Denise McDonald Dorman

The FREAK in the Hot Tub

In Life Observations on June 11, 2010 at 6:25 pm

One magical summer during college, BFFs Christina Bouvier, Dee Meister and I really took advantage of our memberships at a local health club. It quickly became our second home. Our routine was a vigorous game of racquetball followed by the hot tub, and finally, the ultimate cool down: a dip in the Olympic-sized pool. Since this pool was renowned for its very showy competitive divers, it didn’t take much coaxing for me to do my dramatic Nadia Comaneci gymnast march across the lower diving board, reach the end, pause, pinch my nose with one hand and do a gigantic, splashy white trash cannonball. Even the lifeguard would look away, snickering.

Oddly enough, the hot tub was co-ed, located in an awkwardly shared space between the men’s & women’s locker rooms.  For a woman alone, this was not a safe place to be. Whoever came up with this brainchild must have been the person behind naming the Fifth Third Bank. If the hot tub was occupied by some strange guy, we simply walked past it and proceeded straight to the pool.

But here’s the thing: I’m the original freak magnet. If something bizarre and socially awkward is going to happen, the likelihood of it happening with me present is statistically and inordinately high. My colleagues theorize that I have a friendly face, and this somehow attracts it.  I think it goes beyond that. It’s some sort of aura I give off unwittingly: Freaks are Welcome Here. If there are 10 people in the frozen foods aisle and I’m the one with my ass sticking out of the freezer whilst inspecting the fish sticks, it will be my shoulder that gets tapped by a stranger asking the time of day, or which aisle houses the anti-itch creme. One day as I paid for my gasoline, a cashier proceeded to tell me about her abortion. I just nodded politely, a deer-in-the-headlights captive audience desperately in need of an exit strategy. Perhaps I missed my calling as a therapist, since people find the need to seek me out and assault me with their life’s non sequitirs.

Back to the health club. On this given day, BFFs Bouvier, Meister and I were all sitting around the perimeter of the hot tub, soaking our legs from the knees down. A Speedo’d man in his thirties entered the hot tub, and proceeded to go underwater in the middle of our threesome, holding himself in a tightly wound little ball. Bouvier, Meister and I all exchanged our WTF look, pretending to converse as though nothing were amiss. A minute went by, and we all started getting highly anxious. What the hell was this Man from Atlantis doing? And why?  And even more worrisome, did he require our assistance?

After some spirited debate, Meister came up with the best solution: “Let’s all hold our breath, and when we can no longer hold our breath, we will grab this guy and pull him out of the water.” Agreed. Brilliant. The three of us sat there, our cheeks puffed out like Louie Armstrong, reddening until we could no longer stand it. Bouvier was the last to exhale. We three stood up simultaneously to go into the water together and rescue this ass clown. He suddenly burst forth out of the water violently, like an angry, sebaceous cyst being popped. Although startled to the point of perhaps leaving a few drops of yellow water behind, we avoided making eye contact with this guy and continued walking past him and out of the hot tub, as though exiting was our original intention.

To this day, we remain perplexed by this incident. Every year, I check the Guinness Book of World Records. Thus far, the person with the record for holding his breath under water bears no resemblance to our guy. I’m just chalking it up to yet another stranger who felt comfortable letting his freak flag fly proudly in my presence.

  1. Ummm… yes, and the rest of his life story 🙂

  2. DeDe,
    OMG! I laughed so hard at this entry. You are TRULY the one who gets picked out of a crowd by the freaks! The DMV, grocery store, anywhere! It’s always entertaining to be out and about with you. I never know who/what will happen! 🙂
    Also, you touched on something that drives me crazy… FIFTH THIRD?? Who the heck gave the red light to that ridiculous name? Every time I hear it, I think of Mr McMahon turning over in his grave from the improper fraction!! SD and I have had spirited debates (I know… hard to believe…) over this bank’s name! He banks there because it’s close to his route home. Because of the irritating name, I say I wouldn’t bank there even if I had to drive 5 miles out of my way! Thanks for being irritated by the name too – was starting to think I was one of the freaks that seek you out so often!

    • I’m trying to recall – was that the weird guy who worked at the DMV who was telling me all about his divorce?

  3. Hilarious story! I finally got around to reading this blog, which I’m unable to do at work (blocked by our spyware). As your cousin, I can personally attest to your ability to bring out the weird in weird-o. Keep up the great stories – this was the comedic relief I needed today!

    • If I had to testify in court that I’m a freak magnet, you’d be a reliable witness for my defense.

  4. Sounds like a foot fetish to me, or just a stupid idiot take your pick.

    • A stupid idiot with an inhuman – SERIOUSLY – ability to hold his breath under water.

  5. Hey, didn’t you two lock me in a locker? And I think you forgot to tell your fans about how Dee and I would yell, “Reverse court!” and hit the ball at you. HA.

  6. It’s amazing what one can do when his Speedo is a little too tight. Hahahaha!

    Great story.

    – Mike

Leave a Reply to Darlene Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: