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The Best Thing About Today

Day to Day Thoughts, Recollections, and Chicanisma

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Waning Days of Summer
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esa_morena
For kids out of school for the summer, swimming is the definitive summer activity. The sunscreen, tan lines, and the smell of chlorine, for most, help create and maintain the feeling of summer. The shimmery blue water and lines at the bottom of the pool always take me back to the days spent at the Tuolumne Pool. In a place whose downtown center only spanned one square block of store fronts, many of which were boarded up, three of five or six that were open being bars, the pool was Tuolumne City's one modern amenity. In summer, it sparkled like a jewel among it's back drop of open dry grass land and tattered drunks hanging around across the street in the park. Leaving my mom's run-down house and her run down friends to go to the pool in the summer was like an escape to some place clean, a place where things were predictable, a place where there were rules and people, mostly, lived by them.

While I take my son and niece to the pool and stay there with them to make sure they drink enough water, reapply sunscreen, get out to eat lunch, and don't drown, or forget the rules, a sort of back up for the lifeguards, rather than imagining that they'll be just fine on their own, like the majority of the parents in Tuolumne did. I rather enjoy my time playing with them in the water or observing them from the side of the pool. They are best friends in spite of being a different gender and 2.5 years apart in age. They have fun anywhere, but in the water especially. Having done swim lessons together for two years in a row, they're becoming better swimmers, but they spend most of their time in three feet water, turning somersaults under water, doing cannonballs from the edge, or attempting handstands. They recently invented a game where they take turns tapping someone they don't know on the back or shoulder, swimming away before being noticed -- I've warned them about the possible dangers of such a game.

Last Sunday, I took my son and niece to a nearby city aquatic center.  I tried inviting other mom friends and their kids, but contacted everyone too late.Ironically, I found myself beyond glad that none of my friends could make it because I had a good book with me, and in this particular pool where beginning swimmers are only allowed to swim in the roped-off three feet waters or in the less than two feet waters in and around the climbing structure slide area, I realized that I could sit nearby for stretches at a time and didn't have to be in the water if I didn't feel like it.  Sure I kept an eye on them, looking up from my book even more than I really needed to, and I got into the water to cool off and to play with them, and to encourage them to practice what they had learned in swim lessons, but mostly I read and enjoyed just being in my own head with my thoughts and memories. When I wasn't reading, I made comparisons between my own experiences at the Tuolumne pool, and summers in general, with my son's experiences. My mom shooed us out the door, "get out of my hair," and I chauffeur my son and niece around in my car, carrying their stuff like some kind of high priced assistant, and I wouldn't have it any other way, especially since summer is and feels a lot shorter than it used to.

As I laid there alone in the grass on my towel, in my red bikini, reading my book, and listening to my ipod, while looking up frequently to keep my eye on the kids, I thought about myself circa 1982, at the Tuolumne Pool, my towel near the diving boards where the older kids hung out, listening to a cassette tape of Adam and the Ants on my wannabe Sony Walkman. While earlier that day, I had been disappointed not to have found any of my friends at the pool to hang out with, I had suddenly become swept up by the joy of being in the moment and in my own head. The song "Scorpios" was playing in my ears, and people were diving off the diving boards in front of me. The bright sounds of the blasting horn section, Adam Ant's singing English accent, and the image of his olive complexion, square jaw, high cheek bones, and what I assumed were Spaniard good looks, invoked a tingling pubescent response that made me feel more alive than I had probably ever felt. The feeling was a combination of everything all at once, the hot sun on my skin, the bright music in my ears, the shimmery blue water in front of me, and the thought of Adam Ant in leather pants. To this day, while at the pool with my son, or while listening to "Scorpios," I can still conjure up that same feeling.

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Waning Days of Only Summer

(Anonymous)
I was there I enjoy the details I touched that water that looked like a jewel before too. Oh and the "Scorpios" is very nice music dancing music that feel good. You took me into a music video nice...

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