Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Come on in, the water’s...fine?

The water in the YMCA pool in Green Bay, WI is always just right. I should know. As a water aerobics instructor, I spend up to 10 hours a week in the water. Multiply that by the 5 years I’ve taught, and that’s a lot of time spent being pruned, chlorinated, waterlogged and educated on pool testing, deck slipperiness and proper temperature level--86 degrees being ideal (and I can tell if it’s a degree off with my pinkie toe).

As often as I can, I share my beloved YMCA pool with family and friends. Today, when I took my daughter, Krista, and her friend to ‘free’ swim, the pool was filled with hundreds of day-camp kids. There were half a dozen camp leaders walking the perimeter and 3 lifeguards on tall chairs too. By the looks of it, the pool was pretty well policed.

Not to “rat-out” any teenage lifeguards, but the “Y” employs, primarily, “The Lethargic” and “The Dopey” to guard the pool area. I actually saw one sleeping during an adult class. Some look more lobotomized than potentially heroic.

This afternoon, however, the lifeguards were all alert, vigilant, sitting up straight, and focusing in the direction a certain corner of the pool. I watched the other adults migrate to that same corner; their body language suggesting, “Something’s strange over here.” So I swam closer. One lifeguard was pointing, mouthing the words, “What is it?” while another shrugged her shoulders. Still another nodded knowingly, and motioned at the first guy, saying, “Get the net.” I swam a little farther away and called Krista and her friend to me. We all stood watching; the girls from beneath the water with their swim masks on.

The next series of events happened in slow motion:

A muscled, tall, sturdy male lifeguard handed “The Net” to a small, unprepared female lifeguard, shaking his head saying, “No way in h-e-l-l I’m doing that.”

The girl made a face, but reached for the long handled net and dipped it in the water, made another face, screeching, “Oh, my God!” and cringing.

Krista and her friend see the now full net underwater, through their masks. They surface, and looked at me, wildly, for answers.

The third, another female lifeguard, became more involved and pointed to 3 or 4 other places in the pool, right next to where we were standing.

Somewhere, there is an unidentified, previously-constipated child—probably now in a much better mood.

A LONG, urgent whistle was blown by “Freaked-out Muscley Guy.” It was the shrill of warning. Everyone did get out the pool--just like the swimmers did in Jaws when someone yelled, “SHARK!” People ran like the water was boiling, heated by a fire-breathing, ink-shooting, giant, “20,000 Leagues under the Sea” squid. It was the exact scene from “Caddyshack” when someone cried “Doodie!” Only this WAS a “Doodie” (several, actually), and not a Baby Ruth.

I rushed Krista and her friend out, repeating out loud, “There’s no way you could have gotten any on you,”---but thinking, “I HOPE you didn’t get any on you.”

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