I like skies that are grey and cloudy, and I like swimming under skies that are grey and cloudy. If there is so little ambient light that they have to turn on the underwater lights at 12 noon, that’s pretty neat too. It’s not just the greyness and lack of sun that I enjoy though. It’s also that the pool tends to be relatively empty, and I can choose the lane with the flags on top, and not have to share it, and swim backstroke without
worrying about bumping into anyone.

If it rains, all the better — there is something ironic and wonderful about rainwater falling into a pool and on an already wet body, and it somehow reminds me of childhood swims.

Thunder is different kettle of fish though, because then they make you get out of the pool for twenty minutes, presumably so that any danger of lightning and death by electrocution (and liability for death by electrocution) has passed.

The sitting around for twenty minutes is interesting in and of itself. First you have to remember how many laps you have already done, and whether you can afford the delay. While you sit on the side of the pool for twenty minutes, many thoughts pass through your head. For most of us, the opportunities to just sit for twenty minutes with no distractions come by quite rarely. You remember the CSI episode where someone is killed
exactly by electrocution in the water, you wonder whether to go into the changing rooms, whether to wrap yourself in a towel and whether you will catch a cold. You realize once again that you quite enjoy having empty time, at least in small, unexpected and externally controlled doses, and wonder if that is true for everyone. You think back to that angry song in that angry (and terrific) album by an angry (and unhappy) Alanis Morissette (All I Really Want in Jagged Little Pill) where there are a few seconds silence, preceded by the words, “Why are you so petrified of silence? Here can you handle this?” And she follows it up with: “Did you think about your bills, your ex, your deadlines/ Or when you think you’re gonna die/ Or did you long for the next distraction.”

And then you look at the swimmer talking to the lifeguards, because he is providing the only action (read distraction) and you are feeling a bit bored, and you are glad to finally get back into the pool, and the same water that felt cold when you jumped in the first time around, now feels pleasantly warm because you have in fact been getting cold sitting out there, in a wet swimsuit, under those beautiful grey and cloudy skies.

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