Useful

Two o'clock. Many hours of sunshine are left in this day, but at the moment, the sun is simply too much for me. I am in Renaissance's pool, carefully keeping as much of my body below water as is possible while still breathing air. It is not the heat so much as the fear of sun burn. I could go slather myself with SPF-30, or I could go hide in our trailer, but treading water in the pool is my choice.

The drone of conversation is all about me. There are many people here that I know, but this is a busy day, and there are many strangers. Quite a few children, too, and even some adolescents, which is always an unusual sight at any nudist gathering.

This is the year of the noodles. Last year one or two of these unlikely flotation devices had found their way to Renaissance; this year every deck chair has one beside it, and seemingly everyone in the pool is using one. Not the kids, though. They are having cannonball competitions, and some of the adults are not amused by the noise and the splashing of water. As for me, I'm drifting in a semi- hypnotic reverie, and only aware of them as I might be aware of a TV in another room.

This earth is spinning at one thousand miles per hour, give or take a little. It's also galloping along in orbit at a rather stupendous clip. Our whole solar system is moving about our galaxy, and that galaxy itself is moving rapidly through the universe. And I drift lazily in a pool, subject to all these motions, but ignoring them all, because this day cannot ever end, and I am in no hurry to get through it.

Beneath me, the very continent is moving a few inches per year, a few thousand years for a mile, perhaps a million years to move any distance worth noting. That's more my speed; stretch it out, make it last, what's your hurry?

A man I have seen before but do not know is whispering something to his wife. She laughs, and her eyes sparkle when she does. A pretty girl, a pretty day. Drift naked in the pool, sun warmed water embracing me, gently lapping at my face.

My wife is a few feet away, talking to one of our neighbors. He is telling her a joke. I can hear enough of it to know that I've heard it before, so my mind shuts off again, and the water gently rocks me.

Splash. A red faced child surfaces suddenly in front of me, accidentally kicking some water in my face. "Sorry!" he says, breathlessly. "Sorry!". It's OK. Water is my friend. The boy is concerned; his mother has sternly warned him about splashing people, but I just smile at him and tell him it's OK. His mother is talking excitedly at the other end of the pool and has not noticed. The boy swims off.

I hear Linda laugh. Our neighbor has finished the joke and is standing half embarassed, half proud, as all men are when they make a pretty woman laugh. I smile to myself, and continue to drift.

I see a man I know stretched out on a deck chair, head phones attached. His eyes are closed, but his face tells me he is not asleep. He is concentrating on the music. I wonder what he is listening to.

For my choice, I'd take piano music. Some Schubert, perhaps, because it goes well with water. I try to bring something familiar into my head, but piano is hard to remember. Only certain chords ripple through. It's enough, though, and goes well with the background buzz.

Tomorrow I will be troubleshooting some nagging computer glitch or doing something equally useless. This disquieting thought will not be allowed to ruin my enjoyment of what I am doing today. Today, I am not useless, I am drifting in sun drenched waters, surrounded by happy, naked people. They smile, I smile, we all smile.

What could be more useful than that?

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