Today was another successful day of not-swimming. Like most people I was born with the talent of not-swimming. Unlike most, I went on to refine it by becoming more clumsy and even less buoyant in the water.
But tonight I agreed to go with Jeff and Jason to the Canada Games Pool in New Westminster. As you might guess from the name this is a rather large pool and it comes complete with amenities like a sauna, swirl pool, kiddie pool, a nutty water slide, basketball hoops and even ping pong tables. The ping pong tables are not in the water.
After changing into my swimming trunks, a newer pair that had never actually touched water, we padded out into the slightly muggy pool area. We shot some basketballs, which you aim at hoops that will keep score in 30 second increments to better prove how basketball is clearly not your thing (as in my case). Next we moved onto the ping pong and I’m reasonably good at this. There is a bit of a ramp-up effect where if someone hits the ball back a little hard it’s natural to do the same until someone sends it rocketing off into oblivion. We managed to avoid oblivion but did have to chase a few balls beyond the official perimeter.
At this point I was quite pleased with myself. I had not drowned! I had yet to get wet but that’s a minor detail. That was about to change, though, as we approached Big Thunder, the name of the water slide. They claim it’s the largest indoor slide in BC and I have no reason to doubt that. It’s essentially a giant green corkscrew that funnels you into a lane of water about half a meter deep at the end. Jason goes first, followed by Jeff who displaces about three bathtubs of water on the way down (Jason thoughtfully warned me of this in advance).
My turn came and instead of being nervous I just slid, sitting up at first but that was slow enough to feel like grandma mode, so I laid down and by the last turn I was feeling the force of a good rollercoaster as I whipped around and into the lane. I ended with a snootful of water but it was still good clean fun.
We next lounged around in the shallow pool (slightly over waist deep), tossing balls around and absolutely not peeing because no one ever pees in a public swimming pool. With time starting to wind down Jeff and I moved to the adults-only swirl pool while Jason moved to the kids pool (AKA the one pool where even I couldn’t flounder and go under). The swirl pool was nice and warm but not hot like I had expected. We shared it with a guy who was probably between 350-400 pounds. I’m calling it a gland condition because he actually seemed fitness-aware.
After the swirl pool we moved to the sauna. I read the warning sign on the way out, as I often do things backward like that. It didn’t tell me what I really already knew: I don’t like saunas. I felt like I was slowly suffocating and of course it’s really quite hot. I’ve always found saunas curious. Under the same conditions people would be turning on fans, activating air conditioners or pouring ice down their tops but the sauna is embraced for the same stupidly hot conditions. Yeah, it’s therapeutic or something. I’d rather lift weights. I left Jeff to sweat it out and returned to the more relaxing jets of the swirl pool.
As we had arrived late we ran out of time before long and had to depart, making a quick stop in the shower on the way out. As expected, about half the guys were au naturel while the rest showered with tier swim trunks on. Not that I was looking or anything but if tonight was any indication this is not a pool frequented by Adonis-like bodies. Still, it’s good to see people out doing that whole fitness/exercise kind of thing.
As I write this I smell of chlorine. I feel like I’ve been sanitized for your protection. It’s not entirely unpleasant, though my hands are a bit dry.
I enjoyed the evening. I want to play ping pong again. The slide was fun. The swirl pool was relaxing.
Water still terrifies me, though. Maybe I’ll consider lessons again, as long as the first lesson is titled “So You Want to Learn How to Swim But Water Scares the Living Crap Out of You”.