The Whatever Factor

“You look to be doing well.” His eyes zone into mine, their beauty completely distracting me for a moment as I pause at the side of the pool. Damn! How can a guy have such beautiful eyes? You know, those long lashes, and in the pool, they’re glistening wet and slightly unreal. And then combine that with his ruggedly handsome (yes, I know this is cliché, but it’s true) jaw and cheekbones, and hell, I can barely speak. But I do manage a fairly passable answer, I think, with,

“Yup, today, is good. And look,” I wave at the near empty pool except for the two of us. “It’s our pool today!”
“I love the calm,” he nods, still gazing steadily at me. I’m finished with my swim, so am a little winded, but it’s mostly his focused beauty gaze that has me transfixed. Usually, I just hop out of the pool, but not today. This is way to enticing.
“Yes, it is calm. By 2 p.m.,, it’ll be mayhem.”

“Really?” he says like he has no clue of the schedule. Could this be? I suppose there are swimmers who just come to the pool when it fits their schedule with nary a glance at the pool schedule. Unlike me who builds my life around the pool schedule.

“Yeah,” and I go blah blah blah about birthday parties, and crowds of families and screaming children and he just continues to nod and stare at me.
I stop talking about the schedule and ask him about his injuries. A common topic of conversation at the YMCA. He has arthritis in both of his shoulders. Ouch! And didn’t swim for several months, but today I note that he’s swimming just fine.

“Yeah,” he says, “well, sometimes I kick and I get a wave of pain, but you know, it’s never gonna be the same as it was. Something happens at 50 and you just have to give that one up. It actually takes a lot of pressure off. There’s a freedom in it you, know?”

“Yeah, it’s like, I can’t swim as fast or as far as I used to, but at least I’m in the pool and I’m swimming so, whatever….”

He grins, and I’m momentarily mesmerized by his beauty again as he proclaims, “Yeah, it’s The Whatever Factor.”
“Exactly!” I agree. “The Whatever Factor. You reach 50 and it’s whatever you can do, that’s what you do and whatever it is it’s good enough and frankly who cares? You know, it’s ‘whatever’!”
He nods, deep in thought of my Whatever Babbling. And I guess that’s what’s great about being over 50. I mean what difference does it make if I can only swim 200 yards without my fins? Whatever. Or I can only swim a mile in 40 minutes. Whatever. Or, I can only stand at the wall chatting with Too Handsome Man for 5 minutes before I get cold.

Damn! This aspect of the Whatever Factor sucks, but at least I’ve had a chance to bask in his beauty for a moment.

“It’s nice talking with you,” he says, grabbing a kickboard from the deck.
“Yes, you too,” I try not to gush. What did DL say, Beauty is the ONLY distraction?
Thank goodness this part of being over 50 hasn’t seemed to diminish. If anything, my appreciation of beauty has become even more pronounced.

Why is that, I wonder? Is it because there’s less I can actually do so my imagination and appreciation of beauty is more vibrant? Or is it because I’ve started painting watercolors and writing a novel about art and dreams? Or is it because…

Oh, whatever! I think as I climb out of the pool and sneak one last glance at his manly kick down the lane.
That never gets old!


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