How to be an Asshole Without Even Really Trying

63319040.jpg…okay, I know I said I wouldn’t be around much today, but I want to write this down before I forget about it and it won’t take long.

On my list of things to do today was an eye doctor appointment to get fitted with contact lenses so that I can see while I’m swimming.  I’ve worn contacts before; I tend to flip back and forth between contacts and glasses every couple of years or so.  I left with a pair of sample contacts in my prescription and, after thinking about it for a bit, decided to go for a swim.

Why did I think about it?  Because the thought you don’t have a replacement pair, so if you lose a lens in the damn pool you’re going to feel pretty stupid rolled through my head, and I almost decided to give my eyes a couple of days to get re-used to the lenses before swimming.

But I didn’t!

As I was swimming, getting reasonably close to my number of goal laps for the day, I noticed a youngish black kid standing rather nervously at the shallow end of the pool.  There was one open lane and one person in each of the other three, and he was being kind of weirdly fidgety about getting in.  I stood down at the shallow end and gasped for air for a minute or two, waiting to see if he wanted to share my lane, and then swam down to the far end.

As I got down to the far end and turned around, he climbed into the pool, using the ladder, in my lane.

And right about there, at that exact second, I adjusted my goggles and knocked a lens out of place.  It wasn’t out of my eye, but it was seriously not in position any longer, and it wasn’t comfortable at all.  I fiddled with it for a second, realized my chlorine-soaked hands weren’t doing me any good, and bailed.  From the deep end.

Leaving my towel and flip-flops at the other end.

And, as it was starting to hurt, didn’t quite run– the floor’s too slippery for that– but made for the men’s locker room at as high a rate of speed as being half-blind and in bare feet could allow.

It took two or three minutes in the bathroom, maybe, to get the lens back in place, at which point I thought fuck it, I was pretty close to the number of laps I was going to do anyway, and I think I’ve pushed my luck enough.  I went back into the pool area, grabbed my flip-flops and my towel, and went off to the hot tub.  Meanwhile, this kid’s swimming– not in my lane, notably, but sharing the one next to where I was.

It wasn’t until I was in the shower a few minutes after that that I realized that, as far as he could tell, the fat white guy had practically jumped out of the pool and fled as soon as the black teenager had gotten in.  Fled so quickly, in fact, that I’d forgotten to take my shit with me and had had to go back and get it.

So, yeah, that could have gone better.

(Note that I’m fully aware that I am not the center of this kid’s universe and that he probably barely even noticed I was there.  But if he did?  Shit.  It ain’t like I can track him down and apologize.  “Hey, that thing I did, that you might not have even noticed and looked really racist if you did?  Contact lens.  I swear.  Wanna go share the pool so I can prove it?”)


Published by

Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.

5 thoughts on “How to be an Asshole Without Even Really Trying

  1. I had that moment once, only it was me screaming I my own head NO THAT’S NOT THE REASON EVEN THOUGH YOU CLEARLY THINK IT IS but I couldn’t say so because then it would be like confirming it just by virtue of being the first one to articulate it and he never spoke to me again and that was 27 years ago and I still feel bad and sometimes there’s just no getting out clean, goddammit so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Too funny. There is a chance that he thought exactly what you feel he might have thought but there is a chance that he didn’t. Don’t worry about it. 🙂


  3. The last time I was in a pool place, as I was opening the door to the changing room, I bumped into a black girl. She dropped the smartphone she held, which broke. She looked at me like everything was my fault; the death stare.

    What did I do?

    I ran and had a panic attack, thinking she was going to come after me. My friend and I argued due to me not really telling her where I was going.

    Needless to say, I haven’t gone back.

    In short, that kid probably didn’t notice. XD


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