Monthly Archives: April 2013

Things I Learned at the Eastern Market Swimming Pool

After a fun-filled (and wine-filled and fancy cocktail-filled and food-filled) weekend with my mother and my cousin Jo a couple weeks ago in New York City, I came back to D.C. with a renewed dedication to eat vegetables and exercise.  Because while I’ve said many things about my mother, let it be known that woman can vacation.  And as a result, you feel incredibly fat, yet admittedly cultured and well-loved after a weekend in the big city.  (Or as my brothers and I learned after a harrowing “go big or go home” 5 days of canoeing in the Boundary Waters– tired, sore, tricked, covered in misquote bites and swearing up and down that family vacations were now optional.)

I decided late last week to give swimming a try, mostly because I was incredibly sick of running and all the pools in D.C. are free if you are a resident (which is the only reason I became a D.C. resident, by the way).  I packed a two-piece suit, because I don’t anything of the one-piece variety, a towel and goggles, and headed to the pool with the intention of swimming laps.

I vaguely remember some swimming lessons as a kid, and growing up in Minnesota, we were full-fledged water babies May through August at my mom’s cabin.  Many of my friends growing up were on the swim team, so by comparison I knew I wasn’t the best swimmer on the block but figured I could pass as an adult.

The second I jumped in the water I knew I was horribly horribly  wrong.  My goggles fogged up (maybe I should have gone for the $20 pair instead of the $10), my bathing suit bottoms slipped off my hips and I inhaled a mouth full of chlorine.  Being the ever so graceful lady that I am, I tied one side of my bathing suit bottoms in a knot to hold them up (literally) and spit in my goggles– a childhood trick that has no scientific basis whatsoever.

I spent the next 30 minutes breast stroking and free styling back and forth across the pool praying the Speedo-clad men and women carrying fancy kickboards would pick another lane because there was a good chance I might accidentally kick them as they sped by me and holy shit, they were making me feel bad.  Because again, I thought I was a decent swimmer, but in reality, my skill level might just be one notch above not drowning.

They called a lane change at the end of my half hour and I gleefully jumped out of the pool, glad for an excuse to quit.  Surveying my surroundings before I headed to the locker room, I smiled at the old ladies doing water aerobics and the younger kids splashing on the steps– in this transient city of ours, it was nice to see of community of people.  And, for my safety as well as others, a lifeguard just in case.

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