Tuesday, July 08, 2008

There's a phone by the pool at my gym, at the Hyatt King's Jewel Hotel on 49th and Broadway, some kind of special phone without a dial that's in a gunmetal box on the wall by the lifeguard. It's suggestive of the communications apparatus in a submarine in World War II - boxy, unfamiliar, fraught with urgent connotations. Why there's a phone I don't know, and why it ever rings I'll never know, but it rings sometimes, and when it rings it makes an eerie sound. Like a kettle all of a sudden on the boil. And it echoes off the steamed-up skylight, and off the walls and water. The lifeguard answers it: a thin Hispanic teenager with long hair, a bandanna and a goatee. When I get out and walk past to the locker room I wonder whether I should say goodnight, and sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. Every time I do he says the same thing: "All right." With a slight accent on the "all." A pronunciation that seeks to reassure, or perhaps under other circumstances to contain, to arrest. "All right."