So the other day I decided to go to a local gym to check out the facilities with my niece, Jessica. We went and met the perpetually bubbly and somewhat tanned girl behind the desk, who enthusiastically told us about the memberships available. I was only interested in the pool. This gym is the only one in the area that has open swim times in the early morning and late evening hours. So I was happy to hear that. The problem is that you can’t get a membership for just the pool, but you have to pay for the entire package, which is a lot more than the $ 10 per month at Planet Fitness or other gyms nearby.

Still, I was willing to consider the benefits. The little fireball behind the desk gave me a free pass to check out the pool. And so the next day my niece and I went back. Once again Miss Energetic was behind the desk. She looked even more tan than the day before! I thought of calling her Magda, after the character in Something About Mary, except that this girl is much younger.

Of course I had questions. First, I needed to know what the protocol was for swimming. When I used to go to the Y on Long Island, there were strict rules regarding lap swimming. You couldn’t just swim in a lap lane, unless you were actually swimming laps. So if you wanted to just swim for the fun of it, you did not go in one of the lap lanes.

You also had to enter the lap lane in the proper manner. You could only enter the lane from the left side, which apparently was the “starting” side. I had discovered this, when one time I entered from the other side. A woman was swimming in the lane from the other direction, and when she saw me in the locker room later, she practically yelled at me. “You can’t enter the lane from that side!” It wasn’t as if this woman was an Olympic swimmer or anything. Nevertheless, I took heed to her warning and soon became one of those lap swimmers who scowled at anyone who did not enter the lanes in the proper manner.

I also had to know what the protocol was for multiple swimmers in a lane. But when I asked the question the other day, it seemed as if Miss I-Live-At-The-Gym did not know the answer. Lucky for me, the lifeguard happened to walk up to the desk as I asked my questions. Yet she never did answer my “multiple lane” inquiry. She just kind of tilted her head.

Next I wanted to know what people wore on their feet. At this gym the pool is located down a hallway, separate from the locker rooms. So I wanted to know if most people wore flip flops or water shoes. She told me that some people wear flip flops, while others go barefoot. Barefoot in a gym? Ewwww!

Then I wanted to know about the open swim lanes, and if it gets crowded, and what time was the best time to swim in that lane? I got the feeling that the pool wasn’t a popular attraction at this gym. And that’s okay with me, because I don’t like crowds.

Finally all of my questions were answered, and it was time to go swimming! I changed into my swimsuit, while my niece waited. She was heading for the treadmill. But I needed her opinion. I hadn’t worn the suit in some time, and I needed to make sure I could actually wear it in public. I had brought two duffel bags with me. One held the swim gear and one held clothes and sneakers in case I had to skip swimming and go with her instead.

Although the suit was baggy in some areas, it passed inspection. Next came the swim cap. I must wear one, because if the chlorine from the pool gets in my hair, I’m done. Since I had just colored my hair the day before, I could not take the chance of green hair for work today!

The swim cap I have is purple, and it fits tight against the scalp. Trying to put it on while it is dry is a challenge. It took me five minutes, while my niece and I were laughing at me. After getting that thing on, I was now ready to put on the flip flops and flap my way to the pool. My niece left to go to the machines, and I walked the hallway to the pool.

There were three other people in the pool; a man and his two young daughters. I’m sure that I frightened the girls as I flip-flopped my way over to a chair with my purple cap on that made my head look like a colored Easter egg, and my baggy swim suit. But, graciously, they didn’t say anything. Then again, I may not have heard it since the cap was over my ears!

I enjoyed the swim for about a half an hour. I don’t really know the time, since there were no clocks in the pool area. Once again I realized that this pool is not made for “the lappers,” as I call them. People who swim laps need the clocks to keep time. No one at this gym is concerned about competitive swimming. Again, that’s okay with me. But I will need to bring a watch with me next time. Otherwise, I will be swimming away and probably lose track of time and be late for work!

After the swim I flip-flopped back to the locker room, where I showered off all of that chlorine and met up with my niece again.

All in all, it was a good experience. Now that I can figure out a routine that will work for me, I was pretty confident that I could deal with this gym. I am even okay with paying the extra fee for the pool. I was looking forward to going today and formally joining as a member.

And then we get a snow/ice/sleet storm which made the roads too slippery to drive to the gym. So swimming will have to wait until another day.  I wonder if Miss Perpetually Peppy will be at the desk next time, and if she will have been to the tanning salon yet again!