“Too many times,” his standard response, “I don’t really keep count.”

Today was my second day at the Pool and here I was ‘chatting’ him up like I’ve known him for years. He was an interesting character, no doubt, but there was something else about him that egged me to keep on talking with him, even after yesterday’s ‘accident’. I guess it was his confidence which lent the required weight to his chatter, more than anything.

“A good day then, huh?” I asked him, knowing his response already.

“It was neither bad nor particularly good I’d say.” He said as he dipped in his head for some bubbling exercise.

I guess he says that about everything.

“There’s one thing that I don’t get, why did he even say yes in the first place?” I asked him, hoping for a definite answer this time round. “I mean, this guy doesn’t know you, hasn’t seen you in the office before today, let alone working together, and yet he says yes without ever asking you about specifics?”

“Let me just say that he didn’t need to. At least he thinks that, so it doesn’t really matter.” He said pulling his glasses down. He was getting ready for his first lap. He has this fixation with numbers and today he said it looks like a 30-ish day to the guy on the locker counter.

I’m still thinking about what he just told me when he returns from his lap. “Too much chlorine today, again.” Not surprising, public pools here are rarely maintained like their private counterparts. “30 is good here.”

He returns a minute later. “Maybe it is a bit too much after all.” He says after removing his goggles. “What’s the matter? You seem a bit upset.”

“Too much of chlorine for my taste as well.” I lied.

Yesterday I saw this man go crazy mad over the poor lifeguard for a nonissue and here’s him asking me what is causing me to be upset, after he just told me what transpired in his office today.
He put on his goggles, “Well, swim up or you’ll be holding your breath for nothing.”

I work in a big company, handling the end product QA, have 5 people reporting to me hourly at work, clients of my company calling every other day complaining about random nonissues and yet, I’ve never met someone as obnoxious as this guy free styling across the length of pool in his blue speedo.

“So, what are going to say to him when you meet him tomorrow?” I asked him when he returned.
“Nothing really. That is if I do meet him at all tomorrow.”

I looked at him again. He’s probably in his late 20’s, working in some new company which recently opened its offices here in this city, probably some leased space on the fringes of urban sprawl. Don’t think he yet understands that he may have ruined the life of his work colleague in a matter of minutes.

“When do you plan to start out?”

He just shrugged and went for his last lap of the evening.

He returns 5 minutes later, “I guess after the shower.”

©2015 Aman Gupta

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