Every few years—when I feel I have too much money in my life and not enough punishment—I join a gym. Years back, I’d just got a membership to a local sports centre, and went there for my first swim.
Now, it’s not normally one mistake or misfortune that leads to disaster; instead, it’s several small ingredients combining to create a towering cake of calamity. For example, it’s not a disaster if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. It would be a disaster if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, your phone has just run out of charge, you forgot to renew your breakdown membership and you’re en route to your own wedding.
Of course, that’s an extreme example, and what I’m about to tell you certainly isn’t a life-or-death incident. But, believe me, I die a little when I think about it.
I decided to leave my glasses in my car’s glove-box, forgetting that I really am short-sighted.
(The only explanation I can offer is that I can’t swim in my glasses, so I thought it would be easier just to leave them in the car. I should have left them in the locker. Stupid, stupid, stupid.)
I assumed I could remember where I was going.
It had been a while since the gym induction where they showed me where the changing rooms were. But, even though the sports centre was massive, I was sure I could remember.
I was too embarrassed to ask for help.
Turns out, I couldn’t remember where the changing rooms were, and I couldn’t see any signs, or see anyone to ask. I mean, I really couldn’t see, full-stop. (I am extremely shortsighted.)
Anyway. I was delighted to eventually find the changing room. It’s a challenge sometimes finding a good space in a busy changing room. I can’t see anything; everyone’s just pink blurry shapes to me*. But this means that I don’t know where my gaze is settling, and I don’t want to unsettle anyone by appearing to be laser-focused on their genitalia*. So, it’s easiest if I just keep my eyes low and sweep the benches until I find a spot.
I grabbed a space, at a bench in the middle of the room. There was something odd about the atmosphere in the room, but I couldn’t figure out what I was missing. Anyway, I stripped off, wrestled myself into my swimming cossie, and tried to stick my bag in a locker. But, it ate my only pound coin and then refused to lock.
Aggrieved, I wrapped a towel around myself, grabbed my things and marched (via an unnecessarily complicated route, I’m sure. If it’s not already clear, I really do have the worst sense of direction) to the front desk.
Staff member: “Hi, how can I help you?”
Me: “Hi, the locker ate my coin.”
SM: “Sorry about that, I’ll get you a replacement. Which locker was it? We’ll get the maintenance team to look at it.”
Me: “It was locker B342.”
SM: “Couldn’t be.”
Me: “It was definitely locker B342. I double checked.”
SM: “Can’t be. That’s in the men’s changing rooms.”
Yes. I really had performed an ungainly, unwanted striptease in a room full of blokes without noticing.
Ah, but surely had I learned my lesson? Surely, there would be no more Adventures in Short-Sightedness?