I’m transitioning into morning swims three times a week. Sort of a shock when the alarm goes off at 6:20 a.m. and the radio announcer’s voice interrupts my dreams. Although I did the early rise for two years while I was working, now that I am formally retired (for now) I’m not fond of having to get up before my body and mind (or bladder) say, ‘Get up’.

On the positive side, summer mornings are magnificent – soft golden horizon, diamond dew, the hum of critters waking up. There’s usually a strong pong of skunk in the air. I suppose they’re wending their way back to the burrow after frolicking all night.

the-sun-269417_1280

Maybe it’s because I wear a snorkel and mask when I plow up and down doing lengths for 30 minutes, but boy, even though I’m myopic, I can see clearly and reluctantly that the bottom of the pool is filthy. Trust me, it ain’t pretty, people.

I’m not squeamish but damn, two or three band-aids suspended in the deep end along with unidentified flotsam swirling across the lane lines in the draft of the filter pump makes me want to scream. Today there were two particularly large clumps of long brown hair ebbing in my lane like nasty kelp. I think I’d prefer fish, because they’d get out of my way.

diving-786792_1280

The young lady sharing my lane is a dog-paddler, so I end up doing two lengths of front crawl to her one, but at least she’s not a thrasher who bangs into me as she swims by. An aquafit class takes up half the pool until 7:15, so we have to share. The ladies chatter and call out as they bend and splash to the music. Nice.

I time my swim in between two classes, to avoid lineups for showers. I’m always surprised that so many women hustle into the tiny change cubicles or make a big production out of trying to dress with a giant wet towel wrapped around themselves. As Hub would say, ‘who cares’? Nothing to see here – move along! Not to say that I flex and preen buck-naked in front of my locker, but geez, it’s yucky being clean and trying to slather on coconut oil under a damp piece of cloth. Start at the top, put on the bra. Moisturize the legs, put on the panties. We’re all senior citizens and we’ve earned our sags and bags and scars. Perhaps it’s a generational thing I never bought into. Maybe it’s because I’ve always played sports and stripping down in a communal dressing room doesn’t faze me.

laundry-405878_1280

As I was getting dressed, I felt a tugging on my clothing. I craned around to see the woman at the next locker with her hands firmly clasping the bottom of my shirt, pulling it down.

Damn, talk about breaching my personal space. “Excuse me,” says I, stepping away and wondering if she was some sort of change room weirdo.

“Oh, don’t mind me,” she says, I’m just a fuss-budge. Your blouse wasn’t straight at the bottom.” WTF?

I didn’t know whether to laugh or smack her fingers. My dark side wanted to go all ghetto on her and do or say something stereotypically rude. Instead, my good Angel took over. Head down, I rolled my eyes and finished packing up my stuff.

As I popped the hatch of my car, it occurred to me she must miss having someone to take care of.