The Bat and the Battle Axe

To the Old Bat and the Battle Axe:

Just wanted to drop you two a quick note to follow up on our almost-conversation this afternoon. You remember me right? I’m the one with the goggles and red swim cap in my hand; I was sitting on a box of kick boards right at the end of your lap-lane at the pool. Being 5:30PM on a weekday, the place was mobbed, and since there were 4 lanes devoted to 5 groups of swimming lessons, there were tons of people sitting on the deck of the lap pool: moms and dads, swimming instructors, and lap-swimmers patiently awaiting their turns.

You both stood out a little, you know. Bat, you’d been leaning against the wall at the end of your lane for about 12 minutes doing approximately nothing when Battle Axe jumped down into the pool to join you. Battle Axe, just a tip, that blue foam thing is a kick board. You know, you follow it back and forth in the lane. That’s not to say that your innovative repurposing of it as a sun shade wasn’t, well, different, I just thought I’d let you know for your own edification.

I know we didn’t actually speak, and that our interaction was more non-verbal. I’m pretty sure, though, that you heard me loud and clear when I offered an exasperated sigh and ever-so-slightly stamped my flip-flop on the deck. I’m also pretty sure you got the message: If you’re not going to swim, kindly get the heck out of the pool. I’m pretty good at heaving exasperated sighs and I’ve perfected quite a repertoire of nuanced foot stamps (just ask my mom).

It’s not that the pool was so crowded. I mean, I understand first come, first served. It was more that you weren’t actually doing anything. Just standing there having a yak attack about all the people, and your neighborhood, and the head, and on and on and on! I almost spoke up on behalf of the poor swimmer splitting the lane with you, Bat. I saw the befuddled look on your face when she just kept flip turning and swimming, and flip turning and swimming. That’s what you do in a lap pool. Weird, right? Battle Axe, when you expressively flailed your kick board in response to some small-town gossip from Bat, did you realize how close you came to whacking the swimmer splitting your lane. It was too much, really.

Thankfully the swimmer took it upon herself to confront you both more directly. I guess she was left with really no choice since an exasperated sigh would have sounded more like an athletic deep breath, and a nuance foot stamp it pretty useless under water. She politely informed you that people were waiting to swim laps. Battle Axe, that’s when you piped up. You rasped and the top of your polluted lungs: “Oh yeah, well this pool is for exercise, and that means whatever exercise you want to do in it. It’s been crowded all day since I got here at 12:30. Swimming laps isn’t sacred.”

Perhaps you are new members of the gym and maybe, though I can’t imagine, you weren’t afforded a full tour when you joined? See, there’s an IN-door pool as well. It’s square, and it is devoted ENTIRELY to water aerobics, aqua stretching and physical therapy. There’s even an adjoining jacuzzi, which could really help you with all that “stretching.” Also, Battle Axe, I owe you an apology. There I was sitting on the box of kick boards marveling at how very old and wrinkled you were. I didn’t realize, you’re probably about 35, it’s just that you’d been STANDING IN THE LAP POOL FOR FOUR HOURS.

If swimming laps in a lap pool isn’t sacred (the really, what is?), then neither is standing. That’s all.

Sincerely yours,



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