Thursday, September 8, 2011

By The Pool...

This week has left me with so much to write about - but nothing that anyone would want to read.  So, I pulled out my handy dandy Book of Write - and searched for an idea.  This was the prompt.  "By the pool..." And only one story came to mind.  Sorry sister... it had to be told.
Back in the old days, before computers, cell phone, wiis, and the like, there was something called "figure out how to have fun on your own."  There was also something called, "In the summer, you must have swimming lessons!"  So the summers essentially, belonged to the two of us: me and my sister - except for swimming lessons.  Without fail, for three weeks of each summer, our day began at 7:30 am so that we could be sitting on the edge of the outdoor pool in new one piece swimming suits to begin the bobs of torture and laps featuring the newly learned whip kick at exactly 8:00 am.
Now I want you to picture something for a moment: two girls whose hair had not yet been combed, toast crumbs still in the corners of their mouths, shivering in their awkward bodies (because June in Iowa is often still in its infancy - and rarely hands out temperatures higher than the 60s at 8:00 am).  So, it was often a bit nippy these mornings.  You may ask, why not have lessons in July - when it's too hot for Tarzan?  The answer to that lies somewhere deep in our mother's 1977 rationale for how to start a summer.  We don't know.
Okay, so now you have an idea of how chilly and brisk it could be.. and probably you also have an idea of how enthusiastic we were to be there.  So, one fine June morning, by the pool, we were instructed to jump in and start doing 500 bobs - or something.  It was frigid.  So cold, that before the lessons began, we had been crouched up in our towels by the side of the pool while our teeth chattered.  When the Rico Suave instructor finally appeared with his bleach blond hair and muscles popping out of everywhere, we all became a little nervous.  When you are a fourth grader, with morning hair, jelly remnants hanging out on your face from your morning toast, and you are sporting a jungle green suit adorned with appliqued white palm trees and criss-cross straps in the back... it seems that the whole world is better looking than you are.  So busting out of your towel and cannon-balling into the -40 degree pool isn't what comes to mind first.  Just ask my sister.
Out of nervousness, or feeling like she needed a parka... she did the unthinkable.  She jumped into the waves of ice... with her towel still wrapped around her.  Now, once you're like over forty and could give a rip about what the rest of the swimming lesson world thinks of you - it's no big deal - just an inconvenience.  But not when you're ten.  When you are ten and you jump in and fully submerge you and your towel in the freezing water in front of your peers and the super hot, Rico Suave swim instructor... it's a little more traumatizing.  And memorable.  So memorable that your little sister (me) can tell the story with such clarity - it's eerie.  What happened next wasn't as pleasant for the little sister.
My sister, quickly aware of her faux pas, spring-boarded out of the pool, threw her sopping wet towel at her laughing sister, and hopped back into the pool to finish out the lesson on the back stroke.  When the lessons were finished, the still-laughing little sister didn't fair so well.  The embarrassed older sister quickly nabbed the only dry towel left (mine), and stormed off to the changing room.  By the time, I caught up to her, my towel was no longer dry.  It was just a pile of wet left on the slimy cement floor.  I guess that was the fine for laughing.  It's okay... it was worth it.   For a chubby eight-year-old with a lazy eye and a bad haircut, it was completely worth it to seem just a little cooler than my older, better-looking, smarter sister... even if it was for just one cold second.

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