Monday, June 11, 2012

Swimming Pools

I love going to the pool, and I love going to our network of city pools. Buying a season pass means that my kids and I can go to six different pools, though we only frequent five of them because one of them is extremely difficult to get to. Each of the pools has its own personality. One pool is strictly blue-collar. People (And I'm going to tell you now that I am going to stereotype. I'm going to tell you what most of them are like, of course, not like all of them) are loud, and their etiquette is not always spot on. There is a mixture of races. A lot of the women are overweight and don't pick swimsuits that flatter them. My kids love to go to this pool, because there is a 30 foot slide. I love to go to this pool to see how people interact with each other. Because they are loud, you can easily observe their family dynamic. It's a hoot.
The pool on the opposite side of town is a totally opposite dynamic. This pool draws a wealthy side. The area used to be considered new money. The old money side of town uses either a different city pool or private pools. I've noticed that the new money is settling in, though. When we went to that pool it reminded me so much of the old money side (where I grew up). A young man and his girlfriend came into the pool and heartily greeted one of the life guards. The life guard asked the guy how he had done in his tournament. I'm thinking basketball, baseball? No, that would be golf. The guy tells him his score. It must have been good, because the lifeguard high- fived the guy and gave him a hug. Then he rubbed his head and spanked his butt. It was a fascinating dynamic to watch. The guy's girlfriend dutifully stood by and smiled. Then she saw a female lifeguard, lazily called her name, and ran towards her. It was all very Great Gatsby. I loved it, because it really did remind me of my high school days. I was never wealthy. I was like the author of Great Gatsby, the observer who was invited in for awhile. But I do understand that dynamic.
The pool in our part of town is definitely middle-class all the way. But it's filled with wanna-be, loud, vulgar women. They drive me crazy, and I can't write very objectively about them. They think they're the cat's pajamas, but they so are not. They are over-weight, brash, cliquey women who live vicariously through their kids. They act as if the class activities are about them. It makes me insane, and I don't understand it.
Another pool close by is full of young families. It's hilarious to watch the stunned parents watching their young progeny take to the water. The dads are the funniest. They swim around in a daze. They're wondering what happened to their knock-out, fun, party-girl wives. How were they replaced by these mothers who now very definitely put these children first. And oh, are they starting to go bald and get soft around the middle?
The final pool is a small pool that has been slated to close for a few years. Somehow, it gets enough support to keep it open. It hasn't been re-vamped. It's an old-fashioned swimming pool with two diving boards and a small slide. A small rock wall has been added, but that's it. I love this pool because it is so secluded. It's surrounded by a forest because it's located in a park. There are not a lot of people who attend the pool. And quite a few single parents patronize this pool. So I feel like I fit right in. I actually need to frequent this pool on my own, I think.
I don't know what it is about pools that make people feel free to be themselves. Maybe it's because we're all communing in water together, frolicking in the sun. I think it's because we're all half naked. It's the one place you can basically walk around in your underwear, no matter what you look like, and it's okay. It's freeing. People shed their clothes, and they shed their inhibitions too. But I love it!

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