Treading Water

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With my new-found commitment to exercising pretty much daily, I spend a lot of time running outside.

It really is a thousand times better than the severe boredom of running on the treadmill even if the new fashion trend at the gym is yoga pants so tight that a vagina looks like a McDonald’s cheeseburger on its side.

So when the weather is bad and the monotony of the cheeseburger watching starts to get to me, I take up the old past time. Swimming.

Remember as a kid how you could swim for what felt like hours, get out, suck down a sand coated piece of watermelon and keep going? Turns out that sort of energy fades as an adult.

So the answer to that is organized swimming lanes clearly marked like traffic lanes on the highway and God forbid you are swimming in the wrong lane.

There’s the Fast Lane.  This is for your serious swimmers. Competitive. Ruthless. They know how to do those somersault flip turns and wear Speedos that highlight how hairy their inner thighs are.

The ‘Medium speed swimming’ Lane. This lane is mostly full of ‘Fast lane’ rejects because everyone thinks they’re fast. They usually are for about the first lap and a half then tire out.

But these disqualified fakers got embarrassed out of the Fast lane by the really fast swimmers continually passing them.

The fast swimmers love this. They don’t actually say it but you know their thinking it…

“Lapped you again, fatty”

Now if a Medium swimmer doesn’t get the message and change lanes , they’re in for that special visit from the Lifeguard – the ultimate pool embarrassment.

Having been identified as too slow for the lane the authorities have now arrived because of the noisy environment the Lifeguard has to shout and everyone can hear….

“Sir, this is for advanced swimmers only! Please join the other Orcas in the Slow Lane”

“What?” they say, pretending not to hear.

“The Fast lane! You need to move over with these swimmers!”, the Lifeguard bellows, pointing at the slower swimmers of the Medium speed lane. Michael Phelps’ clones continue to rush by, doing those flip turns.

Humiliated the demoted swimmer slips under the lane rope, back to their own people,…..the medium… the mediocre…..the un-Speedoed.

Finally, there is the slow lane.

Usually renamed with something like “Leisure Lane” because it wouldn’t be nice to call someone slow.

These swimmers don’t put their heads in the water. They paddle their merry way along, usually in the standing position, some have that neon pool noodle wrapped around them or a floatation belt that lets them appear to be doing it on their own but much like a push up bra you know those things aren’t floating up that high on their own.

Every ounce of energy used to keep that head above water and after 5 minutes and no forward movement, they’ll reach over and start pulling themselves along with that lane rope. Back on sturdy ground, they go back to what they know….the Therapy pool.

Easily the most popular destination in any gym, it’s a haven of warmer than normal water designed to ease strained muscles and relax the mind and yet it constantly is full of elderly women with their asses pressed directly over the jets of the heated water pretending we have no idea they are doing it and diapered children trying valiantly to hold in the poop they told their parents they had to take a half an hour ago before their Soccer Mom parked her ass down beside the other iphone wielding debutants all looking to “Lol” at the text they just got from the boyfriend their husbands don’t know about.

Peeing in the Therapy pool is popular as well. Statistics say 70% of swimmers admit to peeing in the pool.

With these kinds of numbers supporting peeing in the pool, why continue ignoring the issue, instead we should embrace it.

Now a days, with all these water park features… Surf riders, slides, lazy rivers and wave pools, maybe we could invent toilet pools.

Toilet Pools, a new exciting experience for swimmers, while they relieve themselves. With that new pee sensing agent changing the color of the pool, It would have a realistic ‘Toilet Blue’ color.

Every few minutes the Lifeguard could reach up and pull this giant chain, starting the whole pool swirling round like a whirlpool to simulate the adventure of being flushed down a toilet. Forcing the young and old a like to swim as fast as they can against the on rushing swirls and suction out a tube in the bottom of the pool, through a drying tunnel and depositing them into the gym.

Directly onto a treadmill.

 

The Out of Synch Story

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The acrid tang of chlorine touched the back of my throat as I walked the humid hallway between the change room and the pool doors. As part of the Cross Fit program, we had to take part in a deep water fitness class. My fear of dancing was lifting with every step I took as I exited the change room in a whoosh of stagnant chemicals. I breathed deeply before rubbing my hands together at the thought of normally yoga clad bottoms floating around in bathing suit bottoms not big enough to keep bikini stubble dry. At least for one class I would be able to keep up with the movements and when I couldn’t I would just hide under the water and pretend I was doing something other than making the air fart out of my inflated pockets.

I saw only one person from class standing beside the pool as I made my way toward the deeper water. She was clad in a swimmers suit which while clingy was far too covering for what my brain had imagined would be a ring of synchronized camel toes rising out of the water to Madonna’s “Celebrate” with me in the middle spinning lazy circles. She had a bemused look on her face as she looked at the group already paddling around. She turned and arched an eyebrow at me and I gave her a half-smile before I turned my gaze to see where she had been looking.

There were at least a dozen women already in the pool. I think the youngest of them was in the neighborhood of sixty. There was more wrinkled white skin than the giant vat of Wonton soup at a Chinese buffet. My brain immediately went to the assumption that their class was finishing up and they would be getting out of the water. They were laughing and joking in that way women do when they have seen each other naked one too many times.

I saw the young aquatics instructor wheeling a speaker towards the pool and for one gleeful second I thought she planned on dumping the electric monstrosity into the pool to cook the entire floating mass like some geriatric bouillabaisse.

” Okay, who do I have from Cross Fit?,” she asked and the few of us brave enough to actually show up raised our hands.

“Well don’t be shy,” she laughed ” Join the class.”

I felt a nameless dread. Well, there probably is a long German name for it, like Geschpooklichkeit or something, but I don’t speak German. Anyway, it’s a dread that nobody knows the name for, like those little square plastic gizmos that close your bread bags. I don’t know the name for those either. I heard a splash and saw Dave the Ginger bobbing along beside the Menopause Mafia. There was no way I was going to be upstaged at this point so I cringingly slipped into the water. I swam out to the deepest point and stayed afloat as the music from “Sweatin to the Oldies” started.

I could feel the eyes of the women flicking over to me as I tried to keep pace. Treading water while doing spirit fingers above your head might seem easy but I assure you it isn’t. I began to tire fairly quickly and looked at the clock. Twenty minutes of an hour class had passed. I knew at that exact moment I was going to likely drown and be resuscitated by the Little Mermaid’s grandmother. I began to cheat my way over to the shallower water and sighed a little as I felt my toes touch the bottom of the slope.

” Okay, lets lay on our backs,” I heard the instructor call out and I flipped belly up. I was grateful for the rest as the last series of exercises had been rough. I stared at the ceiling as the next set of instructions were called out. I wasn’t completely sure what I was doing so I lifted my head out of the water to see pasty white flesh rising in unison. I came to a couple of shocking revelations at that moment.

First, I saw the reason why I was nearly drowning and no one else was even losing their breath was the simple fact they were all wearing flotation belts so they didn’t sink to the bottom.

Second, when women raise their legs out of the water when they are laying on their backs a bathing suit bottom doesn’t necessarily cover all of their bottoms. Or their fronts. Or anything in between.

I inhaled sharply and sucked in a huge lungful of water. I coughed harder than a sleeping dog farts trying to expel the liquid and nearly choked myself faint in the process. The instructor blew her whistle once and I saw life guards that I have underwear older than walking towards me. I waved them off and swam slowly over to the edge of the pool. I pulled myself up on the ledge and took a couple ragged breaths.

“You okay,” the instructor asked as she knelt down beside me. Every eye in the entire pool area seemed to be trained on me and every ear listening to my wet coughs.

“I think so,” I answered as I felt tears roll down my cheek ” It’s just the chlorine in the pool.”

I kept repeating “It was just the chlorine, It was just the chlorine” the entire drive home.