My friend Amy loves the pool. She looks forward to its opening every year. She arrives in her cute suit with her bag packed with snacks, her children slathered in sunscreen, ready to splash in the water, slide down the slide, to soak up the rays and breathe in the chlorine-drenched air.
Pretty much the only thing I like about the pool is getting to hang out with Amy.
I am 44 and fair-skinned. There is something absurd to me about standing in the middle of a sparkling body of water with the sun beating down on my head, little melanomas just waiting for their chance to shine.
Still, I'll be there almost every day this summer, because the boys love it and it passes the time. It seems churlish to complain. I know a lot of working moms (and dads) who would love to spend their mornings or afternoons poolside. And, really, it's not torture or anything. Just hot and pre-cancerous.
The thing I love about the pool, besides spending time with Amy and other friends, is the people-watching. The first day I was at the pool this year, Memorial Day weekend, I saw a group of fifth grade girls who looked so golden and mean, I could have written a novel about them on the spot. Of course, the most interesting characters would have been those girls walking five steps behind, baby fat still in their cheeks, so completely desirous of being in that inner circle. I remember what that was like.
Everything about people at the pool is fascinating--the sixty-year-old women working on their savage tans, the teenagers in all their gawky self-consciousness, the big-bellied men who you can tell think they look great. I wish women could be as comfortable in their skin as men. There are women completely miserable because they're ten pounds overweight, and these huge, roly-poly guys convinced they're God's gift ...
Right now my favorite people at the pool are the little girls who make friends with me. Now that Will can play in the three-feet without me having to be in the water with him, I sometimes lounge in a chair at the pool's edge, and I'm often joined by some nice six-year-old or another who wants to discuss my red toenail polish or the things her big sister gets in trouble for. I was a shy child, so I'm just amazed by these chatty cathys who seem happy to share their every thought with me. I wish I had one of my own. And then I remember myself at 13 and think maybe I'll stick to boys.
I'm a writer and a stay-at-home mom who keeps meaning to mop the floors because I think it would make me happy if I did. I love books and music and writing, spend entirely too much time in the dentist's chair (I bet I have more crowns than you do), and used to think I was sort of bohemian, but now I wonder. No tattoos. Minivan. That story.