Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer Swimming

Every year my town puts on a Summer celebration.  There's a car show, hot rod night, arts and crafts in the park, a petting zoo, and a book sale.  The whole town comes alive during the two day event, crowding the downtown area with tons of people.  One of the celebrations included free swimming at the indoor/outdoor pool, which was where I was for two hours today.  I somehow got wrangled into taking my little brother swimming, but I decided to make the best of it despite my hesitations.

Public pools are not my favorite place to be in the world, especially if I have to be in a suit in front of everyone.  Thankfully I didn't have to swim today, just had to keep a careful eye on my little bro.  Arriving a little after one o'clock, we quickly made our way to the family changing rooms.  After answering about a hundred questions from my dear old sibling, we finally walked out to the pool area and deliberated about swimming inside or outside.  The decision was a tough one: if he swam inside, he would be able to go down the water slides, but if he swam outside, he could swim in the deeper water and play in the waterfall.  I eyed the inside pool apprehensively.  It would be difficult to watch him with so many munchkins running around.  It was hot and humid, with the smell of chlorine clinging to everything.  Being in street clothes was about the most uncomfortable thing in there.  Surprisingly, the little one decided to swim outside. 

He was eager to get into the water, but I was slightly nervous about his abilities to keep above water.  He and his classmates had been taking swimming lessons during the school year, but I didn't know exactly what skills he had learned and if he could even touch the bottom of the pool.  I reluctantly put his goggles on and sent him on his way in the 4' 6" end of the pool, hoping that it wouldn't be necessary for me to rescue him.  Once again I was surprised as he enthusiastically hopped in and began swimming all on his own.  I relaxed a bit at seeing that and made my way over to a plastic chair-my throne for the next two hours.

Periodically I would glance up at him over the top of my book, making sure he was okay and playing nicely with others.  I felt very much like a mom.  As I relaxed more, knowing he would be fine, I started to pay attention to the people around me.  There were so many kids, it was crazy.  Babies and toddlers "swam" in the upper pool with their moms, while the older ones were down below by the waterfall.  Watching the kids play and swim, I was struck with nostalgia for my own childhood.  When you're a kid, you're never afraid of what people are thinking about you.  You just do whatever feels right and whatever looks fun.  Nose picking and wedgie pulling seemed to be the most popular activities while running to the pool side.  No one cared about what their hair looked like or what kind of suit they were wearing.  All they cared about was if there was water in the pool and a snack waiting for them at snack time.  I wish I could say the same for the girls who were next to me.

As luck would have it, I ended up sitting next to a couple of teenage girls who were working on their tans.  Wonderful, I thought, I get to sit next to the bimbo barbies who're nice and skinny and, naturally, wearing bikinis.  Yup, I sure am lucky.  It wasn't that bad except for the fact that I also had to listen to their stupid conversations as well.  "Oh my God.  Did you hear that so and so broke up?"  "No way!  I thought they would be together for ever."  "I totally knew she was cheating on him."....blah blah blah.  There's first rate intelligence for you right there.  I glance over a little while later and to my horror, saw that three more barbies had joined the pack.  The best part was when one Barbie's Ken came over to lounge with them.  I tried to focus on my book, but it was pointless.  Thankfully, I only had another ten minutes before swimming was done.

When the lifeguards blew their whistles, I expected to have to argue with my brother about getting out of the pool, but he proved me wrong again.  He came right out with the other children and ran over to me saying, "Can I please have a snack?".  Needless to say, after getting dressed and ushering him to the car, we drove over to McDonald's and got a couple of well deserved ice cream cones.

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