every year I tell everyone I’m not going. every year I end up there at least once.
Like childbirth, I forget how much I dislike the pool going process. I look back and say, “Sure, I can do that again,” and I do, for my kids because they love it. But, the second my foot touches the lukewarm water I’m quickly reminded of why I don’t like going:
—There are more people inhabiting the pool than there are shopping in all the IKEAs of the world.
—The twelve teenage boys who orchestrate a mass wrestling match in the kiddie pool section.
—Being the tenth family in line waiting for one of four family changing rooms, while standing, dripping wet, in a hallway that has a thermostat set to forty below.
—The one lady in the lazy river who kicks water in my face because she hasn’t figured out the mechanics of the lazy river.
—The other lady who is swimming in the lazy river the wrong way, making the rest of us struggle against the sideways current to move so she can swim upstream with the Salmon.
—Someone peed in the pool. Even if you don’t see it or feel it, you know it happens.
—Getting stuck trying to get out of a wet swimsuit in the world’s smallest locker room shower—looking less like a Victorias Secret Angel and more like a Picasso.
—There’s more screaming than at a Justin Bieber concert.
—The seniors who dominate the hot tub like sardines look about as friendly to newcomers as rabid raccoons.
—The chemicals make my skin so itchy. I can’t even open the car door without scratching my back for ten minutes, on the edge of the car door.
—The chemicals are burned into my nostrils. For at least two days after, all I’ll smell is chlorine. Even if I burnt my house to the ground, I’d still be able to smell chlorine with a hint of campfire.
—The one lifeguard who thinks he’s on an episode of Bay Watch instead of at an indoor pool in a suburb of Denver that’s dangerously close to capacity.
—Rules that require me to shower before entering the vast abyss of pool water I’ll be sharing with folks whose only shower is probably when they go to the public pool.
—Being crammed in a “family cabana” trying to undress myself and three wet toddlers—one of whom is headed right for the toilet with my shoe, the other is unlocking the door.
—Having a countdown clock to swim. I pay city taxes as well as a membership fee. If I want to stay in the pool until the Second Coming, I should be allowed to. Especially if other people are allowed to pee in it.
Maybe I’m just not a fan of crowds. Especially half naked ones, where the only thing between them and me is a thin layer of spandex and forty thousand gallons of germ annihilating chemicals that are being kicked into my face. Every year I tell everyone I’m not going. Every year I end up there at least once. Because, like childbirth, the experience fades into a fog of memory I can sort-of recall, but not with any accurate detail. It’s true—that’s how I ended up with three kids and another date set to go to the pool this weekend.