Monday, November 21, 2005

Strong Arm

The bloke behind the counter is a good guy - I can tell by his face. I have two questions for him.

1. Are the lanes open?
2. When do the kids leave?

Money changes hands.

I walk towards automatic doors and am transported to the tropics – the public baths.

Public baths. I take off my T-shirt.

I choose a lane with one person - someone I can keep up with and keep out of the way of.

It’s 25 meters from the shallow end to the not so shallow end. Bubbles. Kicking. Gasping. My technique is rubbish. Relax – it’s hard not tense.

Okay – this is going a little better. Not racing. Smoothly and gently. Legs nice and free. Mouthful of water. Choking. Floundering. Keeping moving. And that’s 25 meters.

These goggles make me feel cool. I inhaled half the pool one minute ago but now I’m cool. Ok Mr Cool, time for another lap. Relax. Thumbs in the water first. Arms close to your head on the way around. Much better.

Another 25 - I’m back at the start.

My lane buddy is getting out. Lane Buddy is getting in to his wheelchair. He can’t use his legs. He can’t use his legs and was still keeping up with me. Lane Buddy says “See you later” in a way that makes me hope I do.

More laps. Focusing on keeping it relaxed and easy. Focusing on the breathing and the technique. Focusing on. Man my technique is better than that guys. Hey, who's she? What time is it? Is that a paperclip?

Out.

Towel. Shoes. Track pants (wallet still safe in back pocket). T-Shirt. Car keys. Glasses. Googles.

Doors open with a chill. It’s time to leave the public to their baths.
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