I've cancelled my membership to the exclusive country club swimming pool place. I couldn't rely on the pool temperature to be cool enough - swimming in warm chlorine soup was doing me no good at all and no amount of fluffy towels and Molton Brown body lotion was going to make that better. So today I went swimming in my local leisure centre and it was lovely - big and light with a sprinkling of children (most being at school), a few up-and-downers putting in the lengths, parents with toddlers or babies in the little pool on the side and a big boy with the face of an angel who wanted to show me how he could throw his locker key to the bottom of the pool and then retrieve it. No two-for-one pamper ladies and gents exchanging confidences in the jacuzzi or reading Marie Claire and Bella in the loungers between massage and exfoliation.
Thinking about the whole pamper-package and what it is that draws people, I have decided that it's a baby thing - about being treated like one, I mean. You offer yourself up to hands that minister to the more hidden parts of your body, your skin is creamed and pummelled and afterwards you are swaddled in big white towels and dressing gowns, all relaxed and ready for sleep. The only thing missing is a bottle or dummy and favourite teddy. Nothing wrong with that - or, as Miss Jean Brodie might have said: for those that like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like. I'm sounding snooty, aren't I? Sour grapes because I couldn't hack it in the amniotic waters. I'd have been happy to carry on, all the difficulties because of M.E. notwithstanding, it was easy and convenient - expensive, but when you add it up not so very much more expensive than going regularly to the leisure centre, if one goes three times a week.
I'm glad to be back with the riff-raff though. Never quite comfortable with privilege, especially the pretend kind. It was as much as I could do to stop myself singing
I want to swim with common people,
I want to swim with common people - like you
On my way out I saw angel-face sitting by himself in the cafeteria eating a packet of crisps.
Bring on the revolution, Peeps.