Sunday, 15 April 2012

Week 32- spaghetti westerns, Mr Miyagi and fighting in swimming pools

I nearly had a fight with a 19 year old at the swimming pool. Well I say fight, it was more of a slanging match. And it was definitely her fault.

I'm not one for scrapping but this was a matter of principle.

In fact I don't think I've had a proper fight since primary school. And that was because someone pulled my snood on purpose, I mean, come on. Not on, right? In that situation, I thought the best line of defence was attack.

My mum had been sending me to karate lessons since I was 7 and at the ripe age of 9 I thought I was somewhat of an expert. So getting into a Mr Miyagi zen like mindset, I closed my eyes and resumed the first pose from the kata, (karate version of a dance routine for those not familiar,) and got ready to let rip.

To which my opponent retorted, 'did you learn that at karate? Cos I learnt this at home!' and belted me full on in the tummy. A fair win with an enviable one liner. Hence, my fighting days are pretty limited.

So back to the swimming pool....

It was the second time Nancy and I had been swimming. It's a bit of a faff at the best of times, what with the amount of stuff you need to bring. Far more than fits into a locker. And on top of that there's the fox/ chicken/ grain brain teaser of how to put all the stuff in the locker, lock up the buggy at the other end of the changing room, and end up with me and Nancy in our cozzies, with just a towel and two keys in my hand, ready for approximately 2 minutes in the pool for 4 quid.

With those kind of pressures, the last thing you need is some total prat buggering it all up by nicking the family size changing room you've been queuing for, for the best part of twenty minutes.

It was like a scene out of a spaghetti western.

I'd tried all three doors just to be on the safe side, even though they all said they were occupied.

And then I parked up and waited.

About five minutes later, the 19 year old, with her two small children, and mum in tow, stood dripping wet at the other end of the corridor. The children complained about being cold so the grandma gave them a rub down with a towel. The19 year old went off to unlock her buggy, and on bringing it back, parked up facing me.

Her eyes narrowed as she surveyed the scene.

Swimmers fled in all directions, until all that was left was us. And tumbleweed.

There was one false start, where the changing room door nearest the 19 year old unlocked, and a mum pelted out to get a first aid trained member of staff to come and sort her daughter out, who'd trodden on something sharp and was bleeding.

So now there were only two changing rooms in play.

The grandma was distracting the 19 year old, chatting about where they should go for lunch, a choice of Maccie Ds or Burger King, when suddenly the door to the changing room in the middle swung open.


We were both equidistant.

I swung Nancy into action, but the break was on, and in the panic I tried to push the stationary wheels along the slimy, bumpy floor.

We weren't nearly fast enough, as the 19 year expertly skirted passed the first aider and shoved the front of the buggy through the door before we'd even started turning.

'Mum, grab the kids!' she shouted, like I was going to hold them to ransom until she did the decent thing.

'Listen love' (the 'love' bit was a mistake, I see that now,) 'I was here first.'

I fronted up to her, while keeping two buggies length between us, cos close up she actually looked nearer 30, just with the body of a girl.

I would have been in a stronger position if I'd had my glasses on, but they make Nancy cry, maybe cos she doesn't recognise me in them.

Like when my dad shaved off his trademark beard for Comic Relief Day when I was 7 and my sister was 4, and we wouldn't speak to him until it grew back as we thought he was an imposter.

The girl/ woman also had loads of pretty ropey tattoos, several of which looked hand done. And if she can handle that kind of pain, she's not going to think twice about having a scrap at the swimming pool.

'No mate, I think you'll find I was,' (I'd used the patronising 'love', she'd trumped it with the intimidating 'mate'.)

And then she pushed her family one by one into the changing room like a Sargent counting in his troop.

I was at a loss. Where do you go from there.

'That's just not even a bit true!' I weakly shouted back at her, kicking myself almost immediately for not thinking of anything better to come back with.

This is the bit in the western where the town folk start to emerge from their hiding places, the pianist starts playing, and the bartender pours the drinks, cos they all know that danger has passed.

I looked down at Nancy, who grinned back at me. And I thought, who actually gives a shit. The fact is I would have let her go first if she'd asked, as her kids were wet and did look a bit cold. But it's the rudeness that pissed me off.

So moments later, when the changing room next to theirs became available, I talked loudly to Nancy about how good manners cost nothing, and how she'd grow up to be a polite girl etc etc.

And then I remembered how hard the girl and her mum looked. And so we hung out in the changing room until we heard them leave, and then unlocked the door.

But I think I really made my point. And I don't think she'll be doing that again in a hurry.

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