Pool Thugs

24 April 2008 · 7 comments

As part of my fitness regimen, I’ve been swimming once each week. On Tuesday or Thursday — whichever day happens to follow my upper-body weight-lifting session — I drive an extra fifteen minutes to go the gym in Oregon City. It has a pool. (The gym in Milwaukie has a pool, too, but it’s worthless. It’s more like a backyard frolic pool than a lap pool.)

I had some trouble at first getting the hang of the swimming thing again. Breathing was a real issue. I felt like I was drowning. One of my readers at Get Fit Slowly recommended nose plugs, and much to my surprise, they did the trick. I still sometimes feel short of breath at the end of a lap, but mostly I do okay. (I stop for about ten or twenty seconds after a lap to catch my breath. The guy swimming next to me this morning was doing the same thing.)

So, I’m slowly but surely getting accustomed to the pool. Today I did 1000 meters of mixed freestyle and backstroke in 28:14. Well, it’s not really a backstroke. I don’t know what to call it. I put my arms out wide, like wings, and then pull them to my sides.

Anyhow, all is well and good except for the thugs in the shallow end of the pool. Most of the time when I swim (but not today), there’s a group of surly men and women hogging the shallow end. They’re splashing around, running back and forth across the width of the pool, interfering with my lane.

“Don’t they move when you come through?” Kris asked me when I told her about them.

“Yes,” I said. “But it still bugs me. They’re not very quick.” That’s because these thugs are old thugs. Their average age is probably 70. Usually when I come into the pool, they’re milling around the shallow end as if they own it. I feel like I get resentful stares when I take my lane.

Today the thugs weren’t in the shallow end. Today the thugs were in the jacuzzi nearby. They were complaining about health, about Barack Obama, about local politics. The thugs are a bitter bunch.

Still, I kind of like the thugs. It’s good that they’re at the gym early in the morning exercising. I only hope that when I’m 70, I’ll be down at the gym, in the pool, annoying some young punk by hogging the shallow end.

1 PBJ April 24, 2008 at 12:14

That’s one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time.

2 Tiffany April 24, 2008 at 13:55

If they steal your lunch money, let us know.

3 Mom April 24, 2008 at 19:21

I used to love to swim. I grew up swimming a lot and I went to the Canby pool sometimes as an adult. Joni Harms and her mother were there and would tell me how Joni was going to become a famous country/western singer. She did achieve some degree of fame in that venue, I believe, although how much I don’t know because I didn’t listen to that style of music when her songs were being played, at least several years later (after my days of going swimming at the pool).

There were no 70-year-old thugs at the Canby pool when I went there. How funny that you have them in your pool! LOL! Enjoy your swimming, regardless. ;-)

4 Jeremy April 25, 2008 at 10:30

Ha ha. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard of anybody that old called a thug.

5 Karl Staib - Your Work Happiness Matters April 26, 2008 at 11:59

You have a great way of painting a picture with your words. I could see every detail of these grumpy old men giving you a hard time, taking their good-old-time to move out of your way.

6 Joel April 28, 2008 at 06:53

What you gotta do is, see, is go up to the biggest and surliest thug and, without warning, dunk him. If you don’t establish your alpha status in the pool right off the bat, your whole summer will be filled with de-pantsing, loogies in the hair, and getting bumped out of the line for the high dive.

I speak from personal experience.

7 Kym April 30, 2008 at 12:23

It sounds like your backstroke swimming is actually the butterfly – a renowned difficult stroke. Good job!

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