I'm Blind as a Bat

At John's prompting, I decided to write something else that I've experienced at Western's pool. First, let me say, I have pretty poor eyesight. Watching TV in the dark is hard for me, not just because I know it's unhealthy, but because I have trouble seeing details in the screen. When I go to the pool, I try to study the room a little before I set my glasses on the bench, near the pool, so I know which lanes are mostly free and which to avoid. I try to station myself near the giant clock - the one with four giant second hands, each a different color. It's probably 2 or 3 times as big as a stop sign, just for your reference.

On Monday I went to the pool around 6:30 pm and it was much busier than I'm used to. My favorite lane, near the clocks, was full of people who seemed to barely make it from one wall to the other, and I wanted to avoid passing people multiple times per lap. I opted for a lane marked "medium," instead of the slow lane I'm used to, because there were fewer people and they seemed to be a little more proficient. Still, though, I'm not fast and I constantly considered switching back to a slower lane.

The problem was that I couldn't see the other end of the 50 meter pool clearly, and I couldn't tell the difference between the darker tile on the wall and a swimmer in a navy colored swim suit. To correct my vision a little bit, I'm in the habit of squinting hard and pulling my eyes to a narrow slit, the way kids do when they impersonate Chinese people. Just as I was doing this, I looked around and noticed that the pool was literally filled with Asian people. I mean in every single lane there were at least 3 Asians. Canada has a huge Asian population - Toronto is more than 50% Asian. There are a lot of Asian students at Western, and it seemed like I was the only non-Asian swimmer that evening. Trying not to seem like an ass, I used my palms to discreetly pull my eyes to slits, hoping it seemed like I was just having a reaction to the chlorine.

Eventually I decided to stay where I was put, and wondered if the other (Asian) swimmers thought that I was trying to insult them with my slit eyes.

Back when I swam regularly, growing up, I had much better eyesight and this kind of thing would never have happened! Now I know why they make prescription goggles.


  1. I just swim in my contacts and use goggles because otherwise I wouldn't be able to see a single thing...