Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

Lane Jumpers and Loud Talkers

Loud talkers and lane jumpers

February 26, 2017

I have been swimming at the gym. Actually, it’s more like swim-walking. I joined the gym at the end of August, and I sprained my AC joint in September. I still can’t lift my hand all the way above my head. Luckily, I don’t really lift my hand over my head very often. It only hurts when I’m swimming, or when I’m dancing to “YMCA.” I can do the “MCA” parts, but I can’t make the “Y.”

Instead of swimming, I walk in the water. Back and forth for one hour. It’s low-impact fun.

While I was doing my laps, a woman came in and sat in the Jacuzzi. This woman, however, brought her cellphone with her and was carrying on a loud conversation in the whirlpool. Sound in the pool area reverberates. Everyone heard her conversation.

P.S. It’s not eavesdropping if the person is obnoxiously loud in an echo chamber.

It was a pretty scandalous conversation. I would bet money that her Facebook relationship status was “complicated,” because her love life sounded like a math problem. Many people are in love triangles, but she was in some sort of love dodecahedron.

I spent most of my time trying not to listen. Then, at one point, I had to solve the equation. I started listening intently.

Just then, this guy gets into the pool and he starts swimming in my lane. To be polite, I moved to the next lane over. That’s when he started swimming toward me again. For a minute, I thought he was a heat-seeking missile disguised as a person, much like they make drones look like little birdies (see “Eye in the Sky” with Helen Mirren).

It took me several seconds to realize he was not locked and loaded. It turns out he just swam crooked. I picked up the lane buoys and moved over to yet another lane, just so he could joyously flop around in both lanes.

The lifeguard and I exchanged glances. I expected the lifeguard to say, “Hey, dude. You’re in that guy’s lane.” In my head, lifeguards pepper all their conversations with the word “dude.”

The lifeguard looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. I shouldn’t have expected this spindly little boy with a whistle to fight my battles, and, frankly, it wasn’t worth fighting about. There were plenty of open lanes.

This is the part where people normally say things like, “This is the problem with the world today. Everyone is so self-absorbed. They don’t pay attention to other people. They talk too loud, and they swim in your lanes.” Granted, that’s pretty specific, but you get the gist.

I’m going to let it slide. Sometimes we are all just oblivious to the world around us. No damage was done. There weren’t any kids around to learn about advanced human sexuality with the cellphone lady, and all I had to do was move over a few lanes to avoid the crooked swimmer.

It was just another Seinfeldian situation with Loud Talkers and Lane Jumpers.

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