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Thursday, October 04, 2012

Times change


“Fifty Shades of Grey” – which of course I have not, and have no intention of reading, nevertheless seems like a good point of reference to explain the reason why I left the café outside the swimming pool early today.

I have to admit that I did forget my Kindle which meant that I couldn’t afford myself the luxury of wallowing in the concentrated human misery that reading the daily newspaper gives.  But, such are the times in which we live that anyone with a smartphone never needs to be without reading matter.  The number of books and short stories I have on my soon-to-be-replaced Samsung Galaxy (!) is truly astonishing and has kept me sane in many “waiting” situations.  So, as long as I have my phone and I have remembered to feed it during the night, I am never at a loss to indulge in my favourite addiction.

So, sitting in the morning sunshine just before ten today I was able to choose another story (the “Star Dragon” finally having been read) and go on to one of my many sci-fi drugs and start a new short story about a Chinese man in the future trying to cope with the gender imbalance brought on my tradition and Communist Party doctrine.  This is an interesting premise and I was well into the rather shocking drink and sex opening of the story when I decided to leave.

The number of “free-mums” – those women who, having deposited their children in school and used the car park in the sports centre, feel obligated to do something physical or at least have a chat and a cup of coffee in the grounds – was low so the chatter level was acceptable.

What was not acceptable was the booming amplified voice of the aerobics instructor screaming instructions to the women in front of her while mindless beat-dominated trashy music blared behind her berating voice.  Big Sister who sees all and broadcasts your every move is alive and well and living in Castelldefels in a mirror walled exercise space.

The voice is insistent, hectoring peremptory and imperative, yelling orders like some effeminate yet butched-up sergeant major.  And these people pay for the privilege of being abused.  These women are probably highly qualified professional people and yet they voluntarily subject themselves to the relentless, personality-destroying wall of sound which leaves them sweaty, weak and exhausted.

If this sort of thing does not explain the popularity of soft mummy-porn S&M I don’t know what does.

By contrast my twenty minutes of vigorous exercise is literally cushioned by being in an elements whose buoyancy removes the scope for bone-jarring destruction that aerobic stepping inevitably provides.  And I still feel that I deserve my cup of tea at the end of it.

My pool environment has also improved though, alas, that very improvement is a clear indication that summer is well past.

For the past few days the temperature of the water has been invigorating – or as most of my friends would call it, “cold”!   I have managed to delude myself that “cold” is actually “healthy” as brisk swimming should raise the body temperature and therefore colder water is the best complement to such exercise.

Yesterday my entry into the pool was one of delight rather than stoical acceptance: the water was warm!  I swam a couple of lazy breaststroke lengths revelling in the unaccustomed luxury of water caressing rather that cold abrading!

What this means of course is that the water temperature has been adjusted for autumn/winter and the halcyon days of wine, roses and sunshine are behind us.

In an act of defiance against the inexorable march of the seasons I popped into the Outlet Store of El Corte Ingles in Castelldefels and bought two pairs of shorts – one of light khaki and the other bright blue.  I will not give in to the dictatorship of the latter months of the year!

And I am gratified to note that there are still plenty of gentlemen of all ages still wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts.  When I say “plenty” I probably mean “some”, but the point is that I am not a lone Brit walking with mad dogs in the midday coolness.  

Not yet anyway!
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