sweat, hair, dirt, chemicals and a band-aide - there is always one band-aide.

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