January 9, 2016 § Leave a comment
I went to the pool and got these anecdotes.
I swam in lane five. On my second lap I noticed there was a spider in lane five too. It was sitting, presumed dead, in the deep end, directly underneath my path. It was, despite its furled state, an alarming size and menacingly dark colour, and appeared fully intact. Doomed to check on the spider another forty times, the thought of how it perished would at least keep me occupied.
Did it drop in the pool from the side or run out of thread and fall from the ceiling? Did it spring from an underused swimsuit (pressed into action by new year’s resolutions) only to be whacked with a thong and swept into the drink? Was this spider error or did it encounter foul play? Did it almost make it almost to the blocks before succumbing to damp and chlorine?
I don’t know.
The spider drifted back and forth on unseen currents both human and industrial, and for an uncomfortable couple of laps disappeared altogether against the black line. But in the end it stayed, like me, in lane five. At the end of my set I dived down with the intention of plucking it out, but as I stared through my goggles at it, already out of breath, I saw that I didn’t have what it takes to grab a large black spider, neither alive nor drowned, and cradle it to the surface.
In a watery grave it stays.
There was a big man sitting in the bleachers, almost as round as he was high, wearing shorts and a t-shirt, socks and shoes. I assumed he was there for some kind of physical therapy reserved for the morbidly diabetic. He heaved himself up and, with the rocking motion of those with uncooperative joints, painfully navigated the steps to the pool deck, then leaned over to bark instructions at a young man in the fast lane wearing a team USA cap.
A very long time ago, I lost my kick board and pool buoy at the pool. I say at the pool but truthfully it may have been some other place. Nevertheless, I decided to ask the pool if they had them. The pool said they would let me look in their lost property. It soon became apparent that my kick board and pool buoy were not there, but many other people’s were.
After some fruitlessly specific digging (‘Was it the 3rd of January?’ ‘I’m not sure,’ I frowned, dishonestly) the pool attendant said I might as well take anything from That Pile Over There, nudging his foot at the pile of last resort; an undated heap of motley swimming aids; the long-term unemployed. This was the outcome I had more or less expected. I pawed through the actual (as opposed to metaphorical) flotsam and selected a not-too-shabby kick board and pool buoy. Some unexplained stains on one, a negligible bite taken out of the other. It was only later, as I was proudly examining my new gear, that I realised there was a name printed on the pool buoy.
Now I will spend the rest of my days hoping Zerler never shows up and challenges me for legal ownership of my pool buoy.
Of course, if it happens in lane five I might be in a position to throw a huge spider at him and run away.