Strange and mysterious stuff happens during Covid lockdown. Even stranger stuff happens when attempting to train under Covid lockdown conditions. A good example of the mysterious times we live in happened to me yesterday.
I turned up at my local lap pool, in the morning, ready to knock out two kilometres of freestyle. The sign on the door demanded, not surprisingly, that wearing of marks and registering of a QR code at the Dept of Health web site, was required for entry into the gym and pool complex. No… not surprising… but still pretty weird. It will take some time for me to get used to the process of arriving fully dressed (including a mark), changing into my swimsuit (still wearing a mask) then strolling out onto the pool deck with my water bottle under my arm, my towel over the other arm, my goggles in my hand, wearing nothing but a skimpy pair of Aussiebum cossies and still wearing a face mask! The sign, however, made it clear that masks were not to be worn in the pool itself. Thank goodness for small mercies.
A grubby waste of time
Initially, things went uneventfully. I strolled to the end of the pool, took a swig of cold water from my bottle, gobbed in my goggles (not sure why I did that… cos if we lap swimmers do it in the hope of our goggles not fogging up then it is a grubby waste of time because they tend to fog up about ten laps in anyway), removed my mask and placed it on my towel, and jumped into the shallow end before setting out on my slow, eighty lap, journey.
After the swim, on a cool winters day, it is always pleasurable to hit the hot showers in the change room. Chemical smells thus (partially) removed I dressed, picked up my swimming stuff, and looked around for my face mask. Redonning the mask is, of course, mandatory for the short walk back across the pool deck then through the reception area to get to the outside world. But there was a problem. No mask. Where was my mask? I checked the metal bench seat where my wet swimmers, goggles and towel had been lying while I dressed. Not there. I looked under the bench and all around the floor. Not there. I looked on the clothes hooks where my jeans, shirt and undies had been left. Not there. I looked in the shower cubicle. Not there. I strolled out onto the pool deck and inspected where my towel had been waiting throughout my swim. Not there. I even checked the toilet bowl where I had had a post swim pee. Not there either. In a last ditched desperate attempt to solve the mystery I took off my jeans and shirt (and turned them inside out) to see if the mask had gotten caught up anywhere in them but to no avail. The face mask had done a runner. I didn’t know that there was a Bermuda Triangle of face masks similar to the place that guitar picks escape to when they have tired of their musical careers, but I guess there is. My mask had dematerialized and fluffed off into the ether.
Where’s ya mask?
There was nothing to do but to run the gauntlet and attempt to sneak past the swimming instructor who was staffing the desk in reception. I nearly made it too, but as I got to the rack of new speedos displayed near the front door I was hauled back.
“Geez, I dunno, Al. I swear I had it on when I arrived, but I just can’t find the bugger now.”
“Ya didn’t leave it in the change room did ya, Tim.”
“No, Al. I thoroughly searched the change room. It’s just gone.”
“What about the pool deck. It must be on the pool deck.”
“Nah, Al. I tried the pool deck. I’m buggered if I know but I just can’t find it.”
Al gave me one of those I know you’re bullshitting me, but I can’t prove it looks.
“Ya didn’t wear it in the pool did ya?”
“No, Al. There is no way I would wear it in the pool!”
“Cos, if ya did, it could fully bugger up our filtration system.”
“Al. I promise. I didn’t wear it in the pool. It’s just gone.”
“Alright, see ya soon then. But next time don’t forget ya mask.”
“I won’t, Al. I promise.”
The rest of the day passed uneventfully. Despite the strangeness of the mask’s disappearance, I completely forget about the incident.
Bedtime. I rambled into my little bedroom and stripped off my jumper, my t-shirt, my jeans and finally my favourite lime green Y-fronts in preparation for snuggling into my uber-warm goose down doona. Standing naked next to my bed I looked down onto the floor where I had kicked off my clothes and, there, elegantly straddled across the areas where my front bits and back bits had spent the day inside the lime undies was my face mask. I am somewhat relieved that the mystery of the missing mask is (at least partially) solved but I don’t think I can bring myself to use that mask again.