I have finally answered the age old question, “if one is over 75, where do they go to pick up?” and the answer is, the local community pool!
In an attempt to get some strength back into my overly drugged, beat-up body, I hot tailed my sweet patootie to the local indoor pool with my goggles and racing suit in hand. I prefer the methodical all body work out of doing mindless laps over being at a gym shamelessly pretending I know how to use the machines and worrying about what bacteria is living on the handles of anything I touch.
It’s been years since I’ve used a public pool and never before during the day, so I wasn’t quite prepared for what I would see the moment I stepped into the pool area… it was hopping. The hot-tub was elbow to elbow with lounging pensioners, retirees dominated the swimming lanes and the leisure pool looked like a geriatric night club. Even the music playing overhead sounded like it was plucked from an old speakeasy… well, until it changed to Madonna circa 1980’s then onto retro Pearl Jam.
It was like an adult water version of high school where everyone has their chosen hang out spot, the women move around in pairs giggling over the recently heard gossip, not all clothing being worn is appropriate and when this new girl walked in, she got the stank eye. It’s awesome.
Because I was so memorized by all that was going on around me, I couldn’t resist lifting my head a little higher between laps to take a gander. The lanes weren’t exciting to observe, except for the frequent gray hair pile ups that happen in the slow lane when someone stops randomly to chat over the rope to a friend. The ‘slower-than-slow-and-laps-are-optional’ lane was more amusing to observe with smiling women sporting perfectly set hair, men holding up the pool walls as they continually scope the area for I’m not sure what and circles of people hanging out and laughing all the while balancing on pool noodles. I actually even witnessed one sparky lady coyly look at a handsome gentleman, bat her eyelashes and say “fancy meeting you here”.
At one point I realized that if I didn’t want to drown I needed to take a quick break from the back and forth. At my condos pool, I’m used to having Dad Cairns watching over me making sure if my heart gives out I don’t spontaneously go under, but here I actually have to pay attention myself. I gladly took to the wall at the end of the lane where I found myself beside a woman who all of a sudden with amusement and in a sing-song tone announced, “uh oh, somebodies going to get in trouble”. Because I couldn’t resist learning some of the local gossip I asked her what misdemeanor she’d spotted. She explained that at any given time the hot-tub maximum is 14 people and 2 rogue retirees just attempted to sneak in undetected. Apparently the hot-tub is the bane of existence for the lifeguards who can’t keep up with the spunky seniors determined to challenge the rules. Moments later, a life guards voice soared over the masses from across the room falling on the ears of suspecting adults who all of a sudden decided they were deaf and continued with their gabbing. Needless to say this did not go over well with the already exasperated lifeguard.
Now, after having observed this criminal act over a few visits, it’s become a game to guess the response the lifeguard is going to receive. It tends to be one of the following:
a causal blow off involving a wave of the hand and the phrase, “don’t worry about it, it’s fine”,
a blank “you can’t be talking to me” stare followed by making themselves comfortable,
or, on the rare occasion, quick compliance from the person who actually didn’t know the rule.
I found myself oddly inspired by these rebellious teenagers at heart for their tenacity and daring. I’ve been a staunch rule follower my entire life but I admire these free spirits ability to push the limits without apology. I myself apologize to the cashier at Fortinos for drinking my freshly pressed orange juice before reaching the counter, use my cruise control to get used to the new speed limit on the service road and actually took a moment to ask the life guard on my first visit what rules I needed to know before even getting wet.
I’ve always been more like Monica from Friends who believes that “rules make things fun”, but for those times I do play with them a little, I am giving myself permission to be kinder to myself. If I get called out, there’s no need to go over the top apologizing, awkwardly back tracking or punishing myself for being a horrible person; I just need to smile and get out of the hot-tub.
After her explanation about the rebellious hot tub honey’s, I turned to the sweet lady and said “the world thinks it’s teenagers they have to keep their eyes on, but you guys are particularly wily”. She smiled and replied with a great sense of pride, “you bet we are”. Love it.