WHY I HATE PUBLIC SWIMMING POOLS

I have a real aversion to public swimming pools. It’s not because I can’t swim and am worried the lifeguards will have trouble dragging my sorry ass out of the water. No, it’s a lot less dramatic than that.

The idea of accidentally swallowing a festy old band-aid or a wayward pubic hair or people’s skin follicles makes me want to gag. Actually, I’ve just vomited a bit in my mouth as I type this – that’s how much I don’t like public pools.

Close your mouth! Why are you even drinking pool water?! I hear you yell out.

No one WANTS to make a liquid lunch out of disgusting bodily offcuts from randos but it HAPPENS. Let’s not forget about the dirty gastro-causing germs, accidental (or not so accidental) pee from kids and adults alike, and other bodily fluids that are excreted from people. Oh gosh, please wait while I dry retch a bit more.

Chlorine kills everything!

My husband likes to tell me this every time I complain about germs. I might be a bit of a germaphobe.

Look, here are the cold hard facts – I know the chances of contracting tinea from the change rooms are more likely than catching germs from pool water. BUT, chlorine does not kill everything so there’s still the risk of catching something like Giardia and I don’t want explosive diarrhoea.

Anyway, as you can see, I detest public swimming pools, but given how my children are learning how to swim and my daughter loves being in water, I have to go there. Once in a while, I have to enter the cesspool to supervise, and the experience leaves me feeling twitchy.

Yesterday, my husband suggested we take the children for a play at our local swimming centre. Our membership has restarted and there are no longer restrictions with numbers or needing to book sessions due to the pandemic. It was a good opportunity to make use of our time and money.

As I sat by the sidelines and watched my husband splash around with the kids, I took a few moments to observe my surroundings.

Sometimes I wonder how it is that I come across so much fodder for my blog. Why does it feel like I bear witness to strange stuff all the time? Am I attuned to the weird and wonderful because I’m looking for it?

I must be ‘cos why else would I see a REALLY hairy man (back and front, sides, legs… well, let’s just say everywhere!) wearing his CK undies in lieu of swimming trunks. If I could burn my retinas to remove the image of his manhood playing peekaboo through his wet transparent undies, I would. Add inappropriate swim gear to my list of ‘Why I hate public swimming pools’ please.

After shielding my precious eyes from further assault, I witnessed a fit looking, middle aged man standing by the pool steps doing quick calf muscle stretches, arm stretches, lunges and running on the spot before getting into the water. I was expecting him to do epic laps up and down the lanes because why else would you go to such trouble? I know warming up your muscles is important to avoid cramps and injury, but this man just got into the water to stand. He really confused my poor mind when he left after ten minutes of standing. What the? I tried really hard not to giggle. It was so funny to watch, much better than CK undies man.

An old lady holding some snorkels got into the pool after exercise man. I thought it was strange for her to wear her prescription glasses while trying to snorkel down the pool lane, but hey, whatever works for you lady!

As my attention reverted back to my daughter swimming nearby, two lifeguards decided to stand right in front of me, blocking my view. While staring at their backs (note: not backsides), I noticed they carried a lot of gear, along with a water bottle and a walkie-talkie. How could they save anyone if it takes them an age to strip off all that stuff? I hope never to test the hypothesis. One of the guards turned around and saw that he was blocking my view but instead of moving, he turned back and continued his boring conversation. How rude!

I left my seat to corral my daughter back to the others and found another seat. There I noticed a sign that read ‘No ball games or inflatables’. I looked back at the husband and children. Take a stab at what they were doing.

Can I add inadvertently condoning rule-breaking people to my list of ‘Why I hate public swimming pools’?

This list keeps growing at an alarming rate. It makes sense why I never bothered to learn how to swim. I know, I know, it’s a vital skill to have. I’ll get on it as soon as I overcome this aversion to public swimming pools.

In the meantime, it makes for great blog fodder, right?

Copyright © 2021, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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TIME HEALS OLD WOUNDS

When I was sixteen-years-old, I experienced a traumatic event. Instead of justice and support from the only person who knew about it – my mother – it was swept under the carpet and promptly forgotten. I won’t go into details of the trauma because reliving the moment isn’t what this post is about. It’s about the aftermath.

My mother never spoke about that day or even acknowledged something bad had happened to me. It never occurred to her that I would need or benefit from psychological treatment. Her lack of support and radio silence on the matter made me feel ashamed of myself. I was already a shy teenager with self-esteem issues and this trauma left me untrusting of others and disconnected to my peers.

The emotional trauma of the experience – the helplessness and fear – left long-lasting consequences that carried through into my adulthood.

I struggled to trust anyone and because of that, I refused to allow people in. I kept friends at an arm’s length. No one really knew me. Those who thought they did, saw the false façade I portrayed to the world.

People saw me as a confident, driven and outgoing girl but really, deep down I was a sad and broken person. I was steadfast in not letting anyone think I was a victim of circumstances. It was my way of hiding all the shame I felt inside.

A decade after that day, I finally got help at the behest of my husband. I sought psychological treatment, talked about the trauma and all the self-inflicted damage that resulted.

If it hadn’t been for my husband’s insistence, I would have likely continued on living but not really enjoying life. I would have struggled with unchecked depression and anxiety, continued to close myself off from family and friends and probably would have made for a dismal mother. Fortunately, I relearned how to trust again.

Last night, I had dinner with a girlfriend who has known me for twenty-two years. This person has known me since the day I arrived as a sixteen-year-old girl at her high school. While talking about the struggles her teenage son was experiencing, I told her about my trauma and how I wished my mother had stepped up and got me the help I needed back then. The story spilled from my mouth. I hadn’t thought twice about telling it.

She was shocked to discover a part of my life unknown to her. And to be honest, I was slightly shocked with how open and honest I was able to be about it.

At some point in my road to recovery, I had healed from the trauma. Unknowingly, I released myself from the shackles of shame and embarrassment. I no longer felt like a victim.

Time has healed some of these wounds but I think more importantly, having a safe space where I could talk to a trusted person helped immensely. I’m glad I accepted the help. I only wish I had done it sooner.

Is there something that’s weighing you down? Could you find the courage to reach out for help? It may be the turning point in your life, the step towards positive change. You’ll never know otherwise.

Copyright © 2021, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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STRANGE ENCOUNTERS

Have you ever had a random encounter where you walked away thinking “What the fudge just happened?”

Like it was so surreal, you couldn’t possibly capture the essence of the encounter with words alone? That your words simply wouldn’t do it justice?

I had such an encounter. I won’t be able to reproduce the scene with great accuracy, but I think you’ll get the gist. Bear with me while I narrate my bizarro experience.


We were sitting outside of a café soaking in the sun’s warmth as we sipped our hot drinks and ate our pastries. We were on a short holiday at a seaside town on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria, Australia.

An old man walked by and tapped my husband on the shoulder.

“Excuse me young man, could you watch over these while I get a trolley?”

My husband offered to carry the box of plastic hangers to where the man needed but the man declined. The old man needed the trolley for support while he walked several blocks towards his house and didn’t want to inconvenience my husband.

After retrieving a trolley from the nearby supermarket, the old man thanked my husband. Shortly after, the existence of two children and a woman suddenly became apparent to him. Gesturing to me, the old man told my husband that he had a pretty wife.

“You’re very pretty. Where do you come from?”

Knowing that he didn’t mean where I lived in Melbourne, I replied that I was Vietnamese even though technically, I considered myself Australian. But I knew he didn’t mean any offence and was curious about my heritage.

“Did you meet your pretty wife in Vietnam?”

My husband explained that we met as students while in University some twenty years ago.

“What do you do? How much do you make? 80K, 100K? Where do you live? Are you rich? You must be to have such a beautiful wife. I’m not saying you’re ugly. You’re a good-looking bloke yourself.”

He might as well have asked if I was a mail-order bride or a gold digger.

Turning to me, he asked if I had been in Australia long. It must have confused him hearing me speak English without an accent.

“I was born in Australia.” 

The conversation was ridiculous, but I wasn’t offended by his assumptions, just amused. He must not have met many Australian-born Asians.

“Have you got a friend you can introduce to me? My wife died of breast cancer decades ago. I’ve been alone for you wouldn’t believe how long.”

Bah! How do you respond to that?! After laughing awkwardly, I replied with no.

“How old do you think I am? Guess. Take a stab.”

If this wasn’t a loaded question… My husband said 78 while I said 68 to be safe.

“I’m 73 years old. I walk every day and go for a swim first thing when the water is cold. Asian women don’t really like going into the water. They don’t like wearing bikinis and getting into the sea, do they?”

“You look like you’re in your forties,” he said, looking at me.

Now, this when I felt offended. I didn’t care too much about his stereotyping of Asian women or his suggestion that my husband had scored a mail-order bride.

No, I was offended that he thought I was in my forties. I’m still two years off my forties thank you very much! Seriously, it’s a universal faux pas to even hint at a woman’s age. Old age must have addled this poor man’s brain. That’s the ONLY explanation for why he thought I was older than my years!

“Do you want to come to my house for beer? I live just a street away. Are you sure you don’t have a lady friend like you to introduce to me?”


The poor man was lonely and just wanted to have a yarn – I could understand that. While I have a soft spot for the elderly and usually didn’t mind humouring people, we did have to be somewhere. So we ended the conversation and parted ways.

When I’m a dotty old lady and craving companionship and conversation, I wonder if young people will spare a moment to indulge me?

If they do, I’ll be sure to keep my opinions to myself… especially when it comes to a woman’s age.

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