Drying off in the locker room, PP was trying to get warm. Sure, the Perfect Postcard Pool had been enchanting, but the mountain air was definitely not Waikiki! And the showers. Ok, they’d been warm enough, but frankly, PP coulda used a bit more water pressure. (Though she understood how the Tahoe area was in semi-drought mode.)
Ducking her head down to wrap her wet hair in the towel, she heard the quick wet steps of another swimmer hurry into the shower. Must be her, Super Fast Swimmer, PP thought to herself as she slipped on her clothes and started to brush out her hair. Wonder if she got cold too even with her wetsuit on?
Probably. Wetsuits helped but they weren’t a complete answer to the brisk air temp.
Out of the shower, and yes it was she, SFS, PP smiled over at her as she toweled off. “You are SO FAST!” PP exclaimed, surprising herself. Usually she didn’t engage strangers in the locker room so immediately, but SFS had been impressive.
Shyly she grinned. “I really don’t like to swim that fast. My favorite is to swim 2 or 3 kilometers at a nice slow steady pace.”
PP nodded. 2 or 3 kilometers. Shit. That was a hell of a LONG way to swim at one time. PP usually swam a little over a mile, so maybe this was close to 2 kilometers, but honestly she didn’t know how far a kilometer was. Was it a little less than a mile? Or a little more than a mile? PP could never remember. And why was she talking in kilometers anyway? Was she from Canada?
PP didn’t mention any of her musings, but continued nodding to encourage more chatting. She’s found that this is often all that’s needed to keep a conversation in motion.
“But I get so cold,” SFS continued as per PP’s conversation strategy, “and one evening I was complaining to Don and he just laughed at me and said, ‘You’re NOT working hard enough. And he was right!” she giggled. “I wasn’t. So ever since then I’ve been trying to swim faster and I do stay a little warmer, but we skinny girls, “ she glanced PP up and down in a friendly comradely way, “get cold!”
“Oh, yeah!” PP agreed, happy in the familiar temperature surrounding swimming conversation. “Though you really are a very beautiful swimmer!” she exclaimed.
Did SFS blush? PP thought so, but maybe not. Though her demeanor was blushing. “Swimmming isn’t really my sport,” SFS admitted. “I’m actually a triathlete.”
“Oh? So you run and bike too?”
”My sister did a triathlon in LA one year,” PP said, “and I was really impressed. I could never do all those sports.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not really very good at any of them.”
PP laughed. “It’s only when you put them all together that you’re good?”
They both laughed. PP didn’t quite buy this modesty at least as far as her swimming was concerned. But her humility was cute. PP had to admit this. And so was she, with her lanky leanness, chin length auburn curls and sparkle in her dark eyes.
“I think I really want to join the Master’s Team this fall and get some instruction. I don’t think I’m actually very efficient in the water.”
PP nodded. “I used to swim on a Master’s Team down in Oakland years ago. I really liked it for the social aspect. I didn’t really compete very much.”
SFS nodded, deep in thought? Was she thinking about PP’s lack competitive drive? Or her own desire to improve her stroke? Probably the latter, PP mused. Most people didn’t really think about what the other person was saying but were already onto their own thoughts without really analyzing.
Or was this just PP’s mode of operation in the world?
Projection. It worked for PP. Especially at the Pool.
“Well, it was nice chatting with you,” SFS gave PP a charming smile.
“Likewise,” PP grinned, noting how she was fast getting dressed too, unlike PP and many of her swimming cohorts back in Oakland. Sometimes, PP wondered where the Hell JL had disappeared to in the Locker room, or if the Lovely I could really be slower (it was all that Hair!) than PP getting dressed.
But no such nonsense for SFS. She was ready to go and out of the cold locker room lickety split.
“See you next time,” she called out.
“Yes, next time,” PP echoed after her, knowing that there would probably be no next time. At least not with SFS. And she felt, for a moment, a little wistfully sad about this. That she wasn’t gonna hear about her next triathlon, or her workout with the Master’s Team or watch in rapt admiration as she zoomed down the lane next to her.
Following her back into the homey office, where DH was sitting waiting for PP, reading The Sun Also Rises (how cool is that?), PP nodded to where SFS had disappeared out into the piney night.
“Did you have a good swim?” he asked.
“Oh, yes, perfect. And I had a fun conversation in the locker room with the cute super fast swimmer.
“She was cute,” DH agreed as he packed Hemingway into his gym bag and slung his arm around PP. “Ready for some dinner?”
”Yes! I have a couple ideas!” PP grinned.
“I just bet you do.”
He hugged her tightly to him, as he opened the door to venture out into the crisp mountain eve.
PP scanned the dark piney parking lot. No SFS in sight. She’d completely vanished.
Fast in the pool. Fast in the locker room.
And fast into the night.
PP admired this speed. In other people. But for herself, she was all about swimming her less than 2 kilometers nice and easy.