How’s the water? I turned around to find one of those graceful old ladies standing behind me in a towel. The kind of person that time has clearly taken pity on. She was slim, with pale wrinkly skin – kind of like a gecko. Her raven coloured hair was piled in a loose bun on top of her head, highlighting a perfectly manicured face – she mustn’t have been planning for submersion. She had on a particularly shimmery set of large diamond earrings, that I should probably have warned her not to wear in Brooklyn, let alone in a public pool in Brooklyn. It’s lovely, I said instead. A little cool, but really quite refreshing. If one of my friends had asked me the same question, chances are I would have said, yeah it’s so sick, like totally cured my hangover. But I reckon all those little kids peed in it.
The surging mosh pit I’d just come from was a totally different story. The guards had put a counter-intuitive rope across the centre of the pool. Which meant for me to successfully complete a lap, I had to dolphin my way under it before continuing. It was sort of like playing mini golf, where you have to hit the ball through a swinging grandfather clock. Only in this case, I was the tiny white ball, and the big hand was a large Indian father flanked by a menagerie of swimming cap-clad children. I was doing lengths, them widths. They were all a little overweight and looked to be there under duress. I feel you guys, I thought.
At least the Indian family and their back and forth pattern was predictable – the Asian man and his confused-looking son were all over the place. One minute he was being taught to kick, and the next he was hitting his father over the head with a floatation device. He definitely hadn’t yet grasped the whole continuous motion thing yet. Each time he came up for air like a little mole popping out of the earth, he had a ‘how did I even get here’ kind of look on his face. His goggles would be askew, forcing his little eyes to bulge out of his head. All of a sudden he started wildly thrashing and pointing at the lifeguard screaming, I hate that man!! The lifeguard was wearing what can only be described as a turmeric-coloured jumpsuit. That and his skinhead made him look like he was on parole.
Basically, I’ve gathered public swimming pools in New York are like dentists. Definitely not the clean bit, but the bit where they attract a whole range of people. No one is too fancy for them, no one too unskilled and (evidently) no one too much of a criminal. And any operation sporting a turmeric uniform gets my tick of approval.
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- ½ cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon fresh-grated turmeric (or powder)
- Pinch nutmeg
- Pinch Himalayan pink salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
- 1 chai tea bag
- ¾ cup coconut or almond milk + a little more to serve if you like
- 1 tablspoon natural peanut butter to serve
- Combine all ingredients except peanut butter in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Turn the heat down and simmer uncovered for about 4-5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- If you don't LOVE chai, remove the tea bag halfway, otherwise just take it out before serving. Or leave it in and eat it. You do you.
- Serve with a dollop of peanut butter and a dash more coconut milk.