‘Why don’t you go and take a running jump?’ Those were the exact words from my mate back in England when I told him that the water in my swimming pool is too hot to enjoy during the summer. I was touched by his proactive response to my predicament. His determination that I brave the weather is quite out of character.
Back in December I told him the water was too cool to spend more than an hour splashing around in and there was a definite hardening of his tone. You could, in fact, call the conversation chilly. Luckily he had to dash off to dig his car out of the snow so we didn’t talk much longer.
Not that I need his encouragement. Hot or cold, I love to take a dip on my roof. Despite the fact that the pool is shared with 149 more apartments and, it seems reasonable to estimate, three or four hundred people, it is most definitely my pool. Nobody is ever up there.
Access to a shared swimming pool is one of the greatest perks of my expat life, and one day I will miss it sorely. More sorely, at least, than when I dive in and crack my head on the floor of the ‘deep end’, or when I stub a toe on the uneven tiling near the showers.
Before work, after work and, on one glorious occasion when my boss was on holiday, during work I’ve been up there and rarely spotted another swimmer. Until, that is, the Arbuckle kids learned to swim. I don’t know their real names – all I know is that they moved into the building about three months ago and consider a family-sized tray of doughnuts a suitable poolside breakfast.
I’m not the type of guy that gets upset about a few crumbs in the paddling pool, shouting or even dive-bombing off the tables and chairs. I myself became very involved when re-enacting the final scenes from Jaws 2 one evening (like I say, the pool is nearly always empty and I do love to play). But when these horrid little chubsters started flinging a strawberry frosted at me during my morning lengths, a line was definitely crossed. The pool is my happy place. It is where I go when I need to think or when I want to stop thinking. It is where I go to work out and when I want to get the work out of my head. It is a place of solitude and relaxation.
I pointed this out to the fatter of the Arbuckles, but he just told me to take a running jump and bounced an apple fritter off my forehead.