Sitting in Doris Green with wet hair and stiff wrists, I rang Ads.
“Hello babe,” he chirped. “Where are you?”
“Just finished swimming. I’m in the car waiting for Pix to finish her theatre group.” Leaned my elbow on rim of window and watched a grey-skinned, curly haired man shuffle up the pathway. He’d been in the pool at the same time as me and I’d had suspicions that he was odd by the way he had manoeuvred himself into the water. Instead of swimming, he’d attached himself to pool wall like a crusty barnacle then proceeded to watch the lady swimmers with beady eyes. My suspicions of oddness were now 100% confirmed for as he shambled along, I could see that he was having a FULLY FLEDGED conversation with himself. Mmmmmm.
At that moment I snapped out of my thoughts and realised Ads was asking me something.
“I said did you do many lengths?”
“Yep. Yep. About forty. I could have gone on but my wrists got cramp. In fact, I still can’t move my hands because they are so stiff.”
Think I might have repetitive strain injury.
Think I may also be suffering from post Zorb-Ball Stress Syndrome, because as Ads started to talk, I just drifted right off again.
This time I started watching two women who’d also been in the pool with me. One was blonde and slitty eyed. The other was brunette and bony. They looked like very straight, conventional teacher-types with sharp elbows and sarcy tongues.
They’d swum up and down the pool in a very sloooooow, chatty, not bothered about really raising our heart-rates sort of way and then had the cheek to invade my speedy swim/runway. And because there were two of them, they managed to squeeze me to one side towards Barnacle Man. I tried to continue swimming at my unintentional-quicker-than-than-everyone-else-pace and each time I lapped the ladies, they gave me side-ways looks.
Became self-conscious. Hung on the edge of the pool and massaged stiff wrists. It then occurred to me that perhaps I was in the wrong part of the pool? Rather than swimming up and down in the Slow/Standard Lane, maybe I should upgrade to the Fast Lane? After all, I was swimming a the same speed as the fast lane people …
And this is where it was weird.
I Was Frightened Of Going Into The Fast Lane.
I mean, what is that all about?
I hung there for some time arguing with myself about whether or not just to duck under the string of floats into the fast lane and then thinking “no, I couldn’t!”. In the end I declared “Stiff wrists. Getting out!” and just left the pool completely.
“Babe? Babe? You still there?”
Oh. Sugar. Ads.
“Yes! Yes, I’m here!” Pressed mobile to ear as I peered into dark car park and saw Pix coming towards me, waving. “Ads, Pix is finished. I’ll be home in half an hour.”
All the way home, whilst Pix and Jol’s daughter sang renditions of “Ghost Busters”, I drummed the steering wheel and thought about the Fast Lane fear and how this also applies to living life. These are questions that I drummed;
1. Why, if we are 100% capable of going into the Fast Lane, do we hold back?
2. Why are humans so caught up in what others will say/think if they dare to champion their own abilities?
3. What are my fears about being in the fast lane? (Teacher-types looking over and judging; not being able to maintain my pace; breaking my own limited expectations; taking a risk and instead of doing a super fast breast-stroking (comfort zone stroke) having to put effort into front crawl (energetic heart racing stroke); loads more).
4. How can we all become more comfortable with the petrifying risk of actually succeeding?
Possibly because my wrists were stiff or possibly because I have Post-Zorb-Ball-Syndrome or possibly because I was being exposed to the Ghost Busters song at 2 million decibels, I did not clarify the answers to these questions. But I will do. And then I will share any ideas with you. And then I will embrace the Fast Lane.
In the meantime, if you have any thoughts on this, I’d really love to read your words. x