Then there’s the grand one in the centre of town, in a hall painted cake blue and white, with a marble bottom and a classical statue. Here I feel Roman but cold. The lanes are wide, making it a free-for-all, and after work it is so crowded it’s like a kind of self-imposed urban flood armageddon. Going nowhere. No escape. But that’s always the way with these pools with their lanes: a geometry of futility.
Back at my regular, the alpha pool, I took a shower next to a man with such a well proportioned, beautifully crafted member that I wonder if anyone has ever paid him a compliment. Don’t worry, I didn’t. I had to turn away. In the shallow end of the medium lane, I was bemused when a large lady did an expansive backstroke and her jolly mate swam towards her with the front crawl. It felt like a kind of froggy courtship. In one awkward period, I somehow found myself swimming between their flirtatious positioning.
The pools become my landmarks in the city. We all have our strategic points.