Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Today I am grateful for the social distancing lane swim at the swimming pool. Boy, that’s a mouthful, just like a bad gulp of the chlorinated liquid, that chokes in your throat. Wordy today, I guess.
My local outdoor pool, one of the few open in my area, is open one hour before it’s usual time for lane swimming/walking. The first few times my friend and I went, there was hardly anyone there. Now the word is out and this morning it was packed! Not all, but most of us are of a “certain” age. Just like in the movie, “Cocoon”, with Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronin.
There are only three lane-lines up, but way more people want to swim so we take down the deep end rope and they squeeze in among us walkers/sometimes swimmers. We are getting pretty good at jumping out of their way. It’s friendly, but not exactly socially distant when it’s that crowded.
This morning I suggested that yet another late entering swimmer might find more room on the other side of the lanes, where there were fewer people. He said, “No, I’m okay here. I don’t mind.” I guess I was too subtle, or he was too young, because he was sure no geezer.
I decided to take myself out of the equation and go to the diving well where I was blissfully alone. I was doing deep water aerobic/swimming/jogging/sort of. But for an hour and a half it was substantial. After I was there for fifteen minutes, Mr. I’m-okay-here-I-don’t-mind, moved from his lane and jumped into my “private” pool.
This young guy is kind of simple and sweet, so I joked, “Are you invading my space? I came over here so you’d have more room.” He laughed and told me he had to dive to the bottom for treasures and did I want to join him? I did my usual twenty minutes on how I float like a buoy and haven’t been able to reach the bottom of a pool. . .ever. . .because of it. “Even when I was young and thinner, I still floated.” He didn’t believe me.
I wowed him with my demonstration of pretending to sit in a chair without kicking or moving my arms. . .at all. . .and not sinking a bit. Then I showed him how when I take a really deep breath, I pop-up, right out of the water and when I blow it out, I go under about to my nose. I did that four times. He laughed. I love a good audience. I am available for party entertainment. If you have a pool.
“See,” I said. “I’m a buoy.” He told me where someone like me might come in handy, like if a canoe tips over. I told him I shoulda been on the Titanic. “Think of the lives I could have saved.” He laughed again.
We waxed poetic about all of this while swimming back and forth, with him occasionally surface diving, then announcing the treasures he was bringing up. “I got three earrings, a couple of hair ties and two quarters.” He proudly piled it all on the pool deck.
As we neared the official opening time, the other lifeguards started filling in the other chairs. They were going to take his treasure pile, but mostly because one girl recognized her friend’s earring. “You can have everything else, but those quarters are mine for the snack stand!” He was very excited. And generous with his treasures. But no one was getting those quarters!
Later, ducking under the ropes to walk a few laps and stretch, I heard a couple of older newbies chatting. Okay, shouting, “I don’t care! I’m sick of staying home. I’m not letting a virus rule my life!”
Note to self – STAY AWAY FROM HER. I continued with my stretches and heard two women ream her out about how stupid that was, that this virus was dangerous and we all had to be responsible. I don’t know if they were friends, but if they were, they probably aren’t any more.
“I want to eat in restaurants and be waited on!” Mrs. Irresponsible yammered. “I’m eating out and if it kills me, it kills me.” How flippant we are with words sometimes. Is your chicken salad sandwich really more important than your life? Poor you.
“I’m eating out in my kitchen,” one of the other women said, laughing. “I hope it doesn’t kill me!” It was like a junior-high/geezer-style cat fight that could have been a scene in the movie, “Cocoon”.
I left before aliens started throwing pods into the pool. No way do I need to be rejuvenated enough to live forever or, God forbid, get younger! I survived the bullying of elementary school, the nastiness of junior high and the cliques of high school. I have no desire to go back and re-live any of that.
My needs are small. A nice, relaxing, socially distant, lane swim in my community pool and living through my own cooking are right up there. Oh, and I have to remember to bring quarters. I wonder what he can get at that snack bar for three or even four quarters? This could get expensive. I’m counting on it.