Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Meet you at the pool . . . in five hours or so.

Yesterday was a steamy one, and it looks like today will be the same. I don't typically watch the Weather Channel or visit weather.com, but my professional meteorological opinion is that the humidity is something like 100%. [Side note: I had a high school English teacher who told the class that she always wanted to be a meteorologist but she wasn't "smart enough" so she decided to become an English teacher instead. I don't know the requirements for meteorology and certainly mean no offense to those in the profession, but I've always thought that was an inappropriate comment.] On days like today, I would prefer to stay in the air-conditioning. The problem is that the weather seems to have little impact on my bubby, who gets tired of playing inside. Yes, we have options for outside-the-house activities for such days. We can go to our local park and play in the fountains, but given the bub's penchant for heading into the sandbox after the fountain play, this is a messy endeavor (not to mention that he often throws a complete fit when it's time to leave). We can go to other parks with better water stuff. We can go to the beach. We can to a museum. Truth be told, many of these activities require energy that I don't always have. Plus, because the bub loves to run around and explore everything, most of these activities are more enjoyable with another adult to help me coral him as needed.

The long and short of it is that the only place I want to go is the pool. So just go to the pool, you may be thinking. Problem is, the pool is in Fairfield, OH. It's nothing special, nothing exclusive, just a neighborhood swim club. I spent almost everyday of my childhood summers at the pool. We arrived early and stayed most of the day. Many of my friends from school were there, and we spent the day creating elaborate synchronized swimming routines, playing games of sharks and minnows, jumping off the "high dive," and sometimes playing paddle ball or shuffleboard. The fun was only interrupted by an announcement that I still have memorized, "It's 2:00 and it's now time for a pool break. Everyone under 18, get out of the water." Pool break lasted about twenty minutes, a frustratingly slow twenty minutes for a kid ready to get back in the water (and all the more frustrating because there were typically only five or so adults in the pool--one of whom used the pool break to press his private parts against some odd spots, but that is another, and unbloggable, story). When pool break was almost over, kids would line up around the edge of the pool and wait for the lifeguard's whistle to blow. During pool break you could not even put your toe in the water. Plenty of kids would tempt the lifeguards by pretending to enter the water (not me, I have always been a goody goody). The tricksters who "accidentally" fell in before pool break ended were punished by being forced to sit on top of a wooden block in the grass behind the back row of chairs.

Perhaps the best thing about the pool was the snack bar--fountain Coca Cola products with crushed ice, chilled candy bars, burgers, fries, grilled cheese, slush puppies, hot pretzels, and a variety of candy that cost under ten cents (laffy taffy, tootsie rolls, jolly rancher sticks, etc.). I am hungry just thinking about it. When I was a teenager, I lived out my childhood fantasy by working in that snack bar. For $2.75 an hour, I had the privilege of working the grill and fryer (did wonders for my acne), making the slush puppies, and, when the "manager" was not on duty, actually using the cash register to ring up customers. NTB. I also ate for half price, a bonus that more than made up for the sub-minimum wage I was paid (still not sure how that was permissible by law to pay below the minimum wage, especially since taxes and etc. were still taken out of those checks). It still delights me to think about how all sandwiches in the snack bar were served with pickles and chips. When taking orders, I was instructed to always confirm, "Pickles and chips?" It's lunch time in Chicago, and I would love me a cheeseburger with pickles and chips.

I even remember the bathrooms at the pool and the disgusting feeling of stepping on wet toilet paper (I don't recall wearing flip flops). I remember the full-length mirror near the door where I always felt I looked tanner and thinner than I did in natural light. I remember that after a long day of swimming, we often washed our hair in the pool showers (still in bathing suits, of course) before heading home. I remember a few really awesome days, when we stayed so long that we ordered pizza to eat for dinner at the pool.

Clearly, I am in major nostalgia mode, sitting here convincing myself that the bub and I would have no end of fun chilling in the baby pool, enjoying lunch with pickles and chips, and heading home just in time for an afternoon nap. I picture myself interacting with friends while he splashes nearby, confident that he will neither drown nor escape the fenced confines of the baby pool. I imagine that my mom's days at the pool were fairly relaxing for her, even though she was there with five kids. I'll have to confirm that with her, but I think they actually were.

So anyway, what I want to do today is go to the pool. Meet me there in five hours.


Anonymous said...

Pool break for us was called "adult swim." When we got old enough for sarcasm, we called it the "swim of the living dead" because of the slow, languid way moms and dads would tool around in the water, completing *wasting* the pool for half an hour.

LAP said...

Ahhh...I recall it all so well with delight. 50 cents would get you a small slushie and two laffy taffys. However, if it is anywhere near as steamy there as it is in Georgia right now, then you will need to immerse yourself in the water to be comfortable which is not something I can ever remember our mom actually doing during all those years poolside.

Anonymous said...

New Jersey swim clubs also offered the agony of the adult swim, but because we are in such a rush out East, they only lasted 15 minutes. Further, we were allowed to sit at the pool's edge with our feet and shins in the water (possibly another way to ameliorate the impatience of Jersey kids). I found that the most infuriating part of adult swim were the ladies who refused to duck their heads under. I mean, seriously, what is the point of even going in the pool if you're not going to get your head wet? Frankly, that four inch bouffant doesn't look all that perfect given the 90 degree weather and your melting make-up, Mrs. Bianchini.

--Action (see, I told you I was reading…)

Anonymous said...

for some reason, good old new london hills doesn't seem to be having "adult stands" anymore. the first year of my life that i would actually appreciate having one. that is, of course, if someone else was there to make sure eli was not off drowning somewhere and josie was not crying hysterically being that she's sick and tired of being all hot and sweaty and strapped in her stroller. and i still think every morning that we're going to have so much fun at the pool today... msp

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