For a whole pack of reasons relating to my new joerb, my swimming routine has moved from after work to before work. And it's a whole new world out there. On my first 6:30 a.m. trip out to the pool at Laugardalur, just past the predawn "roll 'em out boys" unveiling of the yellow Strætó buses from their big, sad bus yard, I pulled into the parking lot to find a whole new crowd of old men, too. They were lined up that first morning in a big pack, mobbing the glass doors of the pool. I was there a shade before 6:30, too, so I joined in the crowd just as the pool lady finished her prep work and walked over to unlock the door. The mob shuffled past her with determination, making a bumble-beeline for the locker room. Nobody showed an Árskort. These men belonged there. The locker room was a mad rush of old dudes claiming their favorite lockers and getting changed amidst old-dude conversations. By the time I got out to the lap lanes they were already well stocked with slow-moving elderly swimmers.
It's the same at one of my neighborhood pools, Vesturbær. When I first got there, there were maybe 20 men crammed up at the doors, getting rained on. It was like Macy's on the morning after Thanksgiving, or Filene's Basement on bridal sale day. And V-bær is even worse in the lap lane department. There are so many men swimming in each lane that it can look from above like a conveyor belt. I am thinking about adding my other neighborhood pool, Seltjarnarnes, into the early mix, forming a sort of Holy Trinity of morning swimming. I'll let you know if that has a similar gate-storming crowd. I'm hoping it has less old sailors in the lanes.
And this morning I witnessed my first argument in the pottasamfélagi
. I was sitting there minding my own business, soaking in the hot water, when an old, weary-looking mustachioed man entered and immediately struck up a heated exchange with a younger, darker man. I didn't catch the beginning, but the rough exchange following the kickoff was something like, "I know what I said, and I didn't say that!" "You're lying. You're a lying man." "I know what I said." "You're always lying." "I never lie!" It was Hot Tub Smackdown 2K7!
When I came back from the steam room, the mustachioed man had been forced out and two of the remaining men were discussing his character. This kind of exchange was something I have never witnessed at the pool, or really anywhere else here. (Or maybe I just wasn't savvy enough to pick up on it before.) I guess all the old men in Iceland can't be friends.