La Piscine

La Piscine

My lovely and wonderful husband introduces me to a 50 Meter swimming pool this week which has been absolutely super!!

This is the pool. Piscine des Vernets. I highly recommend to anyone in the area. They even have a masters swim team.

I am having a hard time running as my hip is popping in and out of place…….tendinitis…..bad alignment..?? Who knows but it’s driving me crazy not being able to get out and run as I’m still not driving and I’m eating all the cheese and chocolate I can get my hands on. Sigh.
Anyway, I found this pool which Dragan suggested as I think he’s been getting unsure of my neurotic comments like……”do u think I’m gaining weight” “quoi?” ” No, really, Dragan, tell me honestly……like, does my arm feel bigger? When you hug me, do I feel circumferencely heavier?” “Mon dieu, you are crazy” “No, I know, but seriously…..I wont be mad! My rings even feel tighter……are my fingers getting thicker??” All this knowing full well that I’m being crazy and that no man will answer this question honestly and that I’m really putting him on the spot; which I’m quite enjoying if I’m being honest. Ha!!
“No, but really Dragan, I’m one of those people who NEEDS exercise for my physical and mental well being”. “Ummmm……”
Hence……la piscine. He’s a man who gets things done.
So, anyway, we go for the first time earlier this week around 5:30pm (oh yeah….17:30) which I highly do NOT recommend. It’s an interesting concept. I got a pass and was going to go do belo while he would go to the bar overlooking the pool (very smart) and watch me, adoringly I’m sure, swim my heart out.
I had had a very stressful day leading up to this point having shrunk most of my sweaters and several pairs of pants in that damn French dryer that I can’t work. I was feeling as I often do, that I would never master life here, and looking forward to doing something in which I could excel.
So. D’accord.
I go to the locker rooms which are open and co-ed, and can’t, for the life of me see HOW a person gets to the pool. Feeling stupid but still trying to look cool, I followed a lady through a gate, which locked behind, walked up the stairs…..only to be in the bar !!!!! I saw Dragan with his back Otto me on the phone and was so mortified at my stupidity……so utterly and helplessly embarrassed (possible overreaction) that I started crying and ran for the exit, afraid for Dragan to see my mistake. I circled back around, paid for another entry……sigh…..went back to the locker rooms and (et voilà!!!!) saw the entrance the pool under the huge sign marked La Piscine. Sigh.
Fast forward to the pool. I have never seen anything like the chaos that was ensuing!!! I found a lady who spoke English and asked her to help me understand which lanes I could swim in…….she instructed me that I could swim in any marked public. Ah. Clever.
In the US, it’s customary to not have more than maybe 5 in a lane, else you sit and wait. Right? HERE…..this is not the case. The Swiss or French, bc there were probably both and I live on the border so you never know, swim like they drive!!! I hopped in a lane with probably 25 other people of different levels. Soon people are passing 2 at a time while two others are swimming past in the other direction. WTF,!?! The lanes are not bigger.
C’est la vie!!
I kept stopping and looking up at D and rolling my eyes dramatically, which he couldn’t see as I had goggles on (which made me annoyed), and giving the other swimmers exasperated looks, which they didn’t bother noticing (which annoyed me even more)! For probably the first 1000 Meters I was so angry, literally stopping every time people needed to pass and slowing every time I needed to pass (dont they KNOW there is an ETIQUETTE for swimming,…….geesh! Golly! Putain!) when my competitive nature finally kicked in. “Oh yeah, i CAN pass better than they can”. “25 seconds till that swimmer comes my way…….PASS! WEAVE!” Great fun and massively chaotic, which is good for taking the pain away, and I’m assuming this will also soon be my driving nature. Perhaps that’s why D is so reluctant to let me start driving his car!!! Haha!
Anyway, all that to say. Today I went back to the pool and navigated it perfectly all by myself. Perhaps this is a small feat in the world, but its always rewarding to notice that something that is scary at first ALWAYS is easier the second time and so on from there. Getting out of your comfort zone is only uncomfortable for a short while. Today I was on a high just like I used to be in NYC when I started to master all the nuances of the city.
I walked with a certain confidence in the locker rooms and eased into a slight look of boredom–which is always good to do when wanting to APPEAR as though the thing you doing, that is geekingly thrilling you, is no big deal. :)))

Leaving the pool with a few hours to kill and wanting to write this all down, I headed to a cafe that had wifi written I’m big letters. Green cafe. Two guys in green shirts were sitting by the door and watched me as i went to open the door. Locked.
How do they stay in BUSINESS?!?!
“Closed?”, I ask innocently to the guys in green.
“Ah. Hmmmm. Merci.”
I start to walk away.
“You speak English?” One asks. “We are learning and reading the manual in English” he says in broken English. “You speak French too?”
“Oui” “Je parle pas Français…….ummmmm….. À petite Français ….,ummmm”.
Not knowing what to do next, I started to walk away when I turned and said “you are trying to read that in English” as I peered at the paper in somewhat forced interest.
“Ummmmm…… Do you want my help?!?!?!?!” Said with way to much excitement. Sigh
They stared at me.
“But how will you help us when you can’t say it in Français.” Smirk
“D’accord” (this means, right)
That moment when you realize you should walk away and become very embarrassed…
“Ok. Well, BYE. (Said way too loud with a way too big smile plastered to my face) Merci. Ummm….au voir?? Bon journée??”

I’m an idiot.

These are the moments I secretly crave and enjoy as I realize I’m communicating with people and even though I know I sound silly NOW and that I feel embarrassed, I know one day I will remember, after I have mastered the language, and look back and fondly on the challenges.
Also it gives me something to blog about. :-)))

Anyway, Go out and do something that is uncomfortable today as we only grow when we challenge our comfort zone. :-))


3 thoughts on “La Piscine

  • As European people in NYC you often think “Why are there so many rules in the US? We thought this is the land of the free…”. E.g. at the beach you are not allowed to swim where you want and even not as far as you want. Try it and you will here a loud whistle, only seconds after making your feet wet in the wrong zone. Hey, we are already grown ups for at least 20 years and we aren’t allowed to swim at our own risk?

    Even when a pool is empty, don’t ever try to jump in… you may end in jail! 😉

    I often made a joke in Germany: “Naked nipples are more dangerous than guns in the USA. Don’t know why, but in Europe it’s the opposite…”

    Anyway it’s really funny to read your clash of cultures, Sarah!


    • Hah!!
      It’s true…..we all view things differently based in our culture. :-))))
      It’s nice to hear your perspectives too!!! Keep them coming!!!


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