The Whatever Factor
“Yup, today, is good. And look,” I wave at the near empty pool except for the two of us. “It’s our pool today!”
“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.”
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!