Snap Shot #54 – Sauna Jury


I’ve just finished twenty laps at the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre and am looking forward to a steam. I turn the corner to discover that the steam room is out of action. Bummer. I look through the glass wall of the adjacent sauna and see that it’s jam packed. Wait a sec – no, there does seem to be a seat on the bottom bench, even though a couple of people are standing near the door. I carefully push it open and the standers make room for me. I sit down and immediately notice that the bottom bench is considerably cooler than the one above it. Oh well. Maybe someone will leave and I’ll get my chance to move up in the world. I also become aware that the Chinese looking middle aged woman standing in front of me and facing everyone else is quite animated and talkative. She starts making odd faces and doing yoga poses, chanting, “Breathe in, breathe out.” She gets herself in a precarious position. It’s too much for the other stander and he opens the door. This unbalances the woman and she topples bum first out of the sauna. She gets up and leaves. Then it starts. The judgment. Bottom Bench Woman: “She was definitely on something.” Top Bench Woman: “Or maybe she used to be on something and is now always like that.” Top Bench Man: “I work at Long Bay Prison and I see that sort of thing all the time.” The door is swung open by a tall handsome life guard. I assume that he wants to checks people’s wrist bands and ensure no one is in there that didn’t pay for the privilege. But I’m wrong. “That woman that was just in here – she’s a regular and has fairly severe autism. Usually it’s not an issue but it’s particularly crowded in here today, so I apologise if she’s upset anybody”. He leaves. Silence. Bottom Bench Woman: “I feel so bad. Here we were, judging her.” Top Bench Woman: “I know.” Top Bench Man: “We deal with autism all the time at Long Bay.”


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