“Hello there,” I said as I slipped past the smelly plastic shower curtain blocking the doorway view of the local college aquatics center locker room last Saturday morning. The smiling white-haired lady seated on the bench was taking off her shoes. As I was about to warm up the shower to partake of my chlorine removal ritual…
“Excuse me, can you do me a favor?”
“Absolutely! How can I help?”
“Will you pull my suit up? Make sure my back fat isn’t hanging out.”
“Of course.” I said. As she approached me and turned around, I imagined the patience and tenderness with which my mom helped dress me when I was a kid. I felt endearment towards this twinkly-eyed stranger. Her faded blue\black leopard print one-piece and its shoulder straps were already well-positioned. She was not a heavy-set woman, but there she was laughing good-naturedly and conscientious about soft tissues not conforming to her wishes. The suit was indeed a bit catawampus on the upper back’s left side, so I gently pulled the length of the shoulder straps up and smoothed the scoop of the back area under the fabric.
“You are all set.”
“Okay there’s none hanging out, right?”
“Nope, the suit is just right and looks great.”
“Thank you,” she said, grinning at me…”I am 97 years old.”
I had not asked, but I was wondering. I hope I am still swimming at that age.
After my chlorine removal ritual, I complimented another white-haired swimmer on her pretty, bright colored one piece. She replied wryly, “Thanks. I figure if I end up on the bottom (of the pool), at least they can see me.”