A lot of people moan about a lot of things, don’t they? Things that don’t really matter. And really, they shouldn’t. Not when there are people sleeping on the streets, eating at food banks, being bombed out of their homes or having to watch Bolton Wanderers every week.
First World Problems, the comedian Jason Manford calls them. And he’s right, the things that some people see as major issues in their lives just don’t even register on the scale of real hassles, not when people can’t pay their bills or find a job of have major health issues.
In the space of one half-hour session in the pool at my gym the other day – it’s not my gym, obviously – I heard enough of these gripes to fill a medium-sized 5-4-Friday. And here it is…
- Too many people in the pool. Now, it’s not a huge swimming pool – twenty-two metres long on the long side and twenty metres on the short side where it curves round to the steps – but it’s perfectly adequate. It can comfortably house six, maybe seven, swimmers side-by-side without you getting poked into eye, or worse. One of my favourite pastimes is to watch a budding Rebecca Adlington emerge from the changing rooms only to become crestfallen and sulk like a two year-old who’s lost his favourite toy when she sees that three other paying customers have had the temerity to get up earlier than her.
- I have actually seen people turn tail and immediately return to the changing rooms when faced with the situation above. Just because they can’t have the pool to themselves and live out their Olympic fantasies. “I hate it if I have to swim over this side of the pool” whined one, “because it means I have to swim an extra few lengths to make up my one thousand metre drill”.
- “And another thing”, wailed one of her mates from the sanctuary of the jacuzzi, “when you’re swimming over on this side, because the pool is flush up against the main wall, when it’s crowded (anything in excess of three people constitutes crowded) it gets really choppy and instead of the water lapping over the edge of the pool it splashes back off the wall and into your eyes”. Well, quite. Heaven forbid you’d get your face wet while swimming.
- In a rare moment of tranquillity in the Jacuzzi, someone moaned that there was too much chlorine in the water. Which wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem but today, for some reason, “the whirlpool is really bubbly”. Having heard enough belly-aching for one morning, I clambered out and headed to the sauna….
- … only to find it was out of commission for some unexplained reason. Now it was my turn to sulk, because the only alternative if there is no sauna is to go in the steam room next door. And, paradoxically, the steam room is actually cold. Well, it is if you sit down. I remember from my CSE Physics lessons that hot air rises and so I have learned that the only way to reap the benefits of the menthol-infused steam room is to stay upright. But who wants to go in to a steam room and have to stand up? First World problem, right there.
See you on the treadmill – Griff