She switches to the backstroke after ten laps. Ten more and she rolls over again; breaststroke. She has waterproof headphones and an audiobook going.
"It's a pleasant contrast since I am not particularly cheery most of the time."
"You don't seem particularly uncheery most of the time."
"My equanimity conceals a deep vein of cynical annoyance."
Giggle. "What, all the time?"
"I guess there are times when my mind is elsewhere."
"Surely there aren't that many things to be cynically annoyed by, eventually you'd cycle through!"
"I didn't say I was endlessly original about it!"
"I suppose you didn't, no."
"It mostly all comes back to not really caring for being grey one way or another, though I flatter myself to think that this has given me a lens into problems that I do not myself share."
"I mean, people can be bad fits for any caste, or country, or whatever. And it's - practice at understanding that just because some experience has easily verbalizable features that don't sound objectively very bad doesn't mean that there aren't lots of hard-to-explain other things going on making it much worse."
"Yeah, that makes sense. Sahde's talked about stuff like that before, although I think he's more comfortable as a grey than you."
"He is comfortable in a normal grey job without having to cheat, I'm not surprised!"
"I think it's just the sex drive, though, I can't think of any other grey job he'd be okay at."
"I think it's not just that, I don't think I'd like it even if I sprung much harder, but it admittedly doesn't hurt."
"I think he doesn't really like the culture either? Just the job. But I dunno, you'd have to ask him."
"He also doesn't like grey culture much more than I do, admittedly."