Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Pool

It is an odd fact but I only work fourteen nights a month, because my dispatch center prefers twelve hour shifts, so,on the nights I do work I start at six in the evening and I leave at six in the morning. The other odd fact could be that even though I have plenty of seniority I like working nights. The work itself is less stressful simply because there are few administrative calls to deal with and because the brass and the detectives are usually soundly tucked up for a refreshing night's sleep the no traffic at all inside the building. "Hey Michael, could you do me a quick CCH?" the plain clothes officer used to pounce at all hours when I worked day shift looking for a "quick" complete criminal history, or a history of computer entries for a vehicle tag or some other interruption to the constant flow of radio talk and immediate needs of the officers working on the street. At night it's us three dispatchers in the top of the building and the officers out patrolling the city and that's all; and that's how I like it.The other bit that I like about my job is that I tend to wake up around lunch time even on days I am working, so I get to enjoy every afternoon off before I start my ride to work at ten minutes after five. And now that I've graduated I have no school work to deal with or classes to attend. On the other hand my wife the teacher works an old fashioned schedule from Monday through Friday, statrting at 8am until whenever the paperwork is done. Red Mangrove: the dead yellow leaf has absorbed the salt out of the seawater the mangrove has sucked up.
All of which gives me lots of time to think and to read and to wonder on my lonely afternoons. I have always worked in one form or another since I left home but I've only rarely worked to the exclusion of everything else in my life, I'm not a workaholic. Even more rarely have I been fired because I am a reliable worker. I usually choose to quit because something more interesting came up. A motorcycle trip, a sailing adventure, a curiosity needing to be fulfilled. But this dispatching gig is a daily lifestyle hard to beat in a world filled with the expectation that one should stress oneself to death.Red Mangrove leaves spotted with silver mineral salts.
So on a weekday afternoon when I'm at home pottering about polishing the Bonneville or watering a vegetable I sometimes get the urge to take the boat and go for a swim. However with my wife, an avid swimmer still laboring in the salt mines, it is not such a great idea to say to her "I took the boat out today!" when she gets back with frazzled stories of life in the classroom. So I have evolved Plan B. Which, because I like simplicity, is a plan of extreme simplicity. I get on the bicycle and I pedal over to the Pool. The cigar-like nematode on a Red Mangrove that will drop off and may sprout a new bush.
The Pool is a place to go in the hotter months of the year, though there are visitors year round who like to sit at the edge of the water and play loud music and drink beer, the reprobates. Me? I take a camera and wander around feeling the heat as I look for something to photograph. The water, the clouds and the mangroves are about all that's there. The mangroves show off their usually red roots dried to gray by a Winter and Spring of unusual aridity, though the yellow leaves aren't dying from lack of rain, because mangroves absorb saltwater and expel the salt though their leaves leaving little white crystals glistening in the sun, and all this activity produces the green shoots that will eventually fall off and if they are lucky float away to start a new life as a new mangrove someplace else. Where was I? Oh, yes, The Pool. Technically it is a county park, actually it's a hole dug in the ground extending out into the open waters beyond, as seen from the sky:As seen from the ground:It's deep enough that I can't see the bottom as I float in it, and the sides are cut straight so it actually looks like a swimming pool though rarely do I find anyone actually enjoying the waters, unless it's by kayak:Their dog was indeed in the water following my every move as I lowered the bicycle to the ground and took off my shirt:I swam for a while and listened to the rowdies beyond the bushes playing loud music and loud "fuck yous" for all to enjoy. Then a middle aged couple on the other bank who had been sitting enjoying nature in silence cranked up their stereo and fought back. Amazingly the drunks folded, perhaps made aware of their bad manners at last, and the middle aged couple packed up and left leaving me to continue swimming in silence. As I reassembled myself on shore I realised the dog was with him, sitting in his car and the kayakers belonged to some other dog in some other place. I pedalled home only more or less following Google's suggested blue line.