Image via source for illustrative purposes only.
Something weird happened today. I went with my older one to the building pool right after dawn. Thought this would be good time to get the morning sun and no-one would be in the pool right then. I was wrong. A couple of women, most probably East-European (judging by looks and accent) were already there, doing some butterfly stroke laps.
I entered the pool and began swimming on one side, but the problem is that the building pool isn’t too big and one side is almost halved by the big stairs there. The women were swimming on the side where a full lap is possible. I swam a bit on the half-lap side and decided that although there were two women on the other side, I could also accommodate myself, and surely they wouldn’t mind?
I swam towards the other side of the pool, and then one of the women (around 50, with short, cropped hair) tells me, “Are you alone in this pool? Can’t you see someone is already here? Swim normally!” and she says this with a foul temper, as though to intimidate me.
“Well?” I say surprised – that woman was totally devoid of courtesy. If indeed I was trespassing on her property she could have been polite. And was I even trespassing? Wasn’t this supposed to be a shared pool?
“Actually the other side has some steps, so one can’t really swim a proper lap? I really thought you wouldn’t mind sharing,” I respond politely.
“We came here first! We have to go to work so we come early! When we were already here, can’t you see that?” pretty much shouting at me.
I move quietly away, shaking my head in disbelief. Funny how uncultured some people can seem. Then I go towards to other side and offer an exaggerated apology. “I’m very sorry. You are welcome to swim here. But tell you what? In all my time here, no-one, no-one has ever spoken to me this way,” I tell them.
“We’re just leaving in ten minutes, we have to go anyway,” they say.
I nod and smile wide and throw the exaggerated apology once more, this time just saying sorry and inviting them to please carry on. Then just as smilingly, and as though I loved them oh-so-much I told them, “And you know the best part? We’re all PAYING to be here.”
The women nodded (was it sheepish? They did not look capable of sheepishness) and soon left. I am glad I spoke to them and ensured that they couldn’t get away with treating me like crap. It’s a shared pool and the least you expect from fellow building tenants is a teeny bit of grace and courtesy. Away with the temper tantrums early in the morning!
How would you have reacted? Please share it in the comments.