Thursday, July 28, 2011

I've got the swimming pool blues...

After two weeks off, I took part in the Indie Ink Writing Challenge again.  For once, I didn't write fiction.   I read the prompt and, considering the heatwave that has overtaken New Jersey, I had an idea in my head.  This week the fabulous Runaway Sentence prompted me - swimming pool blues - and I provided a challenge to Melissa R.

"Don't wish it away
Don't look at it like it's forever
Between you and me I could honestly say
That things can only get better..." -
Elton John

It’s a sad day when you see a toddler playing in a small plastic pool and momentarily consider stealing it.  Sure, I’d look ridiculous running off with a plastic turtle pool in my arms.  And I probably wouldn’t get very far as I’m klutzy and would probably trip over my flip flops and fall head first into the pool and crack it in half.  Plus, I’m really not mean enough to steal from a toddler; a sixth grader maybe. 
Instead of stealing from small children and trying to manuever myself into a small plastic pool, I contemplate the days of old, when my dad would set up the sprinkler for me to run through, like that was the same thing as floating along a lazy river.  He would say, “Use your imagination” as though I could pretend away the heat and lack of water to properly swim.   After he died, my mom dug up the back yard and put in a pool.  Part give-the-kids-lots-of-things-to-make-up-for-no-dad theme that summed up a lot of my life and part  my-mom-really-wanted-one.   I won’t lie and say it wasn’t great.  I loved it.  So many more options and I couldn’t really invite friends over to swim in my sprinkler, now could I?
Grown up, with no pool of my own, I sometimes revisit the use of the sprinkler and my imagination.  I hear my father's voice in my head to "pretend."  It hasn't worked with a cold shower, but maybe a sprinkler would do the trick?  Maybe it's the act of running and hopping over a rainbow of water shooting out onto the grass.  How silly would I look if I set up a sprinkler on my front lawn and ran through it?  I think that I might need to borrow a kid for that to make it seem less like I escaped from the nuthouse and more fun in the heat.  Besides, it’s just not the same without the Wonder Woman bathing suit with the faded colors. 

And so begins the onset of the swimming pool blues.

It’s been so hot.  That’s the problem.  I don’t normally miss having a pool in my back yard.  I have access to an indoor salt water kind at my gym – though you can’t just lounge, but must exercise, bah – so I’m not completely without, and in those moments when the nostalgia for a pool runs thick in the air and in my mind, I can usually muster up images of cleaning filters and shocking the pool and didn’t I just removed those leaves?  Damn you trees, why do you torment me like this?  Yeah, I don’t miss maintaining a pool.   That thought can usually get me through most days, pushing away the stabs of pain from absence of a pool, and replacing it with the “why can’t I be a rich socialite” ones.  Dreams slowly move away from being able to randomly choose to jump into a pool in the scorching weather to wouldn’t it be nice to have the kind of throw-away money where I not only could afford an inground pool like I partially grew up with, but to employ people who handle the icky bugs and cleaning and bailing out after rain storms…and then I think about trips to islands with the bluest water and palm trees swaying in the wind and why get a stupid pool when I could move to an island?  Oh right, I live in fear of being eaten by a creature of the sea (I’ve seen enough Shark Week in my life, thankyouverymuch) and I’d probably lament that I didn’t have a pool even with beaches and waters that went on for miles.  That’s just how I roll.
But yeah, the heat is playing with me and I think I need some cold chlorinated water to swim through.  Maybe not even swim – it’s just so hot – but to float on my back and stare at the clouds pondering important questions like “What is the meaning of life?  Why is it so hot?  And is that really a lion-shaped cloud?”  On these days, I long for my days of yore when I jumped into a pool without worries about body image or UV rays or anything beyond goggles that actually kept the water out of my eyes.  I long for a lot of things from my childhood sometimes, especially when my mortgage is due and I think of all the things they just don’t prepare you for as a kid, but right now, in the middle of record high temperatures and rooms that just can’t seem to cool down, I really miss my swimming pool.  


Carrie said...

we had a pool when I was a kid. It was great on REALLY hot days...but that didn't happen often and usually the pool was a chilly 70 degrees. Brrrr

Sometimes I miss having a pool...but usually not :)

Visiting from Indie Ink

Jo Bryant said...

When my children were little we lived in Queensland, Australia and I spent as much time as possible in their paddling pool with them. Actually sometimes without. LOL

Cedar said...

laughed out loud at the shark week comment. I grew up swimming in lakes and hate pools to this day (chlorine, yuck!). Fortunately, I live minutes from a lake and have a swimming hole in the back forty.

Beth Hegde said...

go run through the sprinkler! Great writing

Marian said...

ah, but it's better to steal from toddlers because they won't remember. a sixth-grader, you could scar for life.
also? we have one of those inflatable blue pools in our backyard; it has a filter and we put pool chemicals in it and everything. it's shallow, for the kids, but i got my own ass in that thing much of the time. just a suggestion!