hate don’t care for my local YMCA. the pool is always freezing cold, the membership fees are way too expensive, the summer and holiday hours are non-existant, and don’t even get me started on the crazies i have to share the pool with. so while the following should have come as no surprise, i still find myself shaking my head, wondering how shit luck always seems to find me.
a few weeks back, we had some severe weather roll through the area. minutes before heading out the door for a swim workout, the national weather service broke into NPR’s all things considered broadcast warning of strong rain, winds, hail, and possible tornados. but since the worst of it wasn’t supposed to hit for a few hours, i figured i could fit in my training and make it home before armageddon hit. and since the Y is built of brick and the pool is in the basement, i figured i was safe either way.
being a THU night, i had the pool all to myself. ‘this is rather peaceful’ i thought to myself as i put on my goggles. i warmed up, did my drills, and began my main set of laps. while nearing the end of the set, i noticed the lifeguard answering the phone rather frequently. i stopped, asked her if everything was alright, and was told things were “A O K.” i smiled, put my headphones back in, turned up the tunes, and resumed my swim. so when i was grabbed in the arm as i neared the wall on the very next lap, i had to admit i was a bit surprised. startled, i looked up to see the wide-eyed lifeguard staring back down at me.
“you have to get out of the pool,” she said in a nervous voice. “there’s a tornado on the other side of town!”
as if almost on que, the tornado siren rang. ‘great’ i thought as i climbed out of the pool. just my luck.
“we were instructed to have everyone go out in the hallway until it passes,” she said.
“cool. just let me grab my towel out of the locker room, and i’ll be right out,” i replied.
“no! the locker room is locked. you need to go out in the hallway right way!”
i have to pause here for a minute to say this: nude isn’t my best look. me in a speedo isn’t far off. and before you judge me for wearing one, know this: i’m not too concerned with the loonies at the pool seeing me in a speedo. also, the words modesty and triathlete aren’t exactly BFFs. think about it – we run around city streets in front of women and children wearing lycra. we blow snot out of our nose with the efficiency of a swiss clock. hell, some pee themselves during long races fearing that stopping will harm their chances of winning the race. and we do all these things for fun.
“the locker room’s what?” i asked in amazement.
“it’s locked. you need to come through the office,” she said with a hint of reservation.
“but i’m wearing a frickin’ speedo,” i proclaimed.
“oh, well…don’t worry. i’ll get you a towel.”
i seriously doubt a person could have dried out the kitchen sink with the towel she handed me. at best you could call it a dish cloth. and as she guided me through the office to the door that lead to the hall, i found myself wondering what the shit was going on. i remember asking myself, ‘it just doesn’t get much worse than this, does it?
let me tell you how it does.
as i entered the hallway, i found myself standing before two dozen teenage girls who had been pulled from their gymnastics training, another eight or so middle-aged racquetballers in all their sweaty glory, a handful of not so bad looking soccer moms, and an elderly lady that i swear let out a small gasp as her eyes caught sight of me. and as i stood there dripping wet in my speedo, half covered by my dishrag, i had to smile. ‘it could always be worse’, i thought to myself. ‘i could have worn the pink one tonight.’