Public spaces aren’t just governed by rules… but by norms.
So, what happens when those norms are ignored?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) iwanttobeacavediver when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for shouting at someone because they touched my fins?”
“I’m currently training to learn freediving, and part of this is going to a pool to practice apnea (breath holding) and general technique.”
“Now finding a pool that allowed me to use any sort of fins was a pain in the butt, so when I found one that did, I was super happy.”
“Also, my fins aren’t your usual ones, they’re true freedive fins almost 3ft long, carbon fibre and they were very expensive for me to buy, almost $400.”
“They’re also decently fragile compared to your usual fins and are also really flexible. This means you have to be fairly careful.”
A word about the setting.
“The pool is your standard type with a shallow end of 60cm-1.5m (from 1ft-5ft in depth) and then it slopes down to 2m (7ft).”
“There is also a small section which is 4m (about 13ft) deep for diving boards.”
“I was at the 1.5m section with my buddy when this happened.”
“Part of my training involved being face down in the water with my legs out behind me and this of course meant that my fins were sticking out.”
“During one exercise I felt someone bump into my right-hand fin, so I put my head up to see what was happening.”
“It was a teenage girl, maybe 15ish. I explained to her in the local language (I happen to speak it) that she needed to look out for other people.”
“I continued with the exercises with my buddy but the same thing kept happening.”
“It was obvious that she just wasn’t listening to anything I’d said or watching what she was doing.”
“If anything she seemed more interested in being stupid in front of her friends. It happened multiple times and I tried to remind her gently.”
“The last time it happened, the fins were bent into a semi-circle and I became really annoyed because of this and instead of being nice…”
“I basically laid into her and told her that if she wanted to be an idiot then I hoped she had the $400 to replace my fins when she broke them.”
“She burst into tears, and I saw her sitting at the side of the pool for the rest of the time I was there.”
“I now feel I might have been too harsh on a young girl for what was likely an innocent mistake.”
OP was left to wonder,
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: YTA
Public means… with people.
“Pools are made for everyone to have fun not meticulously pay attention to weirdos with 3ft fins sticking up in the air.”
“I doubt he needs to wear them for breathing exercises anyway.”
“Dude sounds obnoxious.” ~ lovable_cube
“You’re in a public pool.”
“You can’t expect that nobody is going to touch your fins…especially in the shallower area.”
“And you’re taking up 8-9ft of space (with fins) at a time so it’s inevitable that you’ll get bumped.”
“There should be a designated location for the training that you need rather than a public pool with others doing their own thing.”
“Also if you’re only practicing apnea, do you need to have all your gear on?” ~ Willing-Helicopter26
“Won’t cough up $ for appropriate pool time, but acts like a Rockefeller at the public pool.”
“Are you that oblivious to the irony, or just desperate to have your super serious so expensive fins acknowledged by the ‘locals’? Local CHILDREN no less.”
“This whole situation is like a comedy skit.”
“This guy s a combo of the Jim Carrey hot tub lifeguard skit and the arrested development “yea right, the guy in the THOUSAND DOLLAR SUIT is going to hold the door for…”‘~ MzSe1vDestrukt
“YTA You’re in a public pool.”
“As you stated, with younger people around that are there to relax and play.”
“You do not need your fins on unless you are actually training with them, not hanging upside down and sticking them up out of the water.” ~ ItsDoctorFizz
“Breath-holding exercises are specifically prohibited in public pools in my area, a guy literally died doing it with his toddler splashing nearby.”
“Your average public pool lifeguard isn’t equipped to recognize someone in trouble when they’ve been actively trying to hold their breath for extended periods underwater.” ~ alternate_geography
“Water apnea is literally the most dangerous part of training.”
“Most instructors HAVE to be CPR/rescue trained because it’s that dangerous.”
“It’s legitimately not uncommon for a free diver to push themselves to pass out during apnea.”
“He shouldn’t even be engaging in that type of training without a certified instructor or at least without his buddy being rescue trained.”
“I used to do just sedentary apnea training laying down and have accidentally passed out, and that’s like at one of the lowest levels, entry-level to freediving training.” ~ pencilurchin
“And then in a public pool with people going there to have fun, and where lifeguards can’t focus on one person the whole time.”
“That sounds like a deadly accident waiting to happen. OP shouldn’t have been there doing that at all.” ~ EatThisShit
“Honestly as a lifeguard at an understaffed pool, I’d have shut that down.”
“I don’t hesitate to tell people to knock it off if they’re doing something that, by nature of the activity, makes me constantly wonder if they’re OK or not. Even if it doesn’t technically break the rules, if it’s taking all my attention, it’s not safe for everyone else.”
“Same as someone floating face down with a limp body.”
“I get it. It’s relaxing as f**k and I enjoy doing it, but I can’t be constantly staring at one person trying to figure out if they’re still ok.” ~ scavenginghobbies
A tangent worth researching.
“I play underwater hockey which involves breath holding, but we give the lifeguards an idea of what to look out for so there aren’t any issues.” ~ ChaiSlytherin
“And then I went a little further into the rabbit hole of related searches and found chess boxing.” ~ Rantimus_Maximus
“Update: there are Excel World championships. You can watch matches on YouTube. Please help” ~ pinzi_peisvogel
So many questions.
“I’m a casual free diver, and sure it can be hard to find practice places for using long fins but they 100% exist.”
“Dive shops often will rent pools out for practice sessions and so on.”
“It’s definitely possible to find pools where you could bring full fins.”
“Hell even gym memberships w/ pools that have late hours when it’s not crowded and no lifeguard.”
“What I don’t get is why tf op was practicing apnea with full fins in a public pool!l??!!”
“Not only is in-water apnea one of the more dangerous and intense aspects of free diving training but in a public diving pool why would you even bring your 400$ fins??”
“Snorkeling fins would suffice.”
“In water, the shallow in the difference is negligible. Also, laughing if OP is a new free diver and immediately went out and bought carbon fiber fins.”
“There’s so many other entry-level fins that perform very well and are much less money.”
“Alternatively, if you want to bring fins to a public setting where they might get damaged (whether it be by teenage girls or the concrete at the bottom of a pool), why immediately spring for some of the most expensive fins out there?” ~ pencilurchin
An alternative take.
“NTA, just because you’re in a public pool doesn’t mean you have to be subjected to others touching you and/or your stuff.”
“It’s pretty common sense not to touch something that isn’t yours. You warned her several times, and she kept doing it.” ~ Jask110
“I’m going to go against the grain and say NTA.”
“If it was just once then you’d be TA, but you told this girls multiple times to not touch your fins and she kept touching them so she’s an AH for that.”
“Although I do agree with other comments that you should try and look for a more free diving friendly pool or maybe just stick to the deeper end of that pool in the future.” ~ Monsterchic16
“You weren’t attempting to ‘own’ a public space, as though the pool was yours, you were attempting to have someone respect your personal space.”
“You were stationary, and being repeatedly bumped into by someone you REPEATEDLY politely asked to stop.”
“This is like standing on a public sidewalk and having some random teenager repeatedly step on your expensive shoes.”
“It’s a public space anyone can be in, but that doesn’t mean you can damage apparel someone is wearing.”
“Inconsiderate child.” ~ _Praetoriae_
The norm being ignored here is that public spaces belong to everyone, not just you.
Taking up space and setting boundaries are normal aspects of anyone’s life.
Just remember that in public spaces, yours aren’t the only boundaries to consider.