When I started swimming at my gym pool in May, I was introduced to a cast of characters. Every one of these people brings me some sort of joy and makes me laugh. They’re each unique in their own right and have become characters in the story of life. Allow me to introduce:

Hammer Hands. No one taught this man how to cup his hands when he swims. He attacks the water violently with his fists, slamming them on the water like it caused some punishable offense. No one ever shares a lane with him and from what I can gather, it’s because they’re scared of him (I know I am).

Flopper. The first time this dude belly-flopped into the pool at the start of his swim, I thought for sure it was a mistake. But then I encountered him two other times and he gets in the same way every time. SMACK! No one else has ever been in or around the pool except for me when he does this – I need a certified witness that this actually happens.

The Runner. This woman is in the best shape. She has some kind of back injury and wears a back brace and spends about an hour in the pool running laps at least twice per week. I don’t know what her full story is, but she’s incredibly inspirational.

The Roamer. The pool at my gym is not big – just two standard lanes, but each lane can be shared, allowing for four lanes total. This guy though. This guy. He gets in the pool, swims under water and just roams. He doesn’t swim laps, but lurks down at the bottom. It’s like he’s looking for shells maybe?

Harold. This is probably not his name, but it’s the name I gave him. As previously mentioned in a comment yesterday, this older gentleman will occasionally do laps. Mostly though, he yells at people in the steam room about why Donald Trump is really the only presidential candidate worth voting for. He wears a WWII Vets hat outside the gym and I want to ask him about his service, but he never stops talking long enough to get a word in. He's a loud curmudgeon, but I kind-of missed him in my week-long gym hiatus (due to illness).

TBD. This blog post was really inspired by this guy, who doesn’t yet have a nickname. I’m still stunned at what happened, but just glad The Runner was in the pool to witness what took place. I was swimming a lap and it sounded like a motor was starting up behind me. Then waves, which were a little more than a foot high, swept towards me. It was like I was suddenly at the ocean. My facial expression was clearly one of surprise; The Runner, who was going in the opposite direction, looked at me and mouthed: “What. The. F@!#.?” Now her and I have never spoken, but it was incredibly alarming and we shared a moment. This guy had hopped into my lane and was doing the absolute weirdest kick I have ever seen – he was bending at the knees and WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! – pelting the water in the craziest way. Water was flooding out of the pool. He was not by any means a big dude, but the kick was unreal. I know I’m not going to be able to explain it accurately, but everyone in the pool area stopped to give a general WTF look in his direction. About five minutes in, The Runner and I started laughing uncontrollably. In case you’re wondering, it’s difficult to laugh and swim.

It felt good to be back at the gym, bizarre world and all.