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Despite having reserved a lane and getting there five minutes early, the pool is full and I’m going to have to share a lane. I hate that. And, in this age of COVID-19, I don’t even feel we should be doing that, but….whatever. It’s 7 a.m. on a Monday and I’m standing at the pool in my bathing suit, so dammit, I’m swimming.

There’s a lane line missing at the end, so I slip in between a walker on my right and an older guy swimming on my left. I try to indicate to both of them that I’ll stay in the middle between the two black lines, but they both ignore me so I just start swimming; they’ll figure it out.

It’s cold. Really cold in my spot because it’s where the pipes are putting in fresh water and it’s coming out cold. Very cold. It’s like swimming through a patch of ice water every time I turn — at both ends cold water is pouring in at the exact spot I need to turn/swim.

I keep looking to my right to see if any of the other lanes are clearing. Surely some of these people will not swim the entire 45 minutes. One is just treading water in the deep end, taking up a whole lane to do so and I’m so annoyed.

But, I’m always annoyed these days. Annoyed. Irritated. Pissed off is my natural state these days. I don’t even now why. Weather? Politics? Pandemic fatigue? Perimenopause? Depression? Mid-life crisis? The big 5-0 coming up fast?  I have no idea, I just know that it all feels exhausting.

As I swim, the pool is still not clearing out and I think: Of course. Whatever. Let the strong mother endure the shit lane. The blast of freezing water every 25 yards, straddling two lanes hoping not to piss anyone off. Endure, endure, endure. Story of every woman’s life.

It’s International Woman’s Day and I’m not even sure what that is or how it came about or what it means. Nobody cares about women. Never have, never will. They really just want us to shut up and keep being the good, selfless workhorses we’ve always been. Endure, endure, endure. And, for heaven’s sake, do it with a smile and some gratitude and, for the love of god, put on some makeup and a bra and, whatever do you, do not get fat.

Take the shitty lane. Try to keep everyone happy.  Don’t complain. Grin and bear it.

Endure, endure, endure.

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About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. I just start writing.