Issue 217, Summer 2016
In the deep end of the rec lane the old white woman is treading water and talking with the obese black man who should be eight feet tall. A judge has ruled that, according to the length of the man’s leg bones, he was meant to be eight feet tall, which is a disability as sure as any other.
The old woman wears a white long-sleeved shirt and a straw sun hat and has an olive complexion gone splotchy under the strong sun. She straddles two pool noodles. The man, in his midthirties, wears a shower cap and a knee-length purple T-shirt and hangs onto the wall and wheels his legs under the water. He is about six foot five but his legs do not look out of proportion. His face is intensely chubby and there is a shock of white hair in his short beard. This rotation I’m on zone coverage in the side chair, so I can’t hear them. Most often they talk with easygoing outrage about crazy right-wing politicians or complain about doctors who don’t know anything.
The man has said, more than once, that he is trying to lose weight so that he can play in the NBA. I try not to get drawn into their talk whenever they turn to me but if Keith is on duty he’ll talk to them forever from the deck and stay past the changing of the guard.