I am full of sadness and rage today. I am going to channel my rage into bitching about people in gyms.
I went to the gym today for the first time in a while. It’s good for working emotional turmoil out of my system. I’ve been entirely too slothful for the last two months. I swam. I tried to make that a good experience. It wasn’t, because other swimmers have got no manners.
If you’ve spent any time in lap pools in your life, you will recognize the accepted etiquette:
When two people share a lane, they each swim on either side of said lane at their own pace.
When a third (fourth, fifth, tenth) person needs to use the lane (the pool was exceptionally full today), they choose a lane that suits their own speed of swimming the best, and they ask the two people already in the lane if they may join and proceed in circles – true laps, going counter-clockwise.
This is done by lowering your arm in the water when the person on the left nears the end of the pool to get their attention, and asking if they mind swimming in laps. I’ve never seen anyone refuse – until today.
When the woman on the left in the lane I picked agreed to swim laps, we had to wait for the guy on the right to be apprised of this. He stopped, we told him, and he said “no” and swam away! It’s international etiquette, for fuck’ sake! And you can't just force the lap, because it will cause an accident.
So they stayed alone in their lane, and I joined three other women in another lane. The last lane had 5 men at this point. Another guy came in and waited a long time to join the empty lane, and was greeted by the same refusal from the asshole. It was kind of insane. But we were making it work, the four women, we all had a similar stroke, and were generally courteous.
For the first 400 yds or so.
Rule number two of lap swimming – keep your pace similar to others in your lane, and allow for even spacing. With four people, there should be one person turning at each end, when two people are roughly at 12 yds. If you are too slow, you wait at the end to let a faster swimmer pass. If you are too fast, you slow down until you can pass at the end.
NONE of this was happening. There was one woman who kept barreling through, almost running into two other women multiple times. There was the second woman who swam excruciatingly slowly, and never stopped to let others pass. I kept trying to keep my distance, but inevitably kept running into the slow woman.
The speed demon finally had enough, and left. The lane got a bit easier, but we still had three people swimming in the same direction, as if we were connected by a rope.
To add insult to injury of this annoying swim, when I got out of the pool, I found that someone had taken my towel. It’s not mine, it’s the gym’s, but that meant I had to shlep through the locker room out to the towel shelves on the main floor to get a new one.
Read tomorrow: creepy people in gyms.