For me, summer isn't summer without at least one dip in a pool. There's something about that moment when I dunk below the surface and that coolness of the water and hint of chlorine combine to bring memories of childhood summers rushing back. This past weekend I made my first trip of the season to a local pool and, sure enough, I was transported.
Lying on my chaise lounge (does anyone call them that anymore?) soaking up some summer, I hear, at the top of the hour, the long lifeguard whistle signaling the 15 of each 60 minutes that literally separate the girls from the women: Adult Swim. Children begrudgingly exit the pool while adults - mostly a little older - heed the herald of pool time without being water bombed by cannonballing kids or whapped in the face with a pool noodle. What a difference 40-plus years make.
As a kid, the only good thing about Adult Swim was the prospect of mom, eager to get into the pool before time ticked away, succumbing to pleads for snack bar tickets. There, with friends, all wrapped in soggy towels and resting under the shade trees, we could enjoy an ice cream pop or fries, whiling away the never-ending minutes until we could get back to our games of Marco Polo or Shark Versus Minnows. Inevitably we'd end up sitting on the pool stairs, slowly dipping our way further into the water, avoiding the watchful eye of the lifeguards. We'd watch our parents and their friends bobbing along, our moms trying to keep their fluffy hairdos dry, our dads chortling over some grown-up joke. Adult Swim was just another show of that special club we couldn't join, with its knowing glances and secret language. And it lasted f.o.r.e.v.e.r.
Now, as a bonafide member of the Adult Swim club, I have to admit, I get it. Though I'm usually at the pool alone and don't really mind getting in during the wild and wooly 45 minutes with kids, I appreciate knowing I can float along without threat of attack, or hang onto the side, kicking my legs, my face raised to the sun, without too many jolting youthful shrieks (for someone who spent so much time in front of a stack of Marshall amps in my 20s, I've grown surprising sensitive to sharp, loud sounds). And, of course, now that 15 minutes just fly by.
Isn't it a blessing to be able to experience both sides of life's equations? And, here on the farther side, I can truly appreciate both. If I could only convince them to limit the incessant pop music now blasted over the PA to the 15 minutes the kids are actually listening to it. That would be heaven.