slowest swimmer in the east

I went to work today because I took a big chunk of vacation in February and we're going to Niagara Falls in 2 weeks so I don't have much time-off left; plus I like being in the office when no one else is there, because no one asks me to do things for them, and I can move at my own pace (which was surprisingly fast at work today - I surfed the net a little bit when the network went down, but got right back to work when it came right up.)

Our executive director called a little before lunch to let everyone know they could leave an hour before their shift ended, which for me meant I could leave at 3pm. I had already planned to go directly from work to the pool, so when I got out of work, I went to the bathroom, changed into my suit, and drove to the pool. The lap lanes were all full when I got there, but I was hot, so I swam in the general swim area of the pool, where kids play Marco Polo and teenage boys try to impress teenage girls by dunking them under the water (which, seriously? I didn't know how to swim when I was teenager, I might have pressed attempted murder charges if some horny dick tried to impress me in that manner). Not a whole lot of fun.

Finally, a lane opened up, and I did the crawl stroke out, and the backstroke back in. 100 yards. Went back out again this time doing the crawl stroke until I gasped, and then switching to the side stroke. I got out to the far end, and then I heard all the lifeguards whistles blowing.

"Out of the pool! Thunderstorm coming!" were the words I could make out.

I was as far away from the shore as one could be, I had already done 100 yards, and I'm hopelessly out of shape. And now I had to swim back with Every. Single. Person looking at me. I normally like having strangers look at me, but that's when I'm on stage and prepared. 50 yards away from shore, and I was only prepared to do a leisurely breast stroke.

I think it took me 5-7 minutes to swim in. All the while, I could see the stormclouds rolling in, and the thunder sounding closer. I could see children pointing at me, all the serious swimmers drying off, watching to see if I would need one of them to save me; the lifeguards standing there with their red spongy rescue tube things they carry around...but I made it.

Unfortunately, my humiliation was not yet over.

The place where I swim is a combination pool/lake. It's shaped sort of like a quarter of a circle - there is a 90 degree angle on the left hand side, and a curve joins the two line segments together. The curved part has a cement bottom, and is pool-like, but also has a gradual slope as you enter - sort of like a cement beach with no waves. The lap lanes are towards the angle, and there is no gradual slope - it starts with a 4 foot depth and a cement bottom, and gradually gives way to about 15-20 feet with a natural bottom.

So I get to the shore, and I try to get out of the lane...and I can't. First try: I'm too short, I can't get enough of my body out; second try: I have no upper body strength and I can't pull myself up any further; third try: my legs aren't flexible enough to reach the cement edge. So I have to then cross under 4 other lanes to go back to the general swim area, all while every single eye was watching me.

I'm just glad that no one offered to help pull me out of the pool. I would have felt like a beached whale.

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