Subject: The Pool

Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2000 04:50:34 -0700 (PDT)
From: “Steve Kerr”

Christchurch, swamp central, has a new pool that I swim in. Inside, every surface is pristine white tiles, like being in the fridge. The windows run from the ceiling to the floor, and are immaculately clean, lightly tinted. The handrails have been polished. Huge silver ducts run between the rafters. There are four large cabbage trees installed between the kiddies pool and the big persons pool. They have been spray-painted silver, to contribute to the space age effect. At first I considered this a horrifying affront to nature. Remember, Christchurch has no native trees. But then the truth revealed itself: I recognized the trees as symbols of the ushering in of the brave new silvery sci-fi information age that only fools with no respect for the sovereign power of incomprehensibly large and amorphous financial interests of
indeterminate purpose would try to resist.

I was swimming a few weeks ago, before I got sick, and they closed off a couple of the lanes so a big group of really fat people could do wet, slow aerobics. Ironically, the pool authorities, these space age visionaries, have been learning from the diplodocus. The idea is that the buoyancy of the water acts to support the extraordinarily large mass of the aerobicsers. The fat people danced half submerged to the requisite technotronic beats, rattling out of a little boombox. The water was cool, their faces were red. The instructor danced on dry land, at the poolside, in neon aerobics gear, with a Garth Brooks head set so her thoughtful and individualized abuse could easily be heard by all. The fat people had foam rubber (cheats!) dumbbells, and long soft blue bendy foam rubber dildos that they had to ride, like synthetic blue sausage horses. When I swam breaststroke, on the down stroke, I could see just their legs and torsos, dancing slowly in unison and in silence like chubby pink kelp.

The price of admission includes the spa, so now after my swim, I enjoy the initial rush of my well-earned endorphin high in a super heated communal bath, the bacteria and the bleach fighting it out all around me. I can watch the kids playing in the kiddy pool, the big sweaty men upstairs in the gym concentrating furiously as they use the walking machines. There’s always a big bunch of middle-aged Chinese friends talking shit and saunaing together, and a small group of lithe, tanned Australian iron men, as per the cereal ads. The whole scene is absolutely delightful, and I can giggle and enjoy it, and stick my head into the overheated septic water and blow bubbles and feel them tickle my nose.

And there’s just enough kick left to walk home on the invisible post-swim conveyor belt, with my walkman turned up as loud as it goes. I have no need for Sony’s Automatic Volume Limitation System circuitry – possibly developed in response to a US court action?. My favourite tape at the moment is Uncle Tupelo, “March16-20, 1992″(1992) b/w Ultra Magnetic MCs, “Critical Beatdown”(1988). I can’t describe the music, my appreciation comes from too deep inside me to use words. Thanks, wellington City Library. I love you. I love you. I love you.

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