When I took up swimming about two years ago, my friend Rob warned me: some of the weirdest people you’ll ever meet hang out at the pool. I laughed it off, thinking: the weirdos, man, they are everywhere. I mean, I was a member of a 24-hour gym for three years; a gym in my, let’s say, challenging neighbourhood. A gym facing a police station. A gym frequented by exotic dancers, bodybuilders and biker gang members. So I scoffed a little at Rob’s warning (might as well come out and say it) and signed up with a private trainer to learn to swim. And was I ever wrong to scoff.
The weirdest people you’ll ever meet, you will meet at the pool.
There are the obvious weirdos: the ones who rush to take the shower stall you were walking towards even though there are a number of free stalls; the ones who insist on taking the locker right next to yours even though (again) there are tons of free lockers in the locker room. But those weirdos, you meet them at any good gym. The pool weirdos are in a category of their own.
And here is my Top 5.
The even-though-you’ve-been-swimming-in-this-lane-for-15-minutes-I-will-now-take-over-it-and-leave-you-no-choice-but-to-move-to-another-lane weirdo: Self-explanatory, really.
The I-make-my-own-rules weirdo: As the Olympic pool where I normally swim is closed for repairs; I’ve been swimming at the YMCA. The 25-meter pool is pretty much your standard half-half pool with a shallow and deep end. There’s this one lady who doesn’t swim the full lap because she refuses to swim in the shallow end and thus rotates only in the deep end. Tricky when a bunch of swimmers are trying to do full rotations.
The snorkelling pervert: I met this little gem back in December. He was swimming seemingly quietly in the slow lane along the buoy line. I noticed him throwing looks at my trainer and me but was mostly focussed on listening to her instructions before doing more laps. It turns out Mr. Snorkel was ogling me (and when I say me, I mean my boobs) under the water. The pool has this great advantage though: under the water, no-one can hear you scream. And no-one can see you signal… except whoever you signal to. My trainer was very efficient at letting the pervert know “dude, we can see you”.
The I’m-a-much-faster-swimmer-than-you athlete: First of all: yep, you’re faster. Second of all: Who cares? I’m swimming in the medium speed lane here. If you think I’m too slow, move over to the fast lane, mmk?
The older-lady-who-insists-on-chatting-your-ear-off-while-you-try-to-shower-and/or-change: I’m not someone who can carry on conversations stark naked in front of strangers. Call me odd, if you will, but I’m borderline prudish. I believe in taking a quick shower in a closed stall and then getting dressed quickly. So no, lady, I am not here to have a long chat with you about the weather with a boob hanging out. That’s just not how I roll.