Tuesday, 29 September 2009

NAKED FLOATING BODIES

In a desperate attempt to attract more readers, I've resorted to sexy title tactics. Considering that my most-read entry has the word "tits" in the title, I'm going with the formula "If it's not broke, don't fix it." Just don't expect anything remotely sexy about this article. It involves an entire 45 minutes of my life where I wore a swimimng hat.

I’ve been frightened of swimming pools for nearly seven years now. It’s not an irrational fear – I like to think that anybody with any sense of self-respect and common sense would feel the same way about a huge body of water with grimy members of the public floating about in it. I just don’t like the idea of having water sloshing around my eyes, ears and mouth that has previously been spat out or worse by at least one other person. It might stem from snobbishness, sure, but aside from anything I just can’t help but think that it’s extremely unhygienic, even with all those chemicals and chlorine. In fact, especially because of all the chlorine. It makes people cough and get teary eyes. More fluid for the pool.

Despite my fears, however, I used some awful clich├ęs and took the plunge, right in at the deep end. Actually, I stepped gingerly in off some steps at the shallow bit to accustom myself to the water and to scout out for any plasters that might be languishing near the filters. Masking my distress was hard, especially considering that I had paid for the privilege to be splashing around in public in an outfit that covered less of me than my underwear would have. Swimming costume manufacturers, have some shame. So, blubbery and frightened, I began a tentative front crawl towards the markedly less-cluttered deep end, which seemed to be a lot more difficult to achieve than I remembered. The lifeguards watched in amazement as a young and seemingly not-that-unfit-really person struggled to make it to the edge of the pool. I blame an increased heart rate due to anxiety.

It hasn’t always been this way. As a child I loved swimming, and I used to go to lessons every Friday in a pool the length of your average garden shed. Teamed with extremely hot water and enough chlorine to kill off the SARS virus for good, I was happy with this set-up. I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer when I grew up, and won badge after badge for my diving efforts. Clearly I had something wrong with me. Sporting achievements? Aspirations to appear on behalf of my country? This is everything I stand against. Something should have been done. Somebody should have said something. The lust for sport-based glory died though, thankfully, when I moved house and couldn’t find a swimming trainer as ruthless and unforgiving as my previous one had been (once while practicing an exercise which involved picking up weights from the bottom of the deep end, I nearly drowned. When I eventually surfaced, I was told I had been too slow, and needed to do it again. Tough love. Obviously it worked, I mean, look at how much I love the water now). I stopped going to pools and developed a fear of them. This is the weird thing – I love swimming in the sea, and surely that’s far more dangerous?

What it all boils down to is a general fear of other humans, I feel. At least in the sea you aren’t going to accidentally tag another swimmer and cause a fuss. The chances of coming across an old bandage are minimal (unless you are swimming in Morecambe). Fish and whales wee in the sea, which is absolutely huge, so it barely matters. In my mind, every person in the pool is weeing, all the time. Disgusting. It is off-putting and makes me scared to put my head below the water. People are disgusting. I don’t want to be in water that has been soaked in their hair and feet and bathing suits. I don’t want to see people flailing weightlessly in their underwear. My local pool is a garish nightmare filled with people in their twighlight years, and it scares the fuck out of me. Still, in a pool, nobody can tell you’re struggling. It’s called “pacing yourself”. Which is why I’ll be going back three times a week for as long as it takes to stop me from morphing effortlessly from Pilsbury Dough girl to “I wash myself with a rag on a stick” woman; just as soon as I can use my legs again. Stretching did nothing to avert next day exercise pain. Who can I sue?

6 comments:

chestymorgan said...

Pilsbury dough girl?Well,I'm Pilsbury dough old boot then?Public pools are a petri dish&I loathe 'em.
But*shudder*must get jnr confidently swimming soon I guess

Bravo,as ever xxxx

Lorna said...

We share the same sentiments regarding swimming pools. I haven't been in a pool since the early 90's through fear of swallowing a pube.

coffeebucks said...

Completely agreed, swimming pools are disgusting. Well done for persevering though...

Andy said...

Absolute nightmare if I saw a plaster near me on the floor.

But if one is FLOATING TOWARDS me. Then god help the granny slowly climbing down the ladders into the pool.

Pinklilycat said...

I didn't think I was scared of public swimming pools. And then I read this. Thanks for that...

Katie said...

I'm so glad I'm not alone....

1. 4.
There was an error in this gadget
Related Posts with Thumbnails