Monday, July 28, 2014

The Community Pool

The Ironman is only like eight weeks away now and I know this is likely not the case, but I think we may have somehow gone through a time warp and skipped like eleventy weeks. Because just a few minutes ago the Ironman was nearly twenty weeks away. And now it's eight weeks away.

Eight is less than twenty, guys.

I know because I put the numbers next to each other and then used the greater-than and less-than signs to compare them and the pointy end looked at the eight.


I'm having a hard time training right now because my big toenail is like a car hood at the moment since it apparently experienced some intense trauma at the Pioneer Day Marathon last week. Seriously. It's only connected to my toe at the base of the nail. You can raise it to be perpendicular to the toe.

I just lifted it up and tested the carburetor.


This makes running difficult, biking painful, and swimming super gross. Well, gross for everyone else who has to share a pool with me.

With my luck, the people who go to my gym aren't going to let me swim there anymore because they'll somehow all see that last confession.

Joke's on them though. I've had my foot disease for like ten years now and that hasn't stopped me from soaking it in water that they inevitably swallow with each dunk of the head.

And the foot disease didn't stop me a couple of weeks ago when I did an incredibly embarrassing thing at the community pool.

So, it's well established on Stranger that I have a tendency to do embarrassing things more often than the average person. I have decided to just accept and embrace the fact that I'm a relatively awkward human being. I make questionable decisions in social settings. Unfortunately, my fear of committing social faux pas when doing something only sort of embarrassing often causes me to over-correct and turn a slightly uncomfortable situation into utter humiliation.

See this and this and this and this and this and this.

So it shouldn't be a huge surprise that I committed a not insignificant error recently at the community pool.

The pool at the gym I go to is like the size of your bathtub. Seriously. It measures 20 yards across. What this means is that when I'm trying to train for an Ironman in this pool, in which I'm supposed to somehow swim 2.4 miles in Lake Tahoe, I have to go 80 plus laps in the gym pool to feel like I've done anything at all.

Turning around that many times for the 9 and a half hours it takes me to swim those 80 plus laps has caused me to permanently have vertigo. Which is making my dream of being a pole dancer in Reno very difficult.

So I've resorted to heading down the street to the community pool. The community pool is much much larger. I'll still do most of my swims at my regular gym, but I venture to the other place whenever I need to do one of my especially long swim workouts. Unfortunately, I don't know this community pool and accompanying VERY large and confusing building nearly as well as I know the gym that I attend every day. And that's exactly how this awful thing that happened to me was able to occur.

I had just finished my swim. It was miserable. I was cranky and hungry and willing to shove anyone who got in my way directly into the deep end of the pool. And by the way, shoving is against one of the stated rules at this pool.


I was carrying my bag with me, intending to go to the locker room, shower, change into respectable clothing, and leave. Like a good and decent human being.

At the time I was dressed OK I'LL JUST SAY IT quite slutty. I was wearing a Speedo.


I'll have you know that even in America, we have determined that such outfits are ok as long as you are (A) Swimming laps in a pool, (B) Just kidding, or (C) THERE AREN'T OTHER ACCEPTABLE SITUATIONS SO PUT ON SOME BOARD SHORTS BECAUSE THIS IS A BEACH FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE.

The problem with my very simple plan was that I could not for the life of me remember how to get back to the locker room. Suddenly there were about 40 different doors I could have sworn were not there before. All of them led to long hallways or areas that seemed like they should be off limits to the general public.

I knew that because I was in a locker-room-type situation, I needed to be particularly careful about my decisions. Because the last thing I need in my life right now is to not be able to go back to yet another gym.

I tried some of the doors. Several were locked. Some went down hallways that were long so I turned back around quickly because they just didn't seem right.

Eventually, I set my bag down against a wall, in the interest of making this process go faster, and began checking the doors in rapid succession.

Finally I opened one that I thought looked promising and stepped through it.

Just then I realized that I was in fact NOT standing in a locker room, but I was instead standing in the front lobby of the building.

No big deal, you might suggest. Except, it was a big deal. Because this very very very large building is not just a place that houses pools. It also has other things for which a Speedo is not an appropriate outfit. For example, there is an indoor ice skating rink at this place. And dozens of people were in the lobby preparing to go ice skating. Like, on dates or as families. Also, nobody in the front lobby was dressed slutty. Everyone was wearing street clothes. So it was just me who looked like . . . the pole dancer from Reno.

Aware, suddenly, that I was dressed quite inappropriately in a respectable place, I turned around to go back through the door I had just entered.

Click. Shake. Pound. Shake. Shake. SHAKE. SHAKE!

The door. That freaking door. The only door through which I most definitely should NOT have gone, was LOCKED.

And little Eli, always making the wise decisions that he does, found himself on the opposite side of that door from where his bag and clothing was.

I stood, pulling on the door handle, as though my doing so might somehow make the fact that it was locked no longer a true fact.

This did not work.

I turned around again, and saw a crowded lobby of nicely dressed people staring at the dripping man in a Speedo standing on the far end.

And then I began my long walk of shame through the people. Everyone who has ever gone ice skating in their entire lives was in that lobby. I think I even saw Tanya Harding there. I got her autograph. She took out one of my knee caps.

Unfortunately--yes, this keeps going--I could not remember, even from the lobby, how to get to the correct locker room or pool area so I could retrieve my bag.

This place nonsensically has multiple locker rooms that are not connected to one another. And, in my humble and completely nondramatic opinion, I don't think these locker rooms or the path to the pool are adequately labeled.

So I wandered. In my Speedo. Dripping water on the dry lobby and hallway floors. Passed the people. Who were not wearing Speedos. And who were looking at me as though I was that European at the beach.

And I was all like, AT LEAST I'M NOT HAIRY!

And mothers pulled their children away. And fathers shook their heads.

And finally I had to ask someone for help. Because I was turned around so many times in the confusion and could not seem to find my way back to where I had left my bag.

Eventually I found it. It was the fastest shower and change of clothes I've ever experienced in my life.

I felt humiliated. And then I remembered that in the Ironman I have to run out of the lake and quickly change into my biking clothes to start the next leg of the triathlon. And I was like, "oh my gosh! This was actually really good practice!"

And I yelled to the people in the lobby on my way out, "I MEANT TO DO THAT!"

On a side note, does anyone know where I can find another pool?

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. a pictures worth a million wordsJuly 29, 2014 at 12:40 AM

    Would it be okay for me to be your personal camera crew... This stuff could win all kinds of prizes that photographers might be able to win, if there are photographer prizes. I'd be like the unseen camera people on the amazing race or something. I'll wear normal clothes and eat normal food, but I'll just document everything you do for those of us who need visual aids. (Your dramatic readings of the lost journals help people like me immensely by the way)

    1. I will create an award just in the hopes I would see this! LOL

  2. laughing til my sides hurt, especially when you put your bag down, because nothing good ever happens after you put down the one thing that you can use to block your slutty speedo from view. I went back to read this and this and this and this and this. It's as though your whole life is a show being written by script writers who refuse to use a punch line other than "Eli naked in a locker room/gym/spa and then in public".
    By the way, you forgot to tell Cathie and Bob that you don't know what a pole dancer does.

    1. Wait. Is that an inappropriate job?! I'M SO INNOCENT THAT I FORGOT TO TELL CATHIE THAT I DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT IS!

  3. When your toenail starts looking like a car hood that doesn't close, you just need to rip your toenail off. It's mildly painful for only a second, but the happiness and number of shoes you're able to wear after that increase at an incredible rate.

    1. I agree, get rid of that albatross. For the sake of fast healing for the ironman, you might consider having a podiatrist do it for you. I sound calm and normal typing this, but please be clear that I am barfing heartily on the inside, where it counts.

  4. Have you considered hiring a full time chaperon? This might reduce the number of gym/pools/locker rooms you can never visit again!

    1. I submit Mr. Daniel for my vote!

    2. But who would be Mr. Daniel's chaperone? We can't leave that one unattended.

    3. Whatever happened to Disney Prince Hair?

    4. It's probably about time for an update on him! I'll see if he's free to step down from his Disney throne for a minute to say hi.

  5. Anonymous has a brilliant idea... little Eli needs a chaperone. But a chaperone would inevitably reduce the amount of mishaps we get to read about here... there's the downside.

    The Starving Inspired

  6. Did anyone else notice that not all of the "this" links go to past posts? I freaking love this blog.

  7. But really Eli, so many of your mishaps occur when you're stark naked. Shouldn't having at least a speedo on be considered progress?

  8. I remember a time before I joined the swim and water polo team when I thought speedos were gross.

  9. Oh my actual gosh. I thought this kind of walk of shame stuff only happened to me. Welcome to the club!

    I avoid unknown gyms like the plague, for pretty much this very reason. I have a membership that I rarely use, (so I can swim), because I always get there, get all showered and suited up and drippy, and walk out to the pool, (which I finally feel comfortable FINDING), to find that ALL THE LANES ARE FULL. So my choice is to casually walk around the pool dripping wet like I *meant* to do that, or I am possibly intently checking the floor for an earring I lost, or I can go back and sit in the locker room and keep popping back out randomly to see if a lane is open. Or leave. Which sometimes I do. I just shower and walk around dripping wet, and then get dressed and LEAVE. But I act super grownup about it.

  10. As slutty as a speedo might have appeared, at least you were wearing SOMETHING. Just think, you could have been heading out of the shower in a towel, gone through that door, got the towel stuck in the door when it shut and THEN....

  11. Also, those sentences about your toe will haunt me for weeks. All I could think while I read was "stop it stop it STOP IT!!"

    1. Count yourself lucky you didn't get the two text messages he sent his whole family today with pictures of said toe.


    2. Or maybe you will all be blessed to see them Friday in pictures and distractions.

      I hope not!

  12. How do these things happen to you all the time always??

    Also, I'm sure your hair looked terrific.

  13. Forego the laps and swim tethered. It may get boring, but what is there to see in a pool anyway.

    Aqua Sphere Stationary Swimmer

  14. Why is it easy to imagine Jolyn Metro being on the other side of that locked door giggling more and more with each frantic pound on the door and shake of the door handle?

  15. "And Mothers pulled their children away. And Fathers shook their heads." so. funny.

  16. Every time I read a post like this from you, one question comes to do you survive in life?

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  18. Whenever you start a story with "something embarrassing happened to me," I never expect it to be quite so bad as it almost always turns out to be. I'm bookmarking this to read on a crappy day, because I haven't laughed this hard in weeks!

    Thanks for sharing!

  19. Did you ever tell Cathie that you don't know what a Speedo is??? Because when you say you're wearing one is it just like a bathing suit that you can speedily put on?? Because I think those are a little revealing maybe

  20. I totally know which pool you're referring to. It is a tangled mess of hallways and doors and I never understood the 2 separate locker rooms. One of the first times I went swimming there I walked into the wrong locker room and was supper confused. Good luck on your Ironman though! I have that race on my schedule for next year. I'll check back here to see what you thought of it.