Jared Ning


china chronicles: swimming episode


swimming in a pool with a bunch of chinese.  never thought of such a concept.   i was almost grossed out by the thought of it.  afterall, they don’t call it the yellow river for nothing.  just kidding.  so me and Zhang, my step-mom’s sister-in-law took me to an indoor swimming pool.  she showed them her card and they punched a hole and gave her a key.  she showed me the signs, “this is the exit, this is the entrance.”  i was about to walk in until she took me to the other side where we repeated steps 1-3.  lucky for me we did because i was informed that this side was for boys and the other was for girls.  so Zhang gives me a towel, a swimming cap, some goggles, some soap and some flip-flops and sends me off all by myself.

i go in and see a whole bunch of little kids running around.  so i’m trying to find my locker in this crammed room with screaming little boys — uh, now there are screaming little naked boys.  i still don’t understand that whole slapping of the butt thing.  especially screaming little naked boys’ butts.  i still can’t find my locker so i walk around some more.  shower room.  didn’t need to see that.  finally find my locker and change.

walk out to the olympic sized pool.  i start walking around wondering if i would be swimming by myself too.  guy stops me and asks me if i’m going to swim and i say yes.  ”then where’s your swimming cap,” he says.  ”i don’t use one,” i say.  he retorts, “you have to, it’s a rule.”  great, jared in a swimming cap.  too bad i didn’t see myself in the mirror.  sorry, no pictures.  i find Zhang and we jump in and start swimming.  kinda cold.  swim swim swim.  in march about a thousand little kids.  i was later told that in the fifth grade, everybody has to take swim lessons.  there are adults and littler kids too.  one chubby little girl in a tube decided to come over and say something that i didn’t understand and splash some water in my face.  ”alright,” i said.

we decide to take a break and sit down a bit.  we talked for a while.  she asked me if what i was wearing was made for swimming.  i looked at her kinda funny and said yes.  she said she had never seen swimming suits like mine before.  ”really?” i said.  i look around and notice that all the males, old and young, skinny and not so skinny alike, are all wearing speedos.  man, i was glad i brought my own.