Care to Join Me for a Dip?

Ever get the sinking feeling you’re going to get stuck with something just because circumstances have you as the last one to get out of the pool? You know the pool I’m talking about. The pool with the water level now well below the skimmer basket. The pool that everyone’s peed in, and is littered with forgotten dive sticks, busted water guns floating on the surface, and invisible shards of glass on the bottom from broken bottles–glass bottles that weren’t even supposed to have been at the pool in the first place. The pool that from the deck looked so cool and inviting at first glance with people swimming and laughing in the sunshine, bouncing a beach ball back and forth. How the hell were you to know those weren’t “happy” sounds you heard but actually gasps for air from those trying desperately not to go under in the deep end? And by the way, they weren’t passing that beach ball. They were dodging it and swatting it away while that siren’s song continued to lull you in your rose tinted goggles further from the shallow end; happily taking off your floaties and ditching your noodle.
And just when you’d waded out as far as you could on tippy-toe, feet no longer touching the bottom, you slowly turned and realized almost everyone had long since wrapped themselves in towels and headed back to the cabana, margarita in hand. Even those who had just splashed a bit on the sides were quick enough to grab a shady spot under an umbrella when a space opened up. But not you, you would-be Esther Williams. And you want to know the real splash in the face? You hate the way your suit fits and you’ve always been terrified of pools.
And yet you don’t leave. There are several options for you at this point. You know you could always thrash and kick your way to the edge hoping someone will notice and come to your aid, tossing a lovely red and white circle in your direction. Then once out, you can high tail it out of there and vow never to set foot in that or any pool ever again, cursing and dripping on every sunbather you pass. Or, let it take you under, disappearing and later resurfacing as merely the shell of the version of you who had at one point been working on a sweet cannonball off the high dive. Or you can do like me. I’ve closed my eyes, taken a deep breath, and exhaled into the most peaceful back float you’ve ever seen. I’ve chosen instead to feel the warm sun on my face, cool water on my skin that has yet to shrivel to prune status, and continue to breathe and float. For I too am not ready to leave the pool.
I know at some point others will come. They will notice the low water, wonder who is supposed to be in charge of pool maintenance, and drag a hose over to fill it back up. I know chemicals will be added to freshen up the green tinted liquid mess and get it turned back to a sparkling blue. I know the time spent here is as fun as we make it to be, but that we must always adhere to water safety rules–even if there are no signs posted warning that you swim at your own risk. I know that regardless of who’s in it, around it, or ignoring it completely, it’s still a hole in the ground and it has a purpose.
And the best part? As I’ve been floating and resting for a bit, I can see over on the side where a swim up bar could be included for a fun new addition, and how with a little reworking the entire deep end could be sectioned off for group water aerobics while the little ones learned how to hold their breath and doggie paddle over by the steps. And yes, you and I may be the only two in the pool at the moment, but if you look just over there by the gate, past the white cracked plastic tables and the bin overflowing with discarded towels, you can see smiling faces getting closer to the check-in station. Some familiar and some brand new, but all heading our way and eager to dive in.

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