Monday, January 11, 2016

Men, Power and Buddha in the Swimming Pool

I've been having big issues with men at the gym. Men, you and your big bodies are pushing us ladies around, your grunting and staring at me while waiting impatiently for a machine are really annoying.  I'm getting really tired of being physically manipulated by men I don't know.

It's been especially apparent in the pool - sharing swimming lanes with some dudes is oh so annoying. They flail and kick so hard and take up the whole lane with their bodies. They're loud and everywhere all at once. It really aggravates me.

Yesterday I got to the pool as soon as the gym opened, 8AM. After my swim I was headed to the Buddhist Temple for a little Sunday quiet time, so I was in this really quiet mode. Two guys came in, friends or partners, they were chatty, but they hopped right in the pool and started swimming.

One thing I love about swimming is how peaceful it is. I love watching other people swim because it's peaceful. The three of us were so peaceful in our 3-lane pool, we were just swish-swishing away. Cold, quiet Sunday morning.

And this dude comes stomping in. He's already taking up all the space with his stomps and he hasn't even gotten in the pool yet. Of course he settles down in my lane. Of course he does. Share the lane with the woman, because the other dudes are really *swimming*, obviously the woman-lane is for this guy. Dudes can push ladies around, so.

He has no goggles, no cap, no anything. He motions to me from the other side of the pool about which side of the lane he wants. Fine. FINE.

And he starts swimming and this guys is THRASHING. He's thrashing, he's kicking all over, he's doing the freaking backstroke at points, hitting me in the leg, taking up the whole lane with his breaststroke.

And every time he gets to the other side of the pool he stops and waits for what seems like the worst moment and then swims just ahead of me and kicks water in my face. The whole pool is slopping around, it's loud and I have to move against the wall every time this guy goes by.

I get really angry then and I decide to show him a thing or two about women. I start swimming like a fiend. I'LL SHOW HIM. I'm swimming fast and smooth, no rest at the ends, I'm just jamming...

And honestly? Kicking harder and in his face when I go by.

I'm so annoyed this guy has ruined my meditative swimming practice. I'm so annoyed, I'm purposefully making it harder him.  That'll show 'em, should have gotten in the men's lane.

When I'm finished, I take off all my goggles and caps and the guy says "how many did you get in?"

And I'm like, "I don't count laps, I just go for time. 1/2 hour or whatever."

And he says, "I just started swimming and man, every lap is like a mile to me."

And my whole body let go.

He was just starting.

This is a struggle for him.

He was probably too embarrassed to go swim in the lane with the smooth "dudes." No wonder he came into my lane.

Every lap is like a mile to him.

Fucking guy doing his best.

And we chatted and we talked and I opened up and felt awfully about what I had done. And then I realized how nice it is that I cared so much that this guy was just starting - so I didn't beat myself up over it - but MAN OH MAN, you just don't know what is going on with people. He wasn't man-bullying me around - he was trying to fucking learn and get better.

I told him to stick with it.

Then I went to my Buddhist service, sat quietly, thought about him, wished him well and then I saw an old, dear friend I haven't seen in many years and it was just about the greatest morning I've ever had.

There it is.

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