I definitely win in water.

i had a very clear idea of what i wanted the software to do – the architects’ software that would enable me to design the world’s greatest swimming pool. it was more than a swimming pool actually; it was to be a sprawling, endless network of curvilinear waterway tunnels, circular halls, enclaves, coves, caves, caverns, cascades, chutes, falls and flumes; a vast, intricate complex of diverse spaces and environments, mostly indoors and dark like a cinema or a nightclub, although there would be airier, daylight-filled spaces to be discovered unpredictably throughout the way. it would have environments to appeal to people of all ages and temperaments, different spaces and modes for every mood.
the occasion had begun with me actually visiting the place, as a customer one evening, together with some of the new friends i had met although we dispersed immediately and wordlessly into the overwhelmingly vast variety in the place, and i was content exploring by myself amongst the crowds of splashing, excited visitors, many of whom were young teenagers. the only one of the friends with whom i liaised at any point that evening was the Scottish boy; we went on some of the large water slides in the water-slides room at least twice. there was music in most of the rooms, and coloured lighting in different styles and intensities. the water-slides room was one of the medium-bright ones, though lit only with artificial light – rows of white ceiling bulbs – and the majority of the visitors there were young adults (late 20s), particularly Anglo-Saxon men of the surfing variety.
as the evening progressed the situation changed as i was no longer exploring an already existing environment but was designing it myself, and yearning for the technology that would facilitate the precise recording of my inventions. i was trying to explain to my nameless interlocutor the nature of the interface; how it had to be a carving out and not a building up action, and how my instrument would need to be a scooping, spoonlike tool, so that every inward surface would be curvedly concave.
the place was to be a triumph of commercial, urban entertainment. there would be a bar, curved and colourfully lit, with the barstools sitting just under the water’s surface. there would be shallow pools for babies and toddlers, with those short, spurting fountains that you might sit on as a joke. large underwater mirrors lined some of the sides in the biggest halls, a handrail running along the edge so that adolescents could linger at their reflections. there would be balconies for spectation, following or inverse to the walls’ curves, hanging above the water but not ‘dry’; every surface within the complex was made of waterproof tiles, and apart from the soil at the base of some of the tropical leafy plants in raised basins halfway up along some of the walls in the bigger coves, and the drinks at the bar which were served in closed, buoyant cups with valved straws, there was nothing loose that could easily get mixed in with the water – excepting, of course, the inevitable effluvia; the snot, sweat and tears of laughter – for which the water was heavily chlorinated – the almost intoxicating smell of which hung damply in the air throughout the entire complex.
my favourite places were the tunnels – curved, wide, tunnels dimly lit with underwater wall bulbs where i could most easily find solitude, since for most people these were just thoroughfares. just as i had always done at swimming pools during my childhood, i found peace in lurking under the water with my goggles on, sometimes walking with my hands along the bottom surface when i could, trying to stay there using the friction of the floor’s texture and making the right occasional small adjustments to my posture whenever i started to come loose. it was in these places that i would fantasize about exploring a shipwreck. this was an imaginative activity in essence, rather than something which would have been improved by the presence of an actual artificial shipwreck to explore. there were no fantasy environments in my design, as these would have taken the content in arbitrary directions, like a fish tank into which you could put any manner of castle ruins and other such novelties. in this way, my ideal swimming pool is simple and complete. its complexity and open-endedness lies in the way that the curve-based, organic format of its matrix, along with its sheer extensiveness, defies the mapping capabilities of even the best mental mapper, resulting in a sense of endlessness and that overwhelmed sort of explorer’s delight which many people never experience again after childhood or outside of dreams.

About Rebecca Tun

According to me, I like lists. View all posts by Rebecca Tun

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