Work and the state of the country are getting me down. Not enough hours in the day, goods on the shelves or petrol in the pumps. I need to de-stress. But how? I make a healthy, executive decision.
I opt for the pool. At least it’s in walking distance. No need to take the car to get there. The last time I went – when venturing back into post-Covid life – the water was deserted. Pure heaven. But now social-distancing is distant only in memory. And the fast lane’s been cordoned off for family swimming, meaning I’ll have to pick between slow and medium.
Watching the frenzied crawler ploughing through the water, I have a flashback to the recent road rage at service stations around the country. I shudder. I certainly don’t need that. What I need is calm and order. So, I choose the leisurely lane with its swimmers floating gently in line. Hating to be hemmed in though, I let them all reach the far end before I dive in, leaving a luxurious distance between us all.
But as I breast-stroke smoothly to the half-way point, I realise that the out-of-condition guy ahead of me is hardly moving. Is he stuck in traffic? Having problems with his engine? Or waiting politely for me to pass? But when I’m a mere half metre away he sets off again – cork-bobbing nowhere fast whilst showering all those around him, creating a swimming jam. Doesn’t he realise some of us need to get a move on, not pootle about all day? He leaves me no choice…
Going all guns for an Olympic medal, I nip past him into the empty space. But unfortunately, my slow is the swimmer in front’s medium and I soon catch up with her. Thankfully, she, at least, understands the unspoken pool etiquette. Pausing at the end, as if stretching out a cramp or searching for a familiar face, she lets me overtake and I settle into a pleasant rhythm. All is going swimmingly until two pensioners join our lane. For heaven’s sake. Why now? They’ve hadall dayto use the pool!
Enough is enough. I do the calculations. Five swimmers in the slow lane and only one in the medium. It’s time to switch. So, I duck under the ropes, ten metres ahead of the front-crawler. But Mr Frenzied has no intention of digressing from his path, even if it spells disaster. Nothing is going to get in his way. Karate-chopping my legs, he rams me into the wall as he flips underwater in pursuit of his personal best.
Spluttering to the surface, I console myself with the fact that at least I now have a whole length clear to myself. But I haven’t taken into account the anti-social antics in the family lane. Here a lone father, with his attention fixed on a yummy mummy flirting with the life guard, is oblivious to his two horrors playing catch very badly.
Not content with hogging their own lane, they’ve strayed into mine twice to retrieve their ball. And when I give them the look, they just use my head as target practice. But at least I swerve. Mr Frenzied chooses to swim right over the top of them, finally attracting the life guard’s attention.
It’s the garage forecourts all over again! Lone Father confronts Mr Frenzied, who, in his defence, complains about lane violation. The two pensioners busybody over to give their version of events whilst the lifeguard tries to diffuse the situation. But as he bends down for peace talks, Cork Bobber splashes by and soaks him.
It’s all too much for me. I make a governmental U-turn on my executive decision and head for home. But thank goodness for this week’s panic buying. No jerry cans of Premium unleaded or bumper packs of loo rolls in our stockpiles. Instead, a much-needed crate of stress-busting Chardonnay.