OLD LADY SWIMMERS (THE LOVELY I PART II)
“Where did you get that most excellent purple cap?” Penelope asks as she finishes tucking her hair into her ordinary Speedo cap.
“Tee hee!” The Lovely giggles, pleased. “Isn’t it great? I can’t remember exactly, but I think down at Transports on College.”
Penelope nods, remembering her former life on College Avenue. Frequenting Transports was part of this life. Yet she doesn't remember any such caps.
The Lovely I’s was vintage layered scallop. You know the type. Thick rubber with little layers of rubber leaves folding upon each other. And it was, as already mentioned, an enchanting purple hue (The Lovely I’s favorite color---Penelope knows this cause when she used to car pool to Mills with the Lovely I and picked her up at her cute house, it had lavender trim. Penelope had commented on this fanciful dress. The Lovely I had nodded, admitting proudly of how purple was her favorite color.)
So, now admiring this purple cap, Penelope is taken back to pictures of Esther Williams, swimming her graceful backstroke, big smile plastered on and a scalloped cap holding her locks inside.
“It’s a Classic Old Lady Swimmer Cap,” The Lovely I had grinned. “I for one can’t think of a better thing than becoming an Old Lady Swimmer. In fact I think I’m well on my way. This summer at Mills, when all the kids were there with their mothers, it’s always their mothers, isn’t’ it? I noticed that these mothers were REALLY YOUNG! I used to see them, it seems not so long ago, and think how they were my contemporaries, but not anymore. I am well past the child bearing years.”
“Thank God!” Penelope exclaims.
“Yes,” The Lovely I agrees, “you and I do definitely agree on That One.” She stares for a moment, pensive, into the mirror as Penelope tucks the last lock into her own cap and begins the earplugs insertion process. Soon she won’t be able to converse anymore, but she does want to finish the Old Lady Swimmer musings.
Sighing, The Lovely I smiles serenely into the mirror, before picking up her enormous gym bag and hefting it over her Lovely shoulder. The Old Lady Swimmer musings seem to be over.
Yet as Penelope finishes the earplug insertion, she considers the Old Lady Swimmer Pronouncement and its preference over other Old Lady Considerations. Or at least this is how it comes across to her.
She doesn’t want to think of herself as an Old Lady ever. It’s so depressing. There’s such a stigma in our culture against being old, esp. for women. Old Women are obsolete. They can’t bear children, they’ve lost their beauty, they serve no purpose.
But yet, she guesses that if she does become an Old Lady, if she makes it that far, then yes, being an Old Lady Swimmer is the way to go. And swimming, she’ll predict, will do much to combat this stigma against old age and what it means. What one can do.
For the beauty of swimming is, Penelope is certain, that she’ll be able to swim her whole life. Even if it means swimming more slowly, with fewer yards, and in less time.
She’ll always swim.
So, when Penelope pictures herself and the Lovely I 20, 30, 40? years from now she sees them still swimming laps in a blue blue pool. The Lovely I will, of course, still be lovely, and she’ll still be swimming albeit at an old lady pace? She will sport the Lavender cap and be quite pleased to be doing so.
She’ll smile and sigh happily after her swim and continue to make pronouncements on this that and the other thing (Penelope had told her about the Black Adonis as her nurse. The Lovely I had been suitably impressed, but then had told the story of how she’d once tried to talk with him at Mills and ‘Well, I hate to say it but he was kinda boring. You know, the Hot Guy. The Hot Guys don’t have to try.”)
Hot Guys don’t have to try?
Hell, Penelope is betting that Old Lady Swimmers don’t have to try either. They’ll just be naturally entertaining.
Esp. if you’re an Old Lady Swimmer with a Classic Old Lady Cap.
Purple, of course. And excellent, no doubt.