If you remember, I am a member at the Waterford Fitness Center. You know, the retirement home. A person has to be 40 and over to join. I could take Ty as a guest but Kristi, once again, is not old enough to partake in the fun. It's crossed my mind that a business opportunity awaits - a defibrillator outlet store / ambulance service / mortuary located right next door - better yet, connected via sky walk.
I've been a member there for over 2 years. I realized I'd been a member a while when reading a sign for a Walk A Thon a couple of weeks ago. I thought - that looks like fun. I'd get to see some of the regulars I'd become acquaintances with. It'd be an easy walk - Waterford style. Then at the bottom I noticed it was being held at one of the "younger person's" fitness center. Pssshhhhht - no way.
Back to the membership. At first it was rough. I was the newbie. I'd park my trusty steed (Pearl - the big white Buick) along with the other Buicks and Mercurys. I'd walk in, change into my workout gear or swim trunks and proceed to the appropriate part of the fitness center. The area with exercise bikes, recumbent bikes, a couple of treadmills, and the weight machines was nice. Very seldom being used. The pool, however, is another story. Like the watering holes of the African plains, it was a place to congregate and establish territory.
Whether a person walks in the shallow side, wades in the middle, or floats and converses over at the deep side, there is definitely a pecking order. The first year or so I was shunned. After all, I still had my original hips, knees, valves, and had no vertical scar on my sternum. I'd been forced to sit along the side until everyone was done "swimming". Usually this meant the 2 ladies with the floaty noodle things had to finish gossiping. What better place to air other's laundry than in the middle of the pool.
I was scolded once with "don't splash me, I don't want to get all wet". First of all I was not splashing, I was swimming and, yes, it'll create some flying water. Second....if you don't want to get wet - don't go in the freak'n pool. I don't know how many times I was tempted to run into the pool area and do a cannon ball.
There were times I was forced to swim in the shallow end. That just doesn't do it for me. I think it's the fact that I could just stand up and walk easier. I was forced to swim next to the dividing rope - occasionally getting tangled in it with my less than Michael Phelpsish swim stroke. I NEED to swim all the way over on the deep side. When doing the backstroke, I know just how many rafters there are until the ladder and how many strokes from the ladder to the end. Although, a couple of goose eggs on my head over the months would lead you to believe otherwise.
Then something wonderful happened. A couple of evenings ago I walked into the pool area on a rather crowded night. The person on MY side of the pool, a newbie, recognized me from previous swims. She said she'd move over and that I could have the deep side. THEN the entire pool did a shift over one lane - opening up MY lane. Hmmmm. That's odd, I thought. Maybe it is because I got rid of my old Hawaiian print swim trunks. Actually they'd disintegrated from all the chlorine. That's one thing about that pool - lots of chlorine. Apparently the daily piss fest makes this a necessity. My blue trunks must make me seem more commanding. Then tonight it happened again. I walked into the pool area and the herd did a shift - opening up MY lane.
About 2/3 of the way through my swim - at the point when I'm wondering exactly how long it would take the 13 year old 50 lb lifeguard to rescue me from the bottom - it hit me. Seniority - I now have some seniority at the Waterford pool. Like the stealthy leopard at the African waterhole (or the old weary and battle scared elephant who is just too tired to be bothered), I have earned respect and my spot at the deep end. With my new found authority, I have a first thing on my agenda - turn down the music. They play that stuff just too loud.
All joking aside, it is a great place. Clean and uncrowded. After all, we're all there for the same purpose - to outlive each other.