Generally speaking I am a polite person. I say please, thank you, try not to interrupt when people are talking. Wait my turn. You know, the usual.
My husband thinks Massachusetts might be the rudest state in the union. That is up for debate. However, having lived in NY and NJ, I know of at least two states that could give MA a run for it’s money.
The last time I swam at the Y, I swam in the same lane as a very rude man. And kind of gross. But definitely rude.
How could he be rude if he was swimming and not speaking, you say?
There are certain things implied when you swim. Certain unwritten rules. He violated my two biggest personal rules in a 20-minute period.
No Touchy, No Bumpy
It is common swim etiquette to try and swim in the same lane as people with whom you are evenly matched. I, for instance, would not swim laps in the same lane as, say, Michael Phelps.
I am not a fast swimmer, and I embrace it. I accept it.
At my last Y swim, I arrived and squished myself into my most attractive bathing suit. After grabbing my towel and goggles, I headed out to the pool trying not to step on any wet hair balls along the way. They could seriously use a new cleaning person in the ladies locker room. But in the meantime, I watch where I walk. Eeew, I know.
Out to the pool to pick a lane I headed. I surveyed my options. The high school girls doing the butterfly effortlessly. Scratch. The 90-year old woman doing the side stroke. Scratch. Even I swim faster than that. I finally settled on a lane with one other person in it—a middle-aged man swimming at a leisurely pace. I hopped in and started to swim.
There are two sides to the lane. Up and back. Sometimes when there are only two people in the lane you each choose a side rather than swim in a circular motion. Plenty of room. Spacious even. I mean, if you swim on your own side of the lane, there is NO reason at all to come into contact with any other swimmers.
But at one point, after taking a wall break, he caught up to me. And swam right up the back of my legs.
Hello? Goggles? Open your eyes? Move over for crying out loud!!! If I looked like Pamela Anderson in a bathing suit I might have thought he was trying to find an excuse to chat.
Yep, that was not the reason he bumped into me.
It happened again 10 minutes later. He either needed prescription goggles, or he was a dirty old man.
To add insult to injury, at one point he swam by me doing a mean freestyle. Arms flailing, going all-out. And smacked me in the head with his hand. And kept going. No stopping. No sorry. Harumph. I thought about changing lanes but I was more than 1/2 way done.
Keep Your Water To Yourself. Please.
We all take water into our mouths when we swim. And then spit it back out. Gross when you think about the fact that the entire pool has been in someone else’s mouth at one time or another, but it’s a fact nonetheless. Thank gawd for chlorine.
In spite of the fact that it is common knowledge that everyone spits out water when they swim, most people try not to spit in the face of other swimmers. When I say most people, I exclude this idiot swimming in my lane. He apparently had never heard of the don’t-spit-on-your-lane-partner rule. Or maybe it’s just my rule. Or perhaps it’s just common courtesy talking.
In any case, at one point while meeting up at the wall, he adjusted his goggles, ducked his head under water and came up blowing water like a whale. Now whether or not he meant it to land in my face is up for discussion. I choose to think that it was an accident. That could just be the polite person in me talking. But either way, regurgitating water in someone else’s face requires an acknowledgement, if not an apology. I got neither.
So when he was halfway back to the other end of the pool, I thought about peeing on his side and then getting out.
But I didn’t. That wouldn’t be polite.