Sunday, 10 July 2011

Swimming Lessons

Wednesday is swimming lessons, it lasts for half an hour.
I take the boy to a local fitness club which has a pool and a shouty instructor. I'm not a member so I have to pay more for the pleasure and am humiliated on entry when I have to give up my car in exchange for the loan of a locker key. The humiliation continues when I have to wear blue plastic overshoes. I know everyone else has to unless they are a bloody hippy and go barefoot but I have size 12 feet so the damn things don't fit and rip every time.
Then I sit with the mothers. It seems to be mainly mothers with their kids and I think this is because of the heat. It's like a sauna in that place so it suits the mums as women never seem to get hot. I sit there in my shorts and tee-shirt sweating like a pig and the mums pull on another cardigan, wrap a scarf round their neck and turn the heating up. The only reason the blue plastic things on my feet haven’t begun to melt is because they are filling with sweat.
My phone goes off in my pocket telling me I have a text message. I retrieve my phone and look at it with one eye on the boy swimming so I don't get rebuffed for missing him actually doing what he is told. The lifeguard comes over and asks me to put my phone away "as these devices sometimes have cameras and they aren't allowed by the pool". The boy next to me playing Angry Birds on an iPhone is obviously exempt from this rule as is the mum on the end talking to Michelle about the BBQ on the weekend. Seems like its only sweaty middle aged men with scruffy overshoes who aren't allowed their phone out by the pool. The lifeguard is a young lad and he stands watching me for ages before starting to walk off. I slip my hand into my phone pocket and he stops, turns round and looks at me. I take my hand off my phone and he turns and starts walking so I try again. He stops and turns quicker this time trying to catch me. It's like a crap version of What's the Time Mister Wolf? except that he's lost patience and stands next to me for the rest of the lesson.
Then it's home time.
After reading this far you'll probably expect me to like home time but this is the worst part of the experience. The boy goes and has a shower while I sort his clothes and retrieve the locker key so I can get my car back on the way out. He won't get changed in the communal area, he likes to use one of the cubicles so I have to sit out in the changing rooms on my own, fully clothed while men get changed all around me. Thank god the lifeguard doesn't get to see this! Now, if you are getting changed then a changing room is as good a place as any to be in, but when you are just sat there with your clothes, on twiddling your thumbs, it really isn't.
Men look at me like I'm a weirdo! And, as for me, where am I supposed to look?
I can't look at them in the eye because they are like "yeah what are you looking at?" and if I look anywhere else they are like "yeah what the fuck are you looking at?". That is apart from the chubby Asian fella who seems to enjoy it and stands very close while drying himself rather too vigorously with a tiny towel. Me pointing at the cubicle and mumbling something about being with the boy in there doesn't help. When I call him and he doesn't answer that helps even less. Looking over the top of the cubicle and trying to open the door from the outside also doesn't go down well.
Finally I get him out of the cubicle and I let him dry his hair with the dryer for 20 seconds before rushing to the exit. When we are halfway to the car he tell me he can't remember if he has underwear on but refuses to check. I inform him that there is no way we are going back in that changing room until next Wednesday so if he is commando he’ll just have to tough it out until we get home!