Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tub View

I don’t own a home, but I’m a proud renter. The whole American Dream home ownership thing has never been a strong draw in my life.  Plus given the economy, I’m ok with not having scary mortgage issues.

But one of the down sides for not owning my own home is that I can’t own a hot tub.  I love hot tubs.  I fell in love with them almost 30 years ago when I moved to California and it’s been a torrid bubbly love affair ever since, no matter where I’ve lived or traveled.  If you are my friend and you own a hot tub, know that we are not friends just so I can crash your jacuzzi every once in a while, but it doesn’t hurt.

As a member of Bally’s Total Fitness,  I was greatly dismayed when they closed some clubs a year ago to help their bottom line.  They closed the one near where I work, which made dealing with daily traffic, cubicles and hours under florescent light far less appealing.  That club had a 25 yard pool (which unfortunately is rare) and a huge hot tub.  And the culture of that gym was geared more toward weight lifting, so there weren’t a lot of swimmers – score!  Now I’m down to just one club in my area with a full size pool for lap swimming… and hot tub.

Since I completed WSI last Christmas, hot tubs at Bally’s have not been the same.  Before, I sat in there to warm up before starting my laps.  This year due to either laziness or fatigue (or both), I’ve been soaking up those hot jets for longer and longer every time I get in.  Sometimes I won’t even do any laps, but just close my eyes and do the rotisserie thing – lie on my back for a while, then roll over to my front with my head in my folded arms, then repeat every few minutes.  Oh yeah.  This is water done right!

Once relaxed, I’ll poke my head up, feeling better, but not wanting to get out.  Instead I’ll just watch other people swim.  And here’s where my life has been changed forever.  It used to be that I didn’t care how other people swam.  I just cared that they got out of the pool so I could have the lane, thank you very much.  But now I watch and I analyze.  What are they doing?

  • She’s either afraid to put her face in the water or her hair in the water.  I wonder if anyone's ever worked with her on that?
  • Oh I see his problem.  He doesn’t think the water can support him, so he’s thrashing his arms from one end of the pool to the other.  It's so exhausting that he has to rest for minutes at each end.  
  • You know, her stroke would be so much better if she stretched her arms and glided like a swan. What’s the rush?  I could teach her how to do that. 
  • Hey muscle man, stop boxing with the water!  This isn't Taekwondo.

Of course, I never say these things out loud, but I want to.  I want to walk over and say, “Dude, let me help.  I can help.”  But that’s hard.  Most men would tell me to butt out.  Plus the dumbest thing in the world to do is make a guy uncomfortable who works out regularly and with whom you share a locker room.  And with a woman, how do you not make it sound like a bad pickup line?  What they’d hear is, “Hey baby, let me show you how to stroke.”

So until I get a swimming instructor job, I’ll just keep my mouth shut, my body in hot water and my thoughts on swimming.  But hey, if you know of a part-time swim instructor job opening, I live in the Boston North Shore area.  And I won’t even insist that the pool have a hot tub.  But it wouldn’t hurt.

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