Discovering the secrets of the swimsuit dryer
The wet feet shlop against the tiled floors. Water from the showers batters the ground as people clean themselves. The scent of chlorine fills the air. But the spinning, it is the spinning that draws me in. That perfect blend of rotation and drying. I cannot resist its allure. It sits in the corner, this marvel of technology. This box of metal secrets is known only as the pool swimsuit dryer.
When I first visited a pool in Iceland, I, like most foreigners, had already heard about the nudity and the ruthlessness with which Icelanders uphold their social pool etiquette. Unlike Icelanders, I was worried that my tote bag would be soaked by my wet swimsuit, so as a precaution, I brought along a plastic bag. O’ what a fool I was, for the locals already had a device to deal with this exact problem: a centrifugal swimsuit dryer. A chrome majesty that sits in the corner of (near) every pool changing room, a perfectly shaped cube with a cylinder in the centre. Placing a swimsuit in the dryer spins it at such a high velocity that physicists remain astonished at its efficiency. Within this device is where all Icelanders dry their swimsuits. I was amazed! Since when has this been a thing?! I must get to the bottom of this.
I decided to make first contact with the dryers. I went to the pool closest to my house. Disguised as a common swimmer, I was able to talk to some water enthusiasts. I actually, genuinely interviewed a confused passerby who will remain anonymous for their own protection. I pressured them to tell me of the wonders of this device. They said “You close it, and it spins… I guess?” Marvelous. There has to be more.
I delved deep into the catacombs of the Reykjavik Borgarbokasafn to find the forbidden knowledge of this art form. The librarians, though helpful, seemed confused when I asked them where their rotational section was. All I was able to find was a weathered journal detailing the history of the pool dryer. The dryer’s story began with the invention of the wheel in the 4th millennium BCE, but the records seem to cease in the 1800s with some device for separating milk and cream. Though the journal ends abruptly, the author had left me a clue: “The Servants of the Spin Cycle meet at the Secret Lagoon.”
My destination was set: Seljavallalaug hot spring, Iceland’s oldest swimming pool. Upon my arrival, the Servants had already gathered. They wore their dark robes over their swimsuits, all immaculately dry. They had been expecting me; worse, they knew my kenintala! This went far deeper than I could have imagined. They brought me under the pain of death to the dryer, yet this one had no lid.
There I saw it. The spin. The machine churred and whirred and spun in a beautiful spiral. My swimsuit went in circles round and round dizzying, blurring, spurring, cleansing it of all moistness. Soon I too was spun to perfection. I had finally understood Icelandic pool culture. It was about refinement; it was about absolute relaxation. Beginning with the enjoyment of increasingly ridiculous shaped water bowls set at random temperatures. Then indulging in bubble machines, water massagers, and even the fountains that spurt regularly. And to end this ritual, one leaves the pool, with a swimsuit not drenched in water.
Perhaps one day, humanity itself will be spun and dried. We live in the shadow of the swimsuit dryer. ALL HAIL THE SWIMSUIT DRYER.
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