That Misguided Sense of Entitlement

So this morning I woke up at 5:00 a.m. and put on my swimsuit. By 5:15 a.m. I was out of the house and driving over to the YMCA. At 5:25 a.m. I parked my car and by 5:35 a.m. my stuff was jammed in my locker and I was heading into the lap swim pool.

Upon walking in, all lanes were occupied by single swimmers (although during lap time you can double up). I was about to get into the slow lane (there are two slow lanes, three medium lanes and two fast lanes) when an older woman walked up to me and said, “You need to wear a swimcap.” Now, she wasn’t a lifeguard, just another swimmer like me.

“Really?” I asked, surprised. “I’ve never heard about that requirement.”

“Well, if you have shoulder-length hair you need to wear a swimcap. You can ask the lifeguard.”

I put my shoes and towel down near the lane I intended to swim in, and went over to the lifeguard.

“Do I need to wear a swimcap?” I asked politely.

The guy shook his head. “No, your hair is short enough – just wear a ponytail next time and you’ll be fine.”

I thanked him and went back over to the slow lane only to find someone had gotten in there. So I eyed the medium-speed next to it and figured I’d take my chances.

Now the way the pools work is that the lanes are double wide, so that two people can each have one side of the lane. I watched the medium speed woman (who really should have been in the fast lanes, which were empty) and when she got to each end of the pool she would switch sides in the lane. I figured that once I got in she’d stick to her side, so I lowered myself into the water and stayed at the end so that she could see me. When she came back to my area instead of flipping and staying on her side she came into mine and kept on swimming.

Benefit of the doubt given, I moved up four feet on the off chance she didn’t see me. I was well up in the lane when she came around again, and once again she moved past me and started swimming on my side. So when her head peaked up for air I said quite loudly, “Can’t you stay on your side?”

Swimcap lady perked up and from her lane called out, “If you swim in her lane you have to do circles – she has special permission to swim that way.”

Furious now, I said, “Well I’m not a fast swimmer so that won’t work.”

Swimcap shrugged and went back to her conversation. At this point I was so pissed that I got out of the pool, went back to the locker room, changed into my clothes and grabbed my stuff. As I walked out I saw the same YMCA guy that I had shared some witty banter with upon my arrival.

“You leaving already?” he asked, looking at his watch (I had been there 15 minutes at that point).

“Listen, I don’t know if you know this, but the ladies that use the pool in the morning? Witches, man.”

He asked what happened as a fellow Y employee walked up, and so I shared with them what had happened. As I got to the part about the one swimmer having special permission the female Y employee began shaking her head.

“Absolutely not,” she said. “No swimmer has special permission to use a lane that way.” She walked over to the check-in desk and scribbled something on a piece of paper. “Call this woman and tell her what happened and she’ll fix it. There’s no way you should be denied a chance to swim because someone else is hogging a lane.” I thanked them, they apologized (to which I responded that I certainly didn’t blame the Y at all – I blamed Swimcap and Lane Hogger, who both seemed to have this sense of entitlement about them), and I went out to my car.

By 6:00 a.m. I was back at my house, sitting in front of my tv watching the pilot episode of “Invasion” that I had saved on Tivo. There was no way I was going to go back to bed or else there’s no way I’d get up. Once the episode was over the kids began waking up and so I turned off the tv and began getting ready for work.

Frustrating way to start the day, needless to say.

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