Friday, June 19, 2009

Too Cool for the Pool . . .

Ava and I went swimming Wednesday night and then again last night.

I really enjoy swimming (always have, probably always will) and it seems like my little Bidders loves the pool even more than I do.

She starts jumping around with excitement to go swimming at around 11:15 when Joy picks her up from "school" and tells her that she and Daddy are going swimming that evening and - by the time I get home at 5:15/5:30 she's taken a half-hearted nap and is in her swimsuit, sunscreened, flip flopped and holding my trunks in my hand as she greets me at the door (note to wifey - stop telling Ava six hours ahead of time if you want to get a good nap out of her in the meantime (smile)).

Her excitement only grows as we make our way to the YMCA and she asks about every 1/4 mile if we are "there yet" and by the time we find a parking spot and key our code in at the gate, she has her cover up off, her flip flops in her hand and is b-lining for the "ship wreck" slide.

I find the pool to be fascinating on several levels. First - no one really "swims" in this particular pool (more of a water park, I guess). It is only about five feet deep, max and it is a wave pool so everyone just sort of floats and splashes around like so many hippos in Madagascar 2. Second - it is a great mix of teenagers hanging out, families trying to beat the heat and proud parents trying to introduce their children to the thrills of slides shaped like shipwreck and seashells. Third - the place is fenced off chaos . . . in all the best ways.

You can't go more than about two seconds without hearing the half-hearted whistles of the teenaged, apathetic, sunburned lifeguards. You never know who they are blowing at and you don't really get the impression they do either. I'm sure if there was ever a crisis they would spring to action but - in the short term - oh my!

More importantly the pool is the weirdest mix of people I've probably ever been around. Some are beautiful. Some are not. Some are skinny. Some are not. Some are capable of swimming. Some are not. Some are there to just have fun. Some are not. Some are looking to check out the fellas. Some are there to check out the ladies. Some are there to make awkward comments to the mother's in the toddler section of the pool (another story for another blog, no doubt). Some are there to get some sun. Some are there to get a sno-cone and read a book. Some are there to enjoy themselves. Some are there to start some trouble. Regardless of the person or their "motives" at the pool, I can't go more than about three seconds without wondering how EVERY person at the pool can be so confident in their bodies while I am just hoping to blend in to the water and the scenery of the water park without any one noticing me at all (wifey insisted I get a bright, patterned pair of "fun" swim trunks last year (I've been too lazy to go get new ones that actually fit me this year - I won't do that until the current ones actually fall off me and expose me to the YMCA community) and I wear a red t-shirt with those trunks so I'm not exactly in water-camo (do they make water camo?) but you know what I mean).

I'm talking men in Speedos. Moderately overweight men in Speedos (Wichita is the Italian Riviera of the midwest United States, I guess). Mid-30s mothers are keeping up with the hottest trends in teenaged swimwear. Short-shorts double as swim trunks on men in their 40s. The palest people I've seen since Twilight just laying on the lounge chairs praying a little color will fall on and stick to their chests. Kids coming off the slide with wedgies that look painful . . . and then digging them out - with both hands - for all to see. Hair that is damp enough to remind you of a soggy dog but not wet enough to lay flat against the head. Boobs everywhere (on the men and the women) and people just screaming and yelping and having a grand old time for all to observe (last night's highlight was a man screaming, from 40 feet away, at his wife that she would have to watch the kids because he had to "clear his nose and didn't want to do it in the pool . . . again")!

Don't get me wrong - I admire the heck out of these people. I slip through the gate, walk along the building to the lockers, put our oversized "Mommy and Ava" LL Bean tote bag in the first one I can find and then I try to get in to at least knee-deep water before anyone can notice my grotesque left calf but not in to deep enough water that my oversized t-shirt clings to my moobs and my hair looks as bald as it really is. I just don't like my body. I don't like taking it out in public. I don't like showing it off to people. I never have (I had the same body issues as a 10 year old kid at the pool) and I probably never will. Wifey has been trying to convince me that when/if I get my body lift I might feel differently but as long as I can hear my body excess skin slapping against itself on the treadmill I don't believe I have anything fleshly to show the world!

Keep doing your thing, Wichitans. If you are happy with your body when it is covered in spandex, nylon, polyester and spandex . . . be happy! If you want to wear a Speedo . . . put your banana in a hammock and hit the water slide! If you are okay with being ghostly white, having damp hair and letting the world see those probably-were-meant-to-be-private-and-intimate tattoos . . . ink it up! If you are just trying to beat the heat and feel like I'm over thinking it . . . ignore me!

No, really, please - ignore me - I don't have the confidence or the body to just let myself "be" at the pool. But I admire you for being able to (or for being able to hide your insecurities so well).

No comments: