Lifeguard on Duty (or, Why I Hate Pools)

My friend, D.J, recently introduced me to Doghouse Diaries and, while reading through the comics I came across this:

This struck a chord with me, bringing to the surface a long suppressed (that’s a lie, I just told this story a month ago at a party) memory of childhood trauma. I bring to you, dear reader, the Dangers of the Wave Pool.

See, I have never been a strong swimmer. For a better understanding, picture Wario swimming his little heart out in Cheap Cheap Chase (Mario Party 3). His bulbous bottom floating, unable to submerge, the too-small purple pants stretched tight, his face contorted in fear as he swims and swims and swims, always the first one eaten by the fish.

That was me, only ten years old and in a hot pink swimsuit, sans giant fish.

I have always been aware of my shortcomings as a “water baby” but I ignored them on this fateful day and decided to swim in the deep end of the Wave Pool. After all, what could go wrong with my Coho Champion of a sister by my side?

Well, nothing would have, had I kept her by my side. But I was an obnoxious little shit of a kid and I decided to go off by myself. I floated around and was doing fine, pretending to be a mermaid and diving over and over again to the bottom of the pool. I was underwater when the buzzer went off to announce the waves so I didn’t hear it, and underwater again when the waves started.

Panic froze me as I was pushed around by the false current. I became trapped against a V in the wall and under a floaty mat filled with teenagers, chlorine stung my eyes.

I couldn’t breathe.

My lungs burned and my brain screamed for air. I was literally about to drown in a God Damn wave pool. (Shitty, eh?)

Luckily my sister (who, despite the fact that I was a jerk, was keeping an eye out for me) found me. She flipped the youth-filled water throne, dragged my sputtering self to the surface and then onto the concrete side of the pool.

I lay directly at the feet of a stunned lifeguard, coughing and gasping. The lifeguard, who hadn’t been guarding life at all, was caught in the act of chatting up a hot girl in a bikini instead of doing his job. The entire facility froze and watched as my twelve year old sister gestured wildly to me, curled up in the fetal position, and tore him a new one, lecturing him as his face drained of colour.

It was epic.

My sister was (is) epic.

Even now, I still hate pools. I tell people it’s because I don’t like the idea of swimming in other people’s urine (true) but the real reason is that I flash back to almost drowning. Give me oceans, give me lakes, heck, I’ve even swum in rivers, but keep me the frak away from pools.

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