Saturday, 22 January 2011
The Guardian - Michael Holden's All Ears 22nd January
(Article by Michael Holden)
Beyond the humidity, the other thing you can hope to get at the local steam baths is a climate of silence. Not always. Some people will talk, as though stranded on a boiling bus. This time it was a wiry young woman (Woman 1) and her larger friend (Woman 2). The contrast between them was considerable – they looked like a broken exclamation mark.
Woman 1 (nodding toward the gym, looking serious) "You have to go every day."
Woman 2 (downcast) "Yeah but there's work.
Woman 1 "What's your shifts?"
Woman 2 "Earlies."
Woman 1 "Change them 10 'til 6, wait for me for half an hour then we can park round here for free from seven."
Woman 2 "Ain't gonna happen."
Woman 1 "Unless you make it happen."
Woman 2 "I'm all right when I'm with you, I can't do it on my own."
Woman 1 "You cheat when you're with me, if I just look away you start loafing!"
Woman 1 (turning to the men in the room as though appealing to a jury) "She's the fittest person I know. Look at her. Ain't she hot?"
Man 1 "It's a sauna, we're all hot."
Man 2 "What sport do you play?"
Woman 1 "Nothing. I just come here."
Woman 2 "I wanna lose two stone by my birthday."
Woman 1 "You're dreaming."
Woman 2 (plaintive) "I don't drink tea any more."
Woman 1 "Don't worry about tea. It's the Ribena."
Man 1 (back for more) "I like to exhaust myself."
I took that as my cue to fade into the mist.