Swimming at SeaWorld has nothing on Paris

Ever wondered where those old fat people you get stuck behind on the footpath are heading?

It’s to the public swimming pool.

To give some context to what I’m about to describe, I was in full training for a marathon when I injured my shin, and so have started swimming to keep up my endurance.

But whereas running in Paris is a very solitary sport, swimming, I’ve discovered, is communal. And thus, rather than affecting my endurance, this physical activity has been affecting my tolerance. And not in a positive way.

It’s all about diversity. This is multicultural Paris, after all, the city where the mixing pot receives that rich spice of life. Why, just look at the metro in the morning – people from all ages, creeds, religions, all brought together by the fact they don’t yet deserve an office car-park.

This is why Paris Parmentier Aquatic Centre says, “If we’ve got the same pool of people, why classify them into lanes?” If you have four swimming lanes, why would you do the normal thing of designating one for kids, one for learners, one for slow/medium swimmers, and one for people wearing “penis moulds” (the local vernacular)?

I’ll tell you why: because I don’t like rocketing up some granny’s crack after she’s merged into my lane without indicating –and again, how predictable– at the 14-metre mark.

I’m not saying I’m that great or that fast, but Paris swimming pools are like a missile defense shield: so many people swimming at different speeds, styles, and definitions of straight, they’d block even the Thorpedo.

It’s not that I’m upset, it’s just I don’t like getting touched up. Forget breaststroke; it’s thigh, hip and arms stroke too.

Standing at the shallow end waiting for the debris to clear, I had to jump out of the way on numerous occasions as some returning swimmer’s hand made a direct, and difficult target out of my penis.

Exiting the pool, time for communal showers. “Can I borrow your body wash please?” the woman showering next to me asked. She clearly didn’t recognise me as the guy that has just given her a rectal in the lap-lane, so, after washing my hands one more time I handed it to her, saying, “that will be 50 cents please.”

“Oh. Sorry,” she said. She handed the bottle back.

“I was joking!” I said. I hadn’t been talking about the soap.

Back at the office, emails where flying back and forth; a contest who could make the best joke out of the news that a keeper at SeaWorld, had been drowned by a Killer Whale.

Half her luck, I thought. Drowning while swimming with whales can happen in worse places than Florida.

(News Flash! A new Free Willy sequel is in the works, honouring the SeaWorld victim. It’s called “Let Go, Willy”)


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