Thursday, August 12, 2010

Seated figure

chalk drawing on canson 20"x26"

I did lengths tonight at the community pool – in the slow lane. There were four or five of us hugging the edge or so I thought, trying not to bump into one another. But every so often I would feel myself whacked by the opposite swimmer  usually on my back, sometimes on my arm or leg, hardly conducive to the euphoric state I try to achieve while in the water. 

Finally I looked to see who it was. It was a tall, slender man with very long arms doing a back stroke, a breast stroke and occasionally a front crawl. And I noticed mildly outraged, he was not hugging the edge, following pool etiquette – rather he was practically hogging the whole of our narrow lane to himself, smack in the middle of it! 
When I spoke to him, I said I think you just hit me as you passed (as he had just done - he didn't deny it) - I suggested politely but firmly that he could move over a little. He apologized but refused to move over because then his arms would hit the wall but he promised to be ‘more careful’. “I guess it’s because” he said, “I’m faster than you” – which apparently was true. So I suggested that he swim in the faster, ‘medium slow’ lane next to us, but he refused saying he’d been swimming in this lane for years.  And this was where he belonged, in the slow lane. 


  1. Gorgeous drawing. Mildly outraged, an interesting oxymoron. I suppose you could have reported this violent, rigid, narcissistic swimmer to the pool attendants or someone! I hope you are all right. Yeesh.

    Great art. As always.


  2. Hi Barbara
    He was mildly obnoxious, really a supercilious -------! and I was mildly furious at having my inner peace disturbed while swimming. What I didn't mention is that he seemed to be swimming with his wife but unlike him she modestly, deferentially swam on either side of the mid line, no collisions from her.
    I didn't want to report him because I didn't want to seem contentious or petty minded - even though it seems I am. Actually the lanes are narrow, almost too narrow to be divided into two - still I did manage to do 20 lengths.
    anyway thank you Barbara for having the patience to read my silly rant and for your nice comment on my drawing!


  3. I really love this "seated figure", Marcia. It is so classically beautiful with hints of Matisse-like shapes.

    Yes, your swimming experience was full of "wa" disrupting energy! What a moment. Clearly the man has been spoiled and pampered by his wife and others who are so rattled by his selfishness that they don't know how to respond in a way that could change his mind. And, I'll bet he can't even imagine thinking about anyone else's pain or needs. It seems to be working for him quite well. For you, and probably his wife, not so well...

    Hope you don't run into him again!

    Nice to know that you can paint, draw, sculpt. That man can know nothing about such beauty and love.

  4. Melinda, thank you for your analysis - it is brilliant and insightful. I never thought to look at it that way.
    I must admit though that before I wore goggles, I used to bump into swimmers all the time I'd weave in and out of lanes constantly and I'm sure I pissed people off royally. What should I say if I meet this guy again - buy yourself some paints and brushes and get a life? just kidding.
    Btw I love your work of late this past while. You're really cooking.

  5. Hi Marcia,
    I've had family members like that guy and was tormented by a sociopath for eight years. I'd better have some insight, yes?!

    These people count on your politeness. However, there is a way to maintain your own civility AND respond in a way they might understand. If you run into the man again, literally that is, say, "OUCH!" or give a theatrical shriek! Perfectly acceptable.

    You could greet him humorously outside of the pool and say that you hope he doesn't give you ten lashes that day!

    You could, if you're brave, swing back in like manner or defensively, and then apologize profusely, but that would be a last resort if he seems to target you more than once.

    Here's the thing. Regular people make mistakes all the time, and wack people in the pool sometimes--or are careless when they are young. BUT, they always apologize with sincerity and promptly modify their behavior.

    That's what I look for--sincerity, authenticity, modified behavior, empathy. If it isn't there, the politeness of others is just a payoff for this truly selfish kind.

    Wishing you happier swim days filled with water euphoria!

  6. I love this - the light on the collarbone, the nice lines - really beautifully done. PS. I hope you don't encounter that guy at the pool again!

  7. This is a beautiful drawing Marcia. I love the loose quality of it... and it seems to radiate light.

    "... he'd been swimming in this lane for years. And this is where he belonged, in the slow lane."

    ... it seems this could be true, although not for physical reasons, but for mental and social reasons!!!