Chlorine must serve as my homing magnet. In Los Angeles the shack I called home for six years was directly across the street from a public pool (which I hear has now been razed) and now in Miami Beach I live two blocks from Flamingo Park with its 25 meter lap pool. The sign says you need to bring identification saying you’re a Miami Beach resident or else the admission is ten dollars, but all you really need is a friendly smile and a wave and you can waltz right in.
A couple times a week I risk offending my neighbors by putting on the skin tight biker shorts I swim in, grabbing a t-shirt, beach towel, and goggles and walking over there. Once I get in the confines of the pool I’m no longer the biggest creep in the area. I can identify with the swimmers in colored Speedos as I have also forsaken good taste for the benefit of a more streamlined swim, but the guys in the white Speedos really should be required to register as sex offenders.
There are two pools, a kiddie pool that only gets a few feet deep and has a giant play space with a slide as its centerpiece. The other pool is specifically for laps with lane lines sectioning it off into narrow compartments. Most of the time you will have to share a lane with another swimmer, occasionally you get the lane all to yourself. I hear lane partners having conversations with one another. I tend to keep to myself. My one interaction consisted of thwacking some lady on the back of her head as I thought I had enough space to finish a butterfly stroke. I stopped to profusely apologize as I figured if it hurt my thumb, it must have damaged her noggin, but she kept going perhaps fearful of what a man in spandex biker shorts might have to say to her.
A lot of people stay away from public pools because of the notion that everyone is peeing in the pool. All I can say is the visibility is excellent. Of course I have yet to see a person get out of the pool to go use the bathroom. Come to think of it, I do see a lot of people standing around smiling between their sets. Well, that’s why they put chlorine in the water.