Wednesday, December 17, 2008

the fascist swimming hole of my dreams.

One of my most favorite things about living in Montréal is that for some obscure reason, swimming is free at certain hours each day. Apparently it's the law. I admit that I haven’t actually researched this. Like most local lore, I rely on friends. Friends who may themselves be relying on other friends. Someone may simply be making it all up.

But, I do walk through the door of the swimming pool at the appointed hour, and no one ever stops me.

Free swim isn’t a secret though. So other people show up too.

Bringing me to my least favorite thing about Montréal; traffic.

It doesn’t seem to matter if you are walking on a sidewalk, or driving down le 40, or getting on a metro train, common sense is absent while moving. The swimming pool is no different.

When a lane is posted as fast, medium, or slow, it isn’t the measure of a swimmer, merely the speed at which the person is swimming. Maybe it bruises the ego to be in the slow lane, even if you are slowly kicking a flutter board back and forth.

Today everyone was working hard to be in first. I’m not sure why, as there isn’t a finish line. Just another 25 meters, which was very similar to the last 25 meters. Vite lane was suffering from grid lock caused by girl in bikini slapping the water, which made her think she was swimming really fast.

I tried to space it out so I had a little distance to go, and slow things down a bit myself. Turns out she still got in the way. Then someone decided to pass her which caused a near head on.

So I switched to moyen lane. I figured that these people would be better behaved, and they were, due I think, to accepting their limitations.

But just like the sidewalks outside, the perfect place for a chat is right at the end of the lane. Standing in the water makes it feel like fitness, I suppose. Would those people invite guests over and just stand in a tub of water with a cup of coffee?

That sounds like a good idea, now that I write it down.

I realize that people in the moyen lane fail to understand that getting to the end of the lane is important to keep up the momentum. The people in the vite lane suffer from the same issue, but it comes from a different place. They are simply self centered.

I decided it was time to pilot a flutter board around the lente lane, because that is where you go when you move slow; the slow lane. Others like to cling to the vite lane because they think the slow lane makes you seem weak or dumb, which is why moving to the lente lane means putting up with water walkers. Apparently the do-whatever-makes-you-feel-good lane, which only caters to water walkers and those that like to kick wildly while holding the side of the pool isn’t good enough for the serious water walkers.

The most serious water walker had staked out his territory and there would be no talking to the old man. Admittedly, he was easier to pass in the pool. Not so much later on when he took up his usual post in front of the sauna door, naked, doing stretches. Some events require a great deal of distance to appreciate the humour, and naked old men are one of them. I write this aware that one day, I too will be the naked old man.

In some rare instances fascism has its place. The local swimming hole could use a little more.

But who to complain too? You can’t complain about free.

No comments: