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Swimming and traffic

2010-11-29

Swimming pool

I started swimming a while ago. Every morning, at around 6:30, I go down to the local swim hall, and get changed into my sexy (or maybe not) speedos and swim glasses. I usually swim around 40 lanes, which means 1 km.

Most days, everything is fine and dandy, and I always feel refreshed when I’m done. However, I’ve grown to despise some of the people who come there to swim.

These are a few of the types you can meet there:

The snot-in-shower-man

This guy blows his nose right onto the shower floor, without embarrassment. That’s completely natural, right?

The my-hair-cannot-get-wet-woman

This person seems to think that all that’s allowed in the exercise lanes are breast strokes. Slow breast strokes. She huffs and puffs if a single drop of water touches her precious perm. Is it just me, or should you expect to get wet in a swim hall?!

The chatting-lady-friends

These old ladies seem to think they’re the only ones there, and like to swim side by side, taking up the entire width of the pool, swimming slowly and talking. They couldn’t care less that someone behind them is trying to pass.

The relaxer

This old dude just stops mid lane, hanging back, chilling. Not at the end, but mid lane. Without any warning, there’s a sudden blockage of traffic, and if you happen to be doing back strokes, you will crash into him!

The I-don’t-understand-lanes-person

This is by far the most annoying person there is. It can be a male or female, young or old. This person cannot fathom the swim hall concept of a track, where you swim laps, turn at the end of a lane and keep to your right. They’ll keep swimming into oncoming swimmers without flinching, like they own the place!

I had a run-in with the latter this morning, and it was a full-on chicken race! She did not budge one inch. I tried leading by example by keeping to the right all the way, doing a little bight around her, and returning to the right. She did not get it. Things like that take all the fun out of swimming.

Don’t get me wrong — I love swimming! I’m not saying my particular swim hall is a den of freaks either. There are lots of regular swimmers, pro swimmers and slow swimmers that all adapt according to their skills. It’s just the egomaniacs above who ruin it for everyone else. Oh, and in case you think I’m a control freak inventing ideas, the lap directions are actually on signs in the swim hall.

The whole situation reminds me of the expressway. Cars drive in the right lane, until they need to pass a slower car. Then they check for oncoming traffic and then pass.

This expressway concept can be compared to a lot of everyday situations. Take the revolving door at the supermarket. You enter to the right, and you exit to the right. This is quite easy to figure out upon seeing the door, the direction in which it’s revolving, the location of the entrance and the people walking through it. Still I see people who walk the most annoying routes as far as everyone else is concerned, so long as it makes their own arrival faster. There are people who walk straight onto the bike path without even looking — because bikes aren’t cars, they assume bikes will swerve. Not only are they a danger to me, but to themselves as well. I hate when people are this rude and, frankly, stupid. Yes, hate.

My conclusion is that people who know how to drive, are much more prone to try to improve the flow for everyone and not just themselves, and to look before they leap. I propose mandatory traffic education for everyone, even if you never plan on driving. Not only would you be able to pilot a car in a pinch, but you’d know the traffic rules, and subconsciously apply them to everyday situations. Everything would run smoother. You’d be helping others, and yourself at the same time. Yes, it is possible.

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