Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Creature of habit

Bob Geldof and his Boomtown Rats (and in fact 99.9% of the workforce) might have a problem with Mondays, but personally, I really like them. Monday NIGHTS, that is. Every Monday for the last 3 years or so, I've been meeting my friend at 18:45 on the dot in order to dip our nubile bodies into the murky waters of Stadthallenbad. We call it "therapeutic swimming". Others might feel inclined to show off their crawl or butterfly stroke in the fast lane of this olympic-sized pool, sporting sexy Speedos and not-so-sexy goggles, WE like to keep to lane 8 from which both athletes and kids are banned. Imagine 2 women, a very skinny peroxide blonde (my friend) and a creature with head-to-toe cellulite (yours truly), swimming alongside each other, talking incessantly. Mind you, we make a point of doing 20 lengths which amounts to one impressive kilometre. Apart from this rather, erm, moderate physical exercise, we enjoy the communicative aspect of the whole experience. I've known my friend – let's call her the Mermaid because of our aquatic jour-fixe – since I was 10 because we went to school together. She used to be a real tomboy but has long since morphed into the vainest person I know.

Neither of us would probably put 2005 on our personal hit-lists of "greatest years ever" but at least we've established the fact that after years of only very occasional use our lachrymal glands work just fine. All through spring and summer it was more or less a weekly contest of who feels worse and is entitled to more self-pity. The Mermaid eventually decided to be proactive and began a more conventional therapy while I, predictably enough, stuck to the one that comes with "retail" in front of it. As a result, we've both reverted back to our old cynical selves.

Our weekly swim-date is not just one big moanathon, however, it's also a good opportunity to catch up with the more pleasant events in each other's lives and to bitch about...basically everyone and give nick-names to our co-swimmers. While almost every woman I know has a whole set of body-issues, men are often only too confident about their sagging physiques. I mean, there's old guys with boobs bigger than your average Hollywood starlet and yet they strut around as if they were shortlisted for Mr. Universe. Among the regulars at the pool are "the Sumo", "ZZTop", "Meatloaf" and lots of other veeery sexy individuals. Inexplicably, some people are never actually seen IN the pool but prefer to watch the swimmers from the vantage-point of pool-side deck chairs. Personally, I get athlete's foot and a mean yeast infection from just looking at those chairs but each to their own.

When we're done swim-bitching or bitch-swimming, have showered, blow-dried our tresses and slipped back into our civvies, we go back to my place, conveniently located a mere 5-minute walk away. There, we eat a light and healthy dinner before moving on to a not-so-light dessert, crisps and chocolate. It's a ritual, see. We used to go swimming on Tuesdays, when Sex and the City was on but long ago switched to Mondays to be able to watch Desperate Housewives (I know, I know, we're SO predictable) together.
There are few people, even among my closest friends, in whose company I feel comfortable enough to slump on the sofa next to them with my feet on their lap. The Mermaid is practically family and has in the past sat on our living-room-floor in her undies (not that Turkish Delight minded, of course), having her legs waxed by me.
Today, she's flying to the Philippines for 2 weeks of scuba-diving which means that I have to face 2 Mondays of swimming alone. What's more, Season 2 of DH won't be shown here until next spring (it's a disgrace but thankfully we've got a broadband connection for erm...reading the episode guides, what did you think?). Mondays are just not the same without the Mermaid and the girls from Wisteria Lane.

Purchase(s): In my lunch-break I went to COSMOS to order Christmas cards with photos I made. They have a special offer till the end of this week at 29 cents/card. With envelope! I've worked out that it's actually cheaper than wasting the cartridges of my printer at home. I also popped into DM to grab another Nicky Clarke supershine conditioner. I don't usually buy expensive hair styling products at all but was very impressed by the results of this one. Plus it wasn't actually expensive as DM are apparently discontinuing Nicky Clarke products and therefore selling them for half the original price while stocks last. I also bought potash (that's potassium carbonate for you and me) for baking.


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