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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Swimming Pools

Today, a neighboring city graciously had FREE open swimming at both of their pools.  Our city is embroiled in a rift regarding our pool.  The Dries and the Wets engage in sharp little skirmishes, sometimes prolonged engagements; both sides are entrenched. The pool remains closed.
 The purpose of this blog is not to be a political soapbox; if the reader desires such, there are many such sites available. Rather, the mention of the pool situation in our town is stated to provide background.
Otherwise, why would I really care if our neighbor’s have a free open swim day?
I wouldn’t.
My feelings toward swimming pools can best be summed up as ambivalent. Be they public, private club, or backyard pools; I am NOT going to be the first person in line awaiting the gate to open.  In fact, my attitude regarding swimming in general is one of take-it-or-leave-it, with leanings toward the leave-it side.
While gazing at the river flowing past the hill behind our home; I wonder why this is. Through the mists of time my memory drifts
I see a skinny kid standing on the banks of a farm pond, nervously surveying the scene. A balmy Summer day, the sun high above in a blue sky. Before this lad are his siblings, his friend and his brother and sister; all splashing, diving, and in general having a grand old time in the warm murky water. That same murky water was home turf to a HUGE snapping turtle, which caused no slight amount of trepidation in our young hero’s attempts at swimming.  The prospect of losing a finger, toe, or worse to the unseen monster put a dampener upon the festivities of the ol’ swimmin’ hole.  Coupled with his inability to swim; this was not a particularly fun-filled memory.
Fast forwarding a few years finds the same skinny kid, now with the additional social stigma creating Coke bottle glasses, standing in line awaiting “swimming lessons”.  While those around him are laughing, joking, smacking one another with their rolled up towels, our hero stands rigidly as memories of nearly drowning (see entry entitled  “Water” for explanation) play repeatedly in his mind. Add the admonition of his parents “Don’t hit your head, or you can go blind” (a long story, ask one of my siblings, my Lovely Bride, or children; they will fill you in) echoing like the public address system at the old Municipal Stadium announcing a line-up in the audio memory banks; well the prospect of ditching his glasses, running blindly into a concrete lined hole supposedly filled water just didn’t cut it.  Eventually he comes to the realization that advancement beyond Polliwog is not to be his.
We hit the fast forward button, skipping the commercials, and stop at pools here and there. Always we see our hero (somehow transformed from a skinny kid into what his Lovely Bride refers to as “a pudge”), sans Coke bottle glasses (thanks to Coke bottle contacts), standing within an easy arms reach of the poolside.
Once, in a careless moment while enjoying paradise on Kauai, he wanders into the deep end of the resort pool. Quickly, effortlessly, as past lessons kick in, he gracefully dog-paddles to safety.  To complete the scene, he emits a “woof-woof” on occasion. People sitting at the poolside smile and chuckle at what a card he is, if they only knew the goof darned near drowned.
There are other, less noteworthy “pool incidents”; such as the shoestring used to secure a bathing suit suddenly becoming quite insecure, much to our hero’s chagrin & other’s amusement. But, fortunately, it turned out to be no big thing.
Which brings me back to today’s free open swim at our neighboring community’s pool. For some time, my Lovely Bride has wanted to use the brand new pool. It is a nice looking facility; complete with two waterslides, a splash zone in the shallow area for the little ones, lots of lounging chairs, even a snack bar.
We tentatively waded into the brisk water, taking our sweet time to adapt to the temperature. We had been in the pool maybe ten minutes when the cutest little girl came up to the two of us. Such a cherubic looking child with a round face, bright eyes, she was the classic visage of innocence.
“Do you want to see my trick?” she asked in the cute little voice.
“Pardon me?” I asked.
“Do you want to see my trick I can do?”
“What’s that? Oh, a trick. Sure, let’s see your trick.”
“Okay, but you have to hold my hands.”
“Hold your hands…well, Okay.” I say, after looking to my Lovely Bride for confirmation.
So… here is this kind, older, bearded gentleman extending his hands to this little girl. She places her little pudgy hands in mine. Then, here comes the trick.
She flops backward in the water, delivering a kick to an area I would prefer to not have kicked, like Lou “The Toe” Groza drilling one through the uprights!!!
She promptly released her grip upon my hands as memories of the snapping turtle rushed back, and disappeared in the sea of humanity.
LB was laughing hysterically. She was beet red (so was I, albeit for a different reason), tears streaming from her eyes. Ironically, I too, had tears… again for different reasons. LB had to hold onto my arm to keep from falling over; she was so consumed by the hilarity.
When she was finally able to speak, she said something comforting to the effect of “Here, old man. Here’s a trick for ya! WHAM!!”
Don’t you just hate when people laugh themselves silly at their own jokes? I do.
We never saw the little monster child again. I figure she collected her twenty bucks for the bet, and bugged out.
Chalk up another reason why I am not fond of swimming pools.

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