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Sunday, July 24, 2016


Reading by the pool is one of my all time favourite pastimes.  Last year, I chose to go back to the classics.  Anna Karenina has been on my list of things to read for sometime. I have never seen the movie, nor was I at all certain as to what the book was about, other than the title character probably had a large part!  I found a copy in the half-price book store, and started to read.  However, the many interruptions took its toll on my 'mission', and although I was enjoying the story, it is not considered to be 'light' reading!  As my neighbours came to and from the pool, they asked the usual question, "What are you reading", and after discussing when, and how many times they had each read the book, (many of whom had,) we commenced to new topics of conversation, with many thinking that I am the 'official version' of all that takes place, and I was happy to be entertained with light hearted, or sometimes 'deep and meaningful, 'chit chat', thus abandoning Anna and her vast entourage of family, friends, and enemies!  The book remained unfinished as the pool area became deserted, and the winter months set in.  With the departure of my German neighbour, to climates anew, (as we did tend to spend a lot of time chit chatting, discussing the vast difference between us and them,) I was confident that the book would be finished in the early part of the spring, (I do not read much during the winter months, although I am unsure as to why,) and the commencement of 'poolside' gatherings.  

The monthly neighbour's 'soiree' was not as well attended as it could have been, or should have been, but the five that did take part, thoroughly enjoyed the evening.  Due to a very busy schedule, the hostess, who usually has the event at her unit, had not sent out an email reminding everyone of the event, but by now, eleven months into 'the event', the date should be remembered!  However, as I will reveal, our collective memory is not always as good as it should be!  There may have been a reminder in the newsletter that is circulated via email, but I am sorry to say, I cannot remember the password to access the publication.  Of course, I could ask, again, for the code, and then write it down, but I rely on those who can access it to let me know what is going on.  However, as I have become the social butterfly of our complex, many rely upon me!   

It would appear that I am not the only one who has a memory loss when it comes to accessing the newsletter.  When reminding a couple of close-by neighbours of the date of the monthly soiree, both appeared to have forgotten, and when I commented, "Was it not in the newsletter", they have admitted, shamefully, that they cannot remember the password to access the publication!  They confess that they could ask the 'editor' again for the code, and then write it down, but they rely on those who can access it to let them know what is going on! And so it goes on, and on!  I could remember the depth of anguish felt by Anna's husband, when she abandoned him, and still shiver when recalling the description of the freezing temperatures of the Russian winter, yet I fail to remember a simple ten (or twelve, or eight) letter word to access information of what was going on in the 'real' world.  

It is not that I do not enjoy reading the publication, when I can! As I said, reading is something that I relish, be it a small article, a whole newspaper, or a novel.  I have enjoyed reading since I was very young. During my first few years at school, as I was a very shy child, and lacked confidence in everything, and was unable to answer back to anyone, except my mother, (according to my mother!) I found solace in books.  Although my reading ability was beyond that of my years, (apparently,) due to the lack of confidence, I remained on the less exciting book range that the school had to offer, which led me to read at home.  By eight years of age, I had read most of the classics, and Dickens was more of a friend than an author!  I was an avid newspaper reader and surprised my teachers (and visibly upset one of the more sadistic female tutors, as she relished attacking shy children,) when I knew what was going on in the world.  As I got older, my tastes in literature changed, and once I had left school and was no longer forced to read books that were not of interest to me, I would visit the library every other week, and collect the maximum half a dozen books for my journey to work.

"What are you reading", was followed by, "Really.  You have not finished yet!  You are not leaving this pool area until you have finished!", announced one of my younger neighbours, as the season started, and the usual suspects entered the arena.  All at once, I was filled with indignation. Although this was said in jest, I almost sat up and shouted, "Are you my mother?"  I realised that I was suffering from guilt!  I had been reading this book for over a year, and was still struggling to finish!  The following week came the same voice.  "Do not tell me you have not finished!" came the familiar tones, booming across the water.  "Twenty pages left!"  I said, almost waiting for the punishment!  However, the twenty pages appeared to never end. "When I do finish, I am sure they will announce it in the newsletter!", I quipped back, in jest!  From the look on her face, it was quite evident that she, too, did not read the newsletter.  "I will have to wait for you to tell me", she said, in a quieter mode.  "I can never access the newsletter".  I am sure Anna would never have given up so easily!  

The 'gang of five' did not bring books, nor did we discuss passwords at the monthly gathering.  Instead, we enjoyed hot dogs, grilled to perfection on my 'super duper' grill, that Dana had rolled down the hill to the main event, and I supplied a 'bread and butter' pudding for dessert, as well as a 'rice and corn' salad to accompany the delicious dogs.  The mosquitoes appeared to feast quite happily on Dana, as he had refused the offer of being sprayed with the protective liquid in which I fully immersed myself!  A few other residents walked their dogs, at various intervals, and looked down on us as we ate and chatted.  "Oh, is it tonight?", almost all said, as we waved and suggested they come and join us.  "Was it in the newsletter?  I didn't see it?" Anna would probably have enjoyed the diversion, and the warmth of the summer evening, and settled in quite well, as each one of us had settled here from 'previous' lives having had, perhaps, more upheaval than we would have predicted for our lives, when we were young and not so wise.  

Although I do not usually swim later in the evening, I did on Thursday, and found it to be quite refreshing.  Daringly getting back into the water, after dinner, and not waiting 'the hour' for the digestive system to break down the particles as we had been advised to do as children, we laughed at our rebellion.  Anna, I believe, would have been as reckless, as she appeared to resist conformity.  We did not take pictures for the newsletter!

Anna was finally laid to rest three weeks ago, and I caused a chuckle among my neighbours when I told them I was enjoying some 'light reading', with my new John Grisham book!  I am certain that Mr. Grisham would not only have remembered the password to the newsletter, but would have given hints to its nature, and finally revealed it at the end in a 'didn't see that coming' scenario!  He would also have had some sort of descriptive retribution for those who had forgotten the soiree date! Fortunately, I did not need a password for the book, and it was finished within two weeks!  In fact, my neighbour who chided me about my lackadaisical attitude to the Russian lady and her checkered life, has not been around to see the appearance and subsequent disappearance of Mr Grisham, and Mr Le Carre is now accompanying me to the pool!  Anna probably would have felt more at home with the latter author as he writes about her countryfolk, although the former author would perhaps have helped her find a way out of her predicament, other than the one she chose, or rather failed to escape!  Both would have given her methods to remember a simple password!  

The week came to an end, as it always does.  Saturday saw a slightly larger crowd at the pool, as the 'usual suspects' brought along friends and relatives.  Samantha's neighbour, Sandra, (my newest adoptee,) came to relax before going home to her husband and children, and my next door neighbours were playing host to parents!  We swam and socialised, not necessarily in that order, and I was asked how the soiree had been.  It appears that my next door neighbours had been 'headliners' in the newsletter.  "I don't know the password", said my husband, who had joined us on one of his rare visits to the water. "Neither do we!" came the response, in unison!  I could see Anna's phantom floating across the side of the pool, looking back over her shoulder, with a enigmatic smile that she had stolen from a portrait painted some two and a half centuries before her existence, and drift into a virtual library of novels on the other side of the gated fence, an area which she accessed swiftly by entering the code!  

Today is Sunday.  John Le Carre and I are going to spend some quality time together.  I am sure that I will be joined, at some time, by some other like minded people, none of whom have any anxiety about not remembering the password to the newsletter.  I have vowed to be the 'voice of the people', and admit defeat again, by asking for the code to enter the coveted publication.  I am sure that all aspects of the resort in which we live will have been discussed by the residents in detail, and laid to rest as Anna was finally laid to rest, perhaps somewhat differing in our opinions of the matters, as some differed in their opinions of Anna, but time will tell.

Our August soiree has already been discussed and promises to attend have been made.  Of course, it is a few weeks away and anything can happen within that time.  Perhaps we will all be so engrossed with the back editions of the newsletters, once we have access, that we will not have time to attend!  I shall continue to read my way into another week, and .................. another story!

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