I swear the most unfortunate shit happens to me in my daily life that makes me think ‘this could literally only happen to me!’. This was the case this week when I trialled a new swim school for Oakland. The series of events that unfolded that day left me wishing that the Earth would just open up and bury me alive.
We have just move house, so the evening before swimming I loaded the car with boxes and boxes of trash to take to the tip after class. I threw Oakland’s swimming bag on the floor of the car in the only gap I could find.
The next morning, we were running late as per usual. I realised I had forgotten a swim shirt to put over my bikini and clean underwear for afterward for me, so I grabbed these and chucked them in my car, making a mental note to get them when I got the swimming bag once we arrived.
We got to class less than 5 minutes before it started, with me panicking about getting us both dressed and in the pool on time. Of course, the swim school decided that they wanted us to fill out enrollment forms (in case we decided to join) before the class, instead of on our way out. Oakland was being a bit of an a-hole too because his molars were breaking through, so I stood at the counter carrying him with one arm, trying to write all our details down with the other. I then read that all classes require a swim cap. Well, when I had gone in to book a trial, no one had told me this. Oakland doesn’t own one, because last time I tried to use one he lost his shit. So we were already going to stand out, not only as the new family and the only tattooed family, but as the family whose kid who doesn’t have a swim cap on.
I then raced down to the change room. My dress was on over my bikinis so I could easily rip it off and throw on my swimming top. Fuck. My swimming top was still on the floor in my car, along with my dry undies. I could hear the class had started, so there was no time to carry Oakland back out to the car and retrieve it. I would just have to cop it and wear a bikini in front of every one. Not my preferred start to a class, but then again neither was walking out with everyone already in the pool and joining in late.
So this is where shit gets weird and awkward, because for some bizarre reason the pool is above ground. We had only ever swam in an in-ground pool. So to get to the pool, we had to walk back out alongside the pool, along the fence line, back past reception, up a massive ramp, then in to the pool area and past all the family who came to watch. I walked out of the change room and was in line with the swimming instructor, just on the other side of the fence. She instantly gave me this look that said “what the fuck are you doing mate?”. I was sure it was the bikini, totally inappropriate for a children’s class, yes, I know.
I received the same look from reception and then as I went inside the gate I noticed there were a lot of parents watching the class, and me. I felt sick. Body confidence is not my strong suit. I looked up at the pool and noticed something else; there were two classes running….and no fucking parents in the pool. Yep, despite me telling them Oakland only swam semi-independently they had put us in the independent class, the one where parents stay out of the pool, and very much dressed! So here I was, walking in late, parading around in a bikini in front of about a dozen parents and all the staff, looking like a total twat. I wanted to fucking die!!! Both instructors looked at me and I could see they were thinking “what is this chick’s deal?”.
It was at this point I figured I had two choices; I could turn around and just run and jump in the car half naked, or I could own it. I went with option b. I strutted down like I had meant for this to happen, like this was me on the daily. I got to the class, bent down and explained that I always swam with Oakland, so that is what I will be doing today. When I asked if I could hop in, she looked so bloody confused, the poor woman, but said “umm, yeah I guess so…”. I didn’t really leave her with any other options. She couldn’t really send me back to wait with the other parents in a bikini I suppose. So we slid in, all the kids were on a mesh island in the centre of the pool, and I stood there, in a bikini, awkward as fuck. I pretended like Oakland wasn’t a confident swimmer and needed me to be a helicopter parent and watch him. I could feel the eyes of the other parents burning into my skull, and every time I glanced up I could see the puzzled looks on their faces. Who was this random mum and kid, why the hell is she in the pool and why the fuck would you wear a bikini to a toddler’s class, even if you did have a shirt on over it?
This painful experience went for 30 long minutes. I tried to look anywhere except the faces of the parents and staff. I kept glancing at the clock and I swear the hands refused to move. I considered whether I should get out, since I couldn’t even interact with Oakland. I weighed up the fact that this was an above ground pool and considered if I was even actually capable of jumping out and over the side, or whether I had the balls to swim right down the other end to the stairs, which of course led right up to the chairs with all the parents waiting, and if I would then be able to sit there in my bikni with them while I waited for Oakland. Nope. No way in hell did either of those seem appealing. So I continued to stand there like a weirdo, unmoving in the pool. 10 minutes before the class ended, all the parents and the kids for the next 2 classes arrived. Of course they did. So in poured at least another 10 people. They were for the semi-independent class. The parents were all dressed in their swim shirts, ready to get in the pool. Finally, the teacher turned to me and said “you can get out now”. I swear she knew the mental battle that had been playing in my head for half an hour.
We got out and I continued to pretend to own my actions. I went and joined all the kids in getting dressed in the change room. I then remembered that I had no underwear. I hate wearing wet togs. I have this awful memory of a friend who got thrush once because she always wore wet togs. This was enough to convince me to free ball. On the way out, reception smiled at me and asked how we went, so I had to pretend like it was all normal and peachy. I was again carrying Oakland because he refused to walk, which was when I noticed the lovely breeze in the centre, despite the door being closed. Nope, that was Oakland’s leg, lifting my dress up and exposing a cheek to all the parents. That was the point I pretty much gave up on life. This day was not getting any better any time soon. I lied through my teeth and assured reception we would book once we worked out a class time that suited us. I did all I could to not sprint to the car and tear out of the car park. I refused eye contact with the cars around me as I pulled my clean undies on in the car. Needless to say there is no way in hell we will be returning there. This is a really tiny town, so I just pray I don’t run in to anyone at the shops. They probably wouldn’t recognise me with clothes on anyway.