It’s the moon’s fault

I keep writing grumpy things. Apparently it’s the fault of the Super Moon. At least according to my other sensitive female friends on Facebook who are all also in a grumpy mood. So it’s not that we’re just a bunch of grumpy old cows, but it’s either down to the Moon, or Trump, or Nigel Farage or the cold snap in the weather, or lack of flattering knitwear for the Winter season. Possibly all of these things in combination.

Knowing I was grumpy, I decided to skip yoga and go for a swim instead. Normally swimming really relaxes me and sorts out my head. I love my gym – the pool room is dark and only faint blue lights dimly illuminate the water. No worrying about wobbly bits on show or unkempt bikini forests escaping the sides of one’s cozzie. It’s usually quiet and dark, like a church, and I can switch off there when I swim back and forth with my headphones in, listening to Freddie Mercury or Bowie or the Benny Hill Theme Tune.

But today’s swim was ruined by a bully. A woman in her 30s with a ‘proper’ costume (the muscle back type worn by women who think they are ‘proper’ swimmers) and proper goggles doing proper swimming strokes. She barged into a non-existent lane between me and a nice old chap who was minding his own business with a bit of innocent senior flailing. And then, although she was the one who pushed in, she point blank refused to make way for either of us who were there first, swimming in such sharply accurate straight lines from one end of the pool to the other you could practically imagine her using a set square to judge the exact angle she would deliberately mow me down with her extended breast strokes. That evil swim-bitch proceeded to hit or kick me no less than eight times in the next 15 minutes. Two of those hits really hurt. I actually recoiled and yelled OWW! through my mask/inbuilt snorkel thingy. But swim-fascist didn’t so much as look back. Leaving me in her wake she merely carried on, turned at the end of the lane with precision shark-like accuracy and made another beeline for me and did it again.

You’ll be wondering why I didn’t move out of her way. Well I would have, but I was penned in with 6 people on my left side with barely a hair’s breadth between us as it was. I kept trying to swim from left to right to duck out of the way of the lady next to me and the swim-bully-bitch-face-punchy-breast-stroker-cow-wanker that was making me increasingly mad, but it was just impossible.

Then I noticed there was someone else in the pool with us. It was my inner chimp, Thatcher. Thatcher was seething with rage towards the swim Hitler. Thatcher wanted me to block her lane in a confrontational manner, stand up out of the water with my hand outstretched in a ‘STOP’ motion as she came towards me and then either politely point out that she kept accidentally-on-purpose hitting and kicking me as she swam past and to please be more aware OR possibly just to eat her head using only my top teeth in a pick axe like motion and then spit her hair, proper goggles and proper muscle-back swimming costume into the pool filter to make an example of her kind to other pool users who dared ruin the sanctity of my serene morning swim during a supermoon.

I decided to be British and do neither. Instead I quietly seethed for 20 minutes of my half hour swim whilst passive aggressively spreading the reach of my own frog’s legs/breast stroke as much as I could, until I was practically doing the splits, Hot Gossip-style) as I passed her – creating a sort of karate kick style barrier around myself. Enter this zone you swim-Beelzebub and my size seven feet with the untrimmed gnarly toenails may well accidentally catch you in the sensitive part of your shin or ear.

I should point out that I’m a pacifist. I really am. I’m not at all confrontational. But if someone pushes me to the edge and calls out my chimp, then unparalleled rage has been known to spill from me like Vesuvius itself – sending thousands of people running for higher ground. Thatcher hated that swim bully SO much for spoiling everything with her aggressive breast stroke that had it not been for my enormous grownup self-control, there could well have been a very unpleasant incident involving deliberate splashing and a certain someone getting chlorine in their eyes. Possibly the elastic of their proper goggles being pulled back like a crossbow and then repeatedly pinged against a certain someone’s face. Possibly a certain someone receiving an atomic wedgie in their proper swimsuit – the kind that goes beyond any natural camel-toe experience.

But then she got out. And it was all OK again.

And for 10 blissful minutes I got to swim up and down feeling normal again, Thatcher settling back down to sleep in the inner recesses of my brain, Freddie Mercury soothing me with ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ and ‘Barcelona’; the beautiful warm water supporting my tense, heavy limbs and working out a few of those knots before the end of my session.

I swam half a mile and then rewarded myself with 5 minutes in the jacuzzi and 5 mintutes in the sauna. The latter not as relaxing as usual as five Eastern European ladies came in at once and proceeded to chatter loudly in a very beautiful, melodic-sounding but completely incomprehensible language (possibly Polish?). Their conversation sounded, in terms of tone, dramatic pauses, laughter and gasps of interest, like it was utterly fascinating and full of intrigue and I felt annoyed with myself that Polish is a language that I don’t even know one word of. Feeling a bit left out of the conversation (although I suppose I could have joined in with honorary gasps and ‘Ooohhhs’ with the others, nodding my head as if I understood every word), I decided to cut my losses and head back to the changing room.

Getting dressed, a sweet little old lady smiled at me warmly and said ‘Nice swim, dear?’ and then ‘Bit crowded wasn’t it.’ to which I nodded with a empathetic smile. And just when I was warming to the sweet little old crone, she then added ‘It’s all the fault of those foreign women. Who do they think they are, coming in here all at once, taking over our pool? Ruining my swim, crowding us out. I shall have to change the day I come swimming so I don’t have to see THAT lot again!’

And just like that, sweet little old lady became racist little old lady. Or to be more precise xenophobic Farage-loving Daily Express-reading little old lady. In an instant THATCHER was awake again and threatening to eat heads.

Maybe yoga would have been a better bet. But then Kath went and she said the air con was on too cold again and the little old ladies stole all the foam yoga blocks (some as many as four each) and there weren’t enough to go round and the yoga teacher was too airy-fairy-flimsy to actually confront anyone about the selfishness of it all; and I think Thatcher might have got to the poo-throwing stage at that point.

I blame the moon. That’s what people on Facebook are doing, so it must be true.

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Photo by Ian Sutherland (thanks Ian!)
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