When I got home last night I said exactly that to my wife: "I made a new friend in the YMCA locker room tonight."
After many years of listening to my jokes, she was waiting for a punch line. But it was not a joke.
And she thought I made this friend in a "Very Neil" way.
I stopped at the YMCA to swim after driving back from Philadelphia. The pool is not very crowded after 9 pm, so I swam my exhausting 300 yards--my next post will be how hard it is to learn how to swim at 60 years old.
After swimming I went to the locker room to change. There was no one in my section of the locker room, but across the row of lockers another guy was changing and playing Rap music on his iPhone. In three months of going to the Y I never heard anyone play music in the locker room. I didn't want to hear his music and I had my iPhone, so I started listening to my current audiobook: The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. It is read by a guy with a British accent.
A couple of minutes later, another swimmer opened a locker near mine to get changed. I shut off the audiobook. He asked "Was that a British recording?" I told him what it was. He said he went to high school with a girl who married Solzhenitsyn's son. I asked if it was the son who plays the piano. He said yes and as we got dressed to leave we started talking about Russian lit, Medieval lit. and science education.
We kept talking outside. It was a lot of fun to meet a guy half my age who has read Tolstoy and wants to read Dante.
It was a great way to end an evening--thanks in part to Rap music.