Going to the swimming pool and clocking up a few laps is taking on a whole new complexion lately. The average suburban swimming pool is divided into different lanes: fast, medium, slow and splash lane – for fun swimming, but by the looks of it most of the fun went down the drain some time ago. The fast lane are swimming as though every lap contributes to their mortgage, they make no eye contact and I’ve never seen them actually get out of the pool.
The medium lane – this is where the rot starts. Because there’s a lot of medium slow people in this lane, but with fast egos. Some mediums should be in slow. But the problem is there no Harry Potter like hat sorter to tell us which lane to go in, it’s not a meritocracy, it’s a self-regulated system. And self-regulation, mmm, we only have to look at the global financial crisis to know how well that works.
This really buggers up the system, because true medium swimmers don’t want to share the lane with some upstart slowbie in the wrong lane so they hop in the slow lane. This is my home lane and I really hate sharing it with people who can actually swim. So … I get to go in the splash lane dodging divebombing kids and geriatric weebags.
Then there’s the props. Some people go swimming in outfits that make them look like a seal with a chin, all head to toe shining grey lycra. others have slippers to make them more menacing to other sea life. I have a garden variety kickboard, but some people bring a noodle and perform activities walking with it that quite possibly could be illegal in several American states. But the people I really hate are rampant splashers. Even if they are not in your lane, you can hear them coming, sounding like an outboard motor and creating tidal waves as they freestyle past. They bring out the worst in me and I kick extra hard when I hear them coming in an uber passive aggressive punishment measure.
The public suburban pool makes me realise why so many people have their own pools and are happy to put up with cleaning filling and throwing chemicals around just to avoid the lap swimming nightmare. No where else is ego, passive aggressive pique, budgie smugglers and eccentric sports equipment on display. And maybe that’s why I keep going back – you can’t find this kind of pageantry elsewhere.