Welcome to our ool

Do you ever look for a seat on a bus where every window seat is taken and every rider has a row all to him or herself? If you have to be the first person to sit next to someone what person do you pick? Nine times out of ten, you pick me. There’s something about me, I look non-threatening, good-smelling, not intimidatingly hot, probably not wearing earphones that are blasting bass, and likely to suppress my rage that I no longer have the row to myself. It’s something I realized back when I was commuting to the city via bus every day, and something that I’ve become painfully aware of now that I’m swimming in the morning twice a week.

The pool I swim in has six lanes, and on average about seven people show up for the morning swim session. Guess who has always had to share a lane. Yes, even in a swim cap and goggles, and even though I try and swim in a very serious, flip-turny, don’t mess with me because I’m such a hardcore swimmer fashion, the last person to arrive always finds me in my lane and asks to join in. And of course I always agree because even though splitting a lane means I’ll bump into the lane lines, and get kicked while doing breast stroke, it seems rude to say no. It also means that every time I stop to take a rest I have to deal with Motormouth Maryanne.

Motormouth Maryanne is a lady who hopped into my lane one morning and started talking to me and hasn’t stopped since. She’s preventing me from breaking world records in Australia because every time I’m about to get going, she always has something to chat about.

Today, I saw her come in, so I said to myself, “I’m going to do 200 meters (that’s 4 laps or 8 lengths for you non-swimmers) of full out swim with flip turns and not stop so that she gets the point that I’m here to work out, not chat.” It almost worked but for the fact that I’m not quite ready to swim 200 meters full out, after finishing I had to make sure my heart didn’t explode inside my ribcage by pausing to breathe at the shallow end. During this time, Motormouth Maryanne swims up to me.

“Hey! Glad you’re feeling better, can you believe that I’m late again? I bet you thought you were going to have the lane to yourself. It looks like we’re the only women here today! The coach gave me a mean look for being late, but I told him it’s earlier than last time.” Then she grabs a kickboard and swims off, splashing water in my face.

By the time she gets back, I’m gearing up to do another round of swimming, and just as I’m about to take off she says, “So are you joining the Masters swim team?”

“Maybe,” I shrug.

“Yeah, I would do that, but I was talking to the other lady who swims here, you know, the one with the gray hair, and she said that it’s an additional $30 to join the Masters, and then you have to pay for the meet, and then you have to pay for each individual event, and you have to actually get to the race, and I have kids and a family, so I can’t just spend my money on anything that I want to, I have to think about them, you know?”

“Mmm,” I reply.

“Well, you’re lucky, because you don’t have a family, so you can do whatever you want and you don’t have to worry about what you spend your money on because no one else really cares, because we have to pay a lot these taxes this year but my husband takes care of all of that. Besides, then you’ll have to join the Monday Wednesday Friday group and it’s much more crowded there and you always have to share a lane with someone.” Then, she swims off ahead of me.

“Yeah, sharing a lane would really suck.” I say, brushing water out of my eyes and putting my goggles back on. I swim a couple of laps, and stop to get a pull buoy from the edge.

“I’m completely falling out of this bathing suit, it’s brand new, but way too big at the top here. Where did you get yours?”


“Really? I never would have thought to go there, I didn’t even know they sell suits, I got mine at the sporting goods store, but I guess that’s not a good place to buy suits if you’re a big girl like you and I are. I’m going to have to get some new goggles as well. Where are yours from?”

“Uh, the city. They’re prescription.”

“Wow! I didn’t even know that they made those. I would have loved to have them, a few years ago, but now I have perfect vision because I had laser surgery, and it’s the best. You should try laser surgery, my life is so much better now that I can see and in the morning I can see the clock, but I guess that doesn’t help me get to swimming any earlier ha ha!”

“Yeah, okay, I’ll look into it, right after I finish this set.” As I prep to do a few laps of backstroke, she dives off and splashing some water in my direction.

The only tolerable thing about sharing a lane with this woman is that I usually have to leave a little early to shower and get ready for work, so I only have about forty minutes dealing with her babble. But then, as I’m getting ready to go, she shows up at the locker room. “I see you’re using chlorine removal shampoo. Do you find that works? My hairdresser told me that the city water has so much chlorine in it, showering here doesn’t make much of a difference after a swim. But I guess you have to go to work, and I’m just going home to watch my children, and it doesn’t matter if I spend as much time doing my hair as you do. I guess I won’t see you next week because it’s spring break and the pool is closed, did the coach tell you that? He just mentioned it to me when he was telling me some new advice on improving my stroke, so I’ll see you in two weeks!”

In case you missed it, this woman is really starting to grate on me. But, I’m the strong, quiet type, and I prefer to get my revenge in a more passive aggressive manner. So now, every time she starts talking to me when I’d rather be swimming, I pee a little. It may be juvenile, but damn it feels good.


14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by lizgwiz on March 29, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Bwaa! She sounds annoying beyond words. Maybe if she really starts to get to you, you could toss a Baby Ruth in the pool. šŸ˜‰

  2. Posted by Alyson on March 29, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    I spent the 1.5 years that I commuted from NJ to NYC trying to figure out how to get people to NOT sit with me on the bus. It sucks b/c if you put a bag on the empty seat you’re an asshole, but it’s really the only way!

  3. Posted by The Dutchess of Kickball on March 29, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    YOU DO NOT?!?!?!?!

  4. Posted by -R- on March 29, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    I have the same problem. People ALWAYS sit by me on the bus. I have tried staring down people as they get on the bus, but I must not have a very mean stare down.

    At least the people who sit by me on the bus are quiet though. Maybe if you accidentally kick the chatty lady in the head a few times, she will switch lanes.

  5. Posted by NancyPearlWannabe on March 29, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    I totally get you on this one. I could be sitting on the T completely alone and the very next person to get on will choose the seat that will cause our asses to be touching, they’re so close. Maybe we need to get scarier demeanors?

  6. Posted by Anonymous on March 29, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    Maryanne reminds me of the man who hangs out outside the building where my office is. He likes to come up to me (always and only me) to make sure I’m taking care of “my lady.”

    By whom he means my boss.

    –The Grey Boy

  7. Posted by xsquared on March 29, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    I start getting all tense and edgy just READING about this woman, ugh! I’m so sorry you have to deal with her. LOVE your revenge!

  8. Posted by stefanie on March 29, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    Oh my. I am exhausted just reading that; I am very glad I don’t have to live it.

    I like R’s idea that you kick her in the head a few times “accidentally.” Um, not that I’m condoning physical violence. Never.

    Also, who doesn’t know that Target sells swimsuits?? They are right at the front of the store, and there are about 17 racks of them. How does one miss that??

  9. Posted by Mermu on March 29, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    You could tell her that you are attracted to her and you’ve never felt this way about an older woman before….

  10. Posted by Noelle on March 30, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    lizgwiz – sounds like delicious revenge!

    alyson – sometimes, I pretend that I’m asleep. I’ve actually been woken up by people who want to sit next to me even though there are other empty seats!

    dutchess – do I?

    -r– sometimes, when you give the stare down, and you’re a cute girl, people think it’s even cuter!
    I will work on my aim for the head kick.

    NPW – I know, it’s like a punishment for looking nice.

    Grey Boy – (thanks for coming out of hiding) I hope this guy doesn’t actually think your boss is your lady! Is he maybe trying to get a piece?

    xsquared – the moment I see her walk into the pool area, I get edgy. You may use this revenge yourself, if you so desire.

    stefanie – I have actually and truly accidentally kicked her before, but that seems to offer no deterrence. Unlike your neck of the woods, there’s only one Target within 35 miles of here, and it’s kind of small. So it is likely that she would have missed the swimsuit section. Not that it doesn’t make me want to kick her in the head, however.

    Mermu – that’s an interesting approach, but possibly a dangerous game…

  11. Posted by Jarod on March 30, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    What a great desrciption! You got me laughing.
    In the past, I have been known to simply say, “Do you realize that you haven’t stopped talking since I’ve seen you? It amazing.”

    I’m nicer now, though – I think (?)

  12. Posted by Sadie Says on April 2, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Not only do I always have to share a seat, on long train or plane rides I always get the chatty person! And putting on your earphones and watching TV or listening to music does not help. I can’t understand people who can’t pick up HUGE social clues like that.

    p.s. And another thing. When sharing a seat, why do men have to open their legs as wide as possible–taking up half of the seat next to them? Why Why Why?

  13. Posted by Noelle on April 2, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    jarod – it is mean, but I’ll give it a try!

    Sadie – I don’t know, but they do! When I try and “take up space” it never works.

  14. Posted by Jessica on April 5, 2007 at 5:10 am

    “Big girl!” Who is she talking about?! I mean, really!

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