Moving means making many life adjustments, including pursuing a new sense of routine and familiarity. However, en route to that status feeling, I tend to wind up with a rather chaotic sense of newness to everything I do, even the typical running and swimming.
Even with the help of swimmersguide.com, I was still on my own to actually find the swim center and enter a brand new pool. The first pool I went to was severely underpopulated at 5:55am, especially considering that it opened at 6:00. I waited in my car to see if perhaps, unlike my old pool, people showed up at opening rather than thirty minutes beforehand. People started being dropped off within the next minute. At first, I thought, “Oh, carpooling! That’s so nice and green. Maybe someone comes from my direction.” Then, there was an explosion of white Hummers. Literally, three humongous white Hummers made their way to the curb, and out piled one person each time. That whole green idea left in a hurry. It was around that moment that I noticed something very similar about each body exiting the cars. First of all, each one turned and looked at me, the lone car actually parked in the parking lot. Second, each was a bit lank, a bit slouched, and wait a second…a bit teenage male. I had stumbled across the high school swim team summer practice.
Undaunted, I checked my notebook full of directions and headed out towards the next pool, a mere five minutes away (love Orange County roads in the early morn! They’re clearer than the diamonds on the fingers of every engaged lady you see down here). This pool seemed more promising, and even had a sign posted on the door noting that lap swim did indeed happen every morning. I amused myself by listening to the sad excuse for NPR I found on my radio dial (not enough people contribute for them to buy “Morning Edition,” so I was stuck with a continuous cycle of strangely reported local news). And BOOM! At 6:30, three people scurried into through the doors. No waiting in line! No rush!
There are different procedures at every pool. For instance, this one only takes checks in the morning for some reason on another, so I was about to turn away and come back another day when the lifeguard whispered “Just go in and DON’T TELL ANYONE I LET YOU.” I crossed my heart and hoped to die, then made my way to the peach colored locker room, just to see what it looked like.
Out on deck, two of the six lanes were missing lane lines. At first I assumed this pool, like many community pools across the state, was underfunded. Alas no, a lifeguard informed me. Tuesdays and Thursdays are Senior Swim mornings, when seniors can use the pool undisturbed by the swimmers. No one over the age of 50 was in the pool yet, so I was curious to see how this all worked out.
I was alone in my lane for a good portion of my swim, which gave me time to readjust to circle swimming, and to get used to swimming 25 yards instead of 20, which took a minute to figure out how many strokes I wanted to take before I hit my flip turn. Eventually, a girl about my age joined me, and another guy joined us a few minutes later. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up, but we were actually all a good speed for each other, and remained equally spaced out. It was nice to not feel like a fish out of water.
As I exited the pool, I noticed a group of senior ladies in the corner. One was very unironically wearing a pair of 80’s sunglasses that she no doubt had been in possession of since the 1980’s. Better still, one was wearing a fuzzy cap, like a bear skin rug kind of shag. The women were holding onto the edge of the pool, talking. But at least they were getting a dose of chlorine, right?
The women in the locker room gossiped and discussed the work days ahead of them, much like any other morning time talk, and feeling refreshed and a bit proud of myself for plunging into the unknown, I headed back home.
Just for kicks…
Let’s compare my new swim center to my old one:
Old: 25 lanes, 1 person per lane
New: 6 lanes, multiple people per lane
Old: 20 yards
New: 25 yards
Old: Open for 2.5 hours each morning
New: Open for 1.5 hours each morning
Old: I knew all the lifeguards by name
New: I’ve never seen any of them in my life, and I pray they know how to save lives
Old: Lots of strange morning characters
New: To be determined