Published Jul 30, 11 AM
By Emelia Symington Fedy
I’m also nine months pregnant, busting at the seams, so I decide to go swim some laps.
I pride myself on being a good swimmer; in fact, you can normally find me in the fast lane. I huff and puff more than the hairless men, but because of my abnormally huge competitive spirit, I can usually keep up.
At the moment, though, I have not done any exercise since I found out I was pregnant, and most of the weight I have gained is not from the baby. So, in a last minute ditch attempt to feel good about myself before I teach a yoga class, I head to the pool.
I start my laps in the medium lane, because it’s been awhile.
I get into the flow. Like when I practice yoga regularly, my brain starts to soften; I begin to feel weightless and free.
I notice a man zigzagging in the lane in front of me. A few laps later, he’s on my ass, grabbing at my toes. What the fuck?
When we get to the wall he says, “You should be in the slow lane lady.”
“No I shouldn’t. I’m going a medium speed in the medium lane, and if you have a problem, move to the fast lane.”
To prove my point, I dive in front of him and swim strong and hard so he can’t catch up. I see him a few minutes later though, and this time his voice is louder. “Lady, get in the slow lane. You are a bad swimmer.” He talks haltingly and deep.
“I’m a bad swimmer?” I sputter, “You’re the bad swimmer! You’re zigzagging around like you are drunk!”
“No I’m not!” He yells back. “I can swim faster than anyone in this pool.”
I start laughing now, because who talks like that?
He goes on “I’m even faster than the lifeguards!”
“You are NOT faster than the lifeguards. No one is faster than the lifeguards. Stop bugging me.”
“You suck, lady! You are a really sucky, shitty swimmer!”
I hear the tone and cadence of his voice. I notice the group of friends he is in the pool with and his social worker and it dawns on me…Oh…this man is mentally challenged.
Okay, well, that changes everything.
I start to ignore him and continue to swim, but now he is chasing me and gaining. Every time I take a breath I look back and he is on my tail.
“I had the lifeguards time me and I’m the fastest in the entire pool!” he bellows.
“I’m swimming faster than you right now!” I yell back myself.
“Get in the slow lane, fat lady.”
“I’m not fat, I’m fucking pregnant. I’m a very proficient swimmer and…”
“You are the worst swimmer in the world…”
We are goggles to goggles now.
“Do ya wanna have a race?”
Time stops. I contemplate what this looks like from the outside.
The lifeguard gets between us.
“Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to move to the slow lane.”
“I’m sorry, but you are not swimming fast enough to be in the medium lane right now.”
“You have got to be kidding me,” I heave. “This man is goading me. He said he was a better swimmer than all the lifeguards in the pool. Are you going to let him get away with that?”
“Ma’am, I’m sorry but I’m going to have to ask you to take a break.”
I get up out slowly. I am pulsing with anger. The man is laughing.
“You suck, fatso!” he calls out.
“No, you suck, fatso!” I yell back.
“Get out of the way, you moron!” he yells.
“You’re the moron,” I sputter back.
I waddle into the change room to cool down.
I sit on the benches and deep breathe.
I see the imaginary score board in front of me:
Mentally Delayed Man -10
And then I head out to teach my yoga class.
About Emelia Symington Fedy
Emelia Symington Fedy writes for the popular and offbeat website www.tryingtobegood.com.
She has also recently started and advice column, so send her your burning questions (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she’ll tell you what not to do.