The past few weeks, I have been getting up at 5:30am to go swimming before work.
I like that time of the day… the roads are quiet, and I usually listen to Vanessa Feltz’s chirpy voice on Radio 2. I pass the occasional car and often wonder where and why its occupants are out at such a time – perhaps finishing a night shift or going to the gym…
My first early morning at the pool was a strange one. I arrived at 5:55am, and waited outside with half a dozen others for the doors to open at 6. I noticed many of them smiling and whispering a greeting to each other, but everyone ignored me. Was I an outsider? Not part of their early morning club?
Once in the pool, I had to deal with the lanes. What is the swimming etiquette, I wondered? Can you overtake a slower swimmer, or is this considered impolite? (As it turns you, you can, or everyone does, anyway). I tried smiling at the others, but no one seemed to return my friendliness.
By the second week, I recognised the regulars – and was greeted by smiles and the occasional ‘good morning’ – I have become a member of the club! Now I am the one glaring at the occasional newcomer, someone who might threaten our little routine and overcrowd the pool.
I’m a people-watcher, I’ve realised. Perhaps it’s something that comes with being a writer – you notice people.
Another EMS (early morning swimmer) is a guy who pulls a rather unusual face while swimming. He’s concentrating and I don’t like to mock anyone who makes the effort to take exercise at 6am, but he makes me smile. He also makes me wonder; do I pull a comical face while swimming? So, now I work hard to maintain as neutral an expression as possible. One EMS is severely obese and I commend her efforts, too. She’s the friendliest of the crowd.
Then there’s Flip-Flop EMS, who leaves her yellow footwear by the pool before swimming faster than any of the rest of us; and the retired couple who are the slowest. The oddest EMS is a guy who swims with his arms only – his legs just gliding behind him.
I commend all of their efforts, regardless 🙂
Sarah << EMS