But I was reminded again this morning, there's one swimmer who keeps making it difficult for me to lose myself - and the situation has echoes of the campaign.
Public pool lap swimmers are generally a collegial, accommodating bunch. We all have our routines, but we understand that since we have chosen to exercise not on a lake or on a solo elliptical machine at the gym, we have to pace ourselves and dovetail with our fellows. If there are two swimmers, you split a lane. More than two, you swim in counterclockwise circles. Some pools even designate "slow, medium, fast" lanes to help sort things out.
But some people just don't care - about others, rules or decorum.
His reply was shocking. "I don't do well with splits." He turned and headed back into hogging the lane. Instead of crowding two other swimmers, I waited for someone else to finish and took her place.
That was a one-time incident. But the situation at my neighborhood rec center pool in Harlem is chronic. I was ecstatic to discover the beautiful tiled space when I moved uptown 6 years ago, and I have adjusted my life to match the Parks Department's limited lap swim hours, during which orange cones are set up by the lifeguard to designate them slow, fast, medium, respectively.
Then there's the Big Guy.
When I first enter the pool room, I know what kind of workout it will be if The Big Guy is in the water. He's retirement age, well over 6 feet, pear-shaped, probably 300 lbs., and he swims a full 90 minutes three times a week. His pace is very very very methodical (ie slow), taking elaborate, wide-swath flip turns at each end, which would be fine if he were in the slow lane. But