Every year we pay our pool dues. When we moved here sixteen years ago, the neighborhood pool area was a huge enticement. Our first house, The Cottage House offered three swimming options; a ten minute drive to another neighborhood, a garden hose and a kiddie pool, or a thirty minute jaunt way out in the country to an old metal bridge famous for a clean, clear swimming hole. So when we made the move out west to The Mansion, the nearby, chlorinated neighborhood pool was like enjoying a coconut sno-cone in the shade. Irresistible.
The dues are not a covenant requirement but without them the pool is off limits. They are a guarantee for the couple of times per summer when we get the urge to put a swimsuit on and go public. The last few years it has basically become our contribution to the continued beautification of our subdivision. I think KT went once last year.
Our attendance for this year was a couple of weeks ago. The water was perfect due to cooler days and decent rainfall compared with the true drought of last year. And I have a new bathing tent which means the fabric is still firm and the print not dulled by sand, sea or chlorine. I am always going to get in the water because that’s where the fun is. But after paparazzi beach pictures surfaced last summer, I banned photogs. I’m no longer a bathing beauty and things have happened to my body I find too shocking to reveal for a permanent record. But since we are such good friends, I did enclose this current shot of me headed for the pool.
While we were up to our ears in blue water, I thought of this piece I wrote a while back.
Tomorrow is the first day of school. With a heat index of 108 this afternoon, it makes perfect sense to start the new school year during the Pit Bull days of summer. Enticed by the thought of cool water, we headed to the pool while M.G. stayed home, working on her summer homework due in two days. She is required to turn in a printed document containing her answers for twenty-four questions about the three books on her summer reading list. Each answer must be at least half a page. The fact that she has already read her books makes me question if she is really my girl. I know somewhere out there a parent is cracking a whip over a teenager strapped to an armchair with only water and The Grapes of Wrath for sustenance.
While she toils, we broil in our 30 SPF-coated, delicate, middle-aged skin. Floating on neon noodles and a mesh float, we are constantly paddling out of the way of splashing, screaming kids, trying to aim ourselves in the right position for the strongest rays. As kids, suntan lotion, not sunscreen, was used to enhance the tanning ability or just not used at all. I remember lying on my bed, trying to sleep as the Solarcaine and Noxema vapors wafted above my body, tearing my eyes. Today we are trying to get a healthy glow.
The late afternoon of the last day before school has enticed children of all ages, except teenagers, to fill the pool. The lone teenage girl only uses the pool for a refreshing dip from the strenuous task of lying out and watching the cute lifeguard as he tests the pool ph. Behind her darkly shaded eyes, she imagines being rescued when he jumps in to save her. The bubble is burst when a saucy lass brings the lad a fast-food snack. He represents the extent of mature teenage boys found at the pool today. His friends are too busy mowing yards or passing out dry-cleaning.
On the other side of the pool, a petite summered vixen twirls the all-important lifeguard whistle deftly around her hand like a yo-yo. Given the few pieces of fabric deemed appropriate for the life-saving apparel of Miss Lifeguard, the lack of oogling boys is amazing. Thankfully, the seams have not been tested by a perilous situation requiring her to actually perform her duties. However, the pre-teen and barely teen boys follow her like guppies. The boys of summer. Rules are passionately broken to gain her attention. The requisite tweet,tweet of the whistle from her lips falls into the boy’s ears as if a stadium crowd were going wild over his winning touchdown.
A bevy of hormones, hotwired to running, jumping legs, lifts the jumper up into the total abandonment of freefall and the split second rush before waterfall. A dozen boys in the aquatic Cannonball Express, a speeding circuit from ladder, board, pool, ladder, board, pool. “Water out of pool. Water out of pool.” Over and over, in a frenzied pace, turning the deep-end into the wild blue sea. The caboose heads to the round house after several runs. Grinning, he plops down and pats my hand. I have always loved the boys of summer.