Saturday, September 01, 2007

Squeaky Wheels

Okay, this is a little funny. I just had to share the email I just sent off to our town's Recreation Director about an incident that occurred twice in the last two weeks.

_____________

Hello!

I am a city resident, and let me first say how lucky we are to have such a wonderful pool to swim at all summer! I only wish it was here when I was growing up in this city. I am 9 months pregnant and can't wait to take the baby there next year.

I have a question about the lap lanes. I LOVE that there are permanent lap lanes to swim in all day--thank you so much! As an endurance athlete, it's great to know I can hop in anytime and get a workout in. Even this summer, as I've gotten bigger and bigger, swimming has been my solace. I have been swimming up there 2-3 times a week and love it. However, last week and this week there was a little minor confrontation that I had never heard of nor experienced before all summer, so I wanted to make sure I had my facts straight, as well as make a suggestion to avoid any confrontations next year.

The 4th lap lane (closest to the actual pool where everyone is swimming--not the slides) has been open pretty much all summer. I have swam there several times. Last week there was a group of ladies there who would not let me swim in it. They said it was for "Senior Citizens only." I was puzzled, as I thought they were all for lap swimmers. These ladies were not swimming, but merely standing/bobbing around. Every once in a great while they'd move, but for the most part they just stood at the shallow end of the lane and chatted. Luckily, a nice lady in the lane next to her let me share. I didn't think too much of it. I asked the girl at the front desk on my way out if it was a senior only lane, and she said "no--unless they are doing laps they can't just stand there." She told me if it happened again to ask a guard to have them move.

The following day, I went to get in my (very slow!) mile swim, and there was one lady in the lane. The other lanes were all taken again with lap swimmers. This lady was just standing there, so I asked if I could share the lane. She said, sure! I hopped in and began my swim. I saw a few other ladies get in as I swam the first 6 laps. Then, a lady STOPPED me to tell me I couldn't swim there! I was puzzled again. They said it was for "seniors and the handicapped only." I told them that the pool staff had told me it was for lap swimming. We asked the guard above us, and he said, "No, that lane is for LAP SWIMMING." The ladies erupted in anger and said that they had talked to you, and you promised them that they would have this lane, and the guards would also allow this lane for them.

I said I'd be happy to move as soon as another lane opened up, but I really just needed to do my swim so I would be happy to share the lane with them. They wanted NOTHING to do with that. One suggested that I swim on the other side of the lane lines, in the actual swimming pool where all the kids were. I told her that I'm sorry, but I'm 9 months pregnant, and I'm not going to risk getting kicked in the belly.

Here's where it gets a little funny.

They immediately said, "Oh, you're pregnant? Then you can use this lane too!" The one ringleader of the ladies said, "We INVITED pregnant women and the handicapped and disabled to use our lane." But, they eyed my swim cap and goggles and said, "Well, can we ask how long will you be swimming here?"

I replied, "Probably another half an hour."

To which they all responded in unison, "Oh, no. That's way too long."

I resisted the urge to laugh really hard...it seems that if I were to act like a 9 month pregnant woman and bob like them, I'd be "allowed" to stay in their lane, but according to their arbitrary rules, I was just NOT acting like the pregnant women they "allowed" in their lane. It was almost too funny.

Luckily, at that very moment, a girl got out of the the lane next to me and, since the guard was not taking any action and I was clearly outnumbered by some angry women who were bigger than me and not going anywhere, I said, "Okay, here...I'll solve ALL the problems and get in this lane." They were happy, and continued to bob for another 45 minutes...not moving!

So, I guess I just wondered if all this was true. Is that lane reserved for Seniors/The handicapped/Pregnant women? (for the record, this pregnant woman would like to separate herself from being considered handicapped and/or a senior) If so, can it be clearly marked next year so that I don't have angry bobbers harrassing me? I won't be pregnant next year so I definitely won't "qualify." :)

If it's NOT and it really is for lap swimming ONLY, can you please have the guards enforce this and also put up some kind of sign? The guard there said it was a lap lane, but did not do anything, and, again, I was outnumbered...and they weren't about to go anywhere. I think it would make it all clear to everyone if there was some kind of sign and consistency. I never had a problem until last week, and had never heard of it until they were so up in arms and swore that they "petitioned the director" to get "their lane."

Again, I really enjoy the pool--this is the only little problem I've ever had there, and I must admit, it's almost a little funny. I caught myself laughing several times as we went back and forth as to whether or not I was qualified to swim in "their" lane. But I think a little clarification and consistency will nip this in the bud for next year.

Thanks so much! Please let me know what you think so that I am clear on the lap lane rules.

Sincerely,
TST

31 comments:

RunnerGirl said...

Oh. My. Goodness. I cannot believe that some people are so rude?

I mean... that takes the rudeness cake.

I am glad that you are sending a letter out to the director. Hopefully your next swim will be free of that suabble.

;)

Wendy said...

That's very curious!

Our lap lanes are divided by (relative) speed with sandwich boards showing the pace for the lane: fast, medium, slow, leisure. Folks are allowed to bob in the leisure lane(s).

greyhound said...

Meanwhile the ladies are splattered with goo as the mild-mannered greyhound's head explodes. Next time swim with closed fists and use your superhero eyes to melt them down into soap byproducts. It should be a cold day in hades before some sedentary busy-body, ladies who lunch prevent an Ironman from keeping her appointed rounds.

TriShannon said...

WHAT?!? Wondering why they are not able to just stand on the other side of the lane line? Very strange!

E-Speed said...

LOL. I love that you were allowed to swim once they realized you were pregnant :) Some people are just strange!

hak said...

Our old farts, er, senior citizens, can take some strange stances when it comes to the pool. Where we try and swim from time to time, there's been this guy in his 70s who hogs a whole lane going back and forth with his water dumbbells...for almost two hours. He claims he can't share the lane because, "I'm exuhcisin'" (said with a thick NY accent) and starts arguing with everyone and the life guards.

Our lifeguards are just a bunch of high school kids who don't know how to handle confrontational people and/or don't want to. Public pool swimming sucks.

Heather said...

Wait... they were just standing and told YOU to swim in the regular area? Hey-what?

Robyn & Rachel said...

This seems to be a univeral issue! It sure is in our pool. The water aerobics ladies arrive 45 minutes before their class starts and insist that the guard rearrage the lap lanes early for them. The guard has finally started to resist -- but it's take some pushing on the part of us swimmers. Unite!

xt4 said...

That. Was friggin'. Hilarious.

First, I imagined a West Side Story kind of thing, with snapping old ladies in choreographed bob-step through the lane, coming at you saying, "Be cooool, girl."

Then, I thought you should get a bunch of your tri-team people out there, preferably Ironman athletes. Get all dorked up in trisuits and IM swim caps, maybe even a bicycle helmet if you can swing it. Get there earlier than the old people, maybe 5 or 6 of you, and then just bob around uselessly. Then when the old people try to get in, ask them if they have a tri-suit. No? Well then sorry, no. But if they came back with a bicycle helmet, you'd consider it.

Good times. You're awesome.

IM Able said...

How interesting! They sound JUST lovely. Peaches, in fact. Can't wait to hear what el director says!

Wes said...

Smart thinking, T. Those grey hairs are dangerous in packs... Can strip the flesh right from the bones...

Rachel said...

Wow. How annoying. I would be seething. Gotta love the masters swimming.

jkrunning said...

That's the craziest thing I have ever heard.

Fe-lady said...

Priceless...we too have a "bobbing" area- but it takes up TWO lanes! There are times when I use it and the old biddies look at me like I am in their way...and tell me to move, and I just smile and say "No, I'm fine, you're not in my way"- I tell the guards that if they are to ever see me join them, to just go ahead and shoot me and put me out of my misery!
Pregnant does NOT equal "handicapped"- or ahem- "old"!- like me.
(I always wear my SHARKFEST cap when I know I am going to meet up with them...tee-hee!)

JenC said...

Matt just said yesterday that old people are great until they get in the pool. I laughed out loud during this post. Thanks and please post their response.

Oh, and you are so NOT handicapped!

Tri-Dummy said...

That was pretty hilarious. Almost like an elderly version of Mean Girls. I have the same problem in my tiny little town.

You don't wanna swim in that lane anyway, unless you like swimming through the perfume/hairspray oil slick they leave behind.

DaisyDuc said...

Oh my goodness, too funny! Let us know what he says!!!

How ridiculous, I would have been so mad! How silly that since you are pregnant you are welcome to bob but not swim!

Pharmie said...

Too funny! Glad my pool's not the only one filled with old ladies who think they own the pool. Ours are tooling around on their foam noodles. Did you get a response yet?

Josh said...

Sounds like pools need to be divided up into three sections: Kids and those playing. Old people / bobbers. and athletes.

Personally I'll take the kids over the old folks. I don't feel bad about pummeling kids as I swim over them and it is good practice for mass starts!

Lana said...

HOW rude of them! Senior Citizen Bullies!!

Gosh, I hope the director overrules them. That's crazy. A lane is not necessary for bobbing.

Charlie said...

I counted 7 of nine lanes occupied by individual bobbing persons once last week.
This is a serious problem.
Good luck and fight the good fight.

Triteacher said...

Oy vey. Some people!

Erin said...

Hilarious...although, given some of the werid experiences I've had at my local Y, not altogether shocking, unfortuntately.

Matt Collister said...

This is the Lake County YMCA. Every day. There's a tenuous truce that makes North and South Korea look like a model of diplomacy. But I've been snapped at on a few occasions. Snap right back.

The lynchpin is always the spineless lifeguard.

Eric said...

You are always welcome at the Y. Great e-mail.

Jessica said...

I really want to hear what the response is!

Rae said...

OMG, you will have to tell me what happens!! It amazes me how people will waste lap lanes by just bobbing around when you're just sitting there waiting for a lane. I get so irritated I just want to build my own indoor pool!

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

wow.

So the new rules are, pregnant and handicapped and olderly get their own lane, but only when recruited by the silver foxes, and only if bobbing.

clearly I think you've stumbled onto a turf war...

Bridgette said...

Am I the only person that is completely amazed and impressed that the ointment crew didn't know you were pregnant? Wow, you must really look great!! :) There's no way they would've made that mistake with me when I was pregnant.

SixTwoThree said...

Just goes to show not everyone aspires to be a buoy. Way to stick to your principles and your lane lines!

Renae said...

Funniest post ever. I want to know fi you get a response.