People do odd things in pools. I have worked as a lifeguard for the past seven years. Throughout those years, I worked steadily at four different pools. Sometimes, people forget that I am an actual person and that they shouldn’t do things in front of other people, or at all for that matter.
My first job as a lifeguard was the summer after my freshman year in high school. I worked at a local, privately owned swim club. I anticipated sitting in the high metal chair, getting a fabulous tan, and enjoying my summer by the pool. What ensued was a summer of constantly screaming, “walk,” “stop” and “don’t hit him/her with your noodle.” That summer I learned how to clean bathrooms with a hose, how to find tiny pieces of trash in the ground, and how to play the card game Rummy.
That first summer was tame. The second summer, the fun began. The swim club had three different pools to choose from. Pool number three, (we were as creative as Cabrini College with names, hence Cabrini’s “New Residence Hall”) was constantly inhabited by little people.
On one particularly sunny day, I was guarding pool three by myself.
During my constant scanning of the pool and the surrounding areas, I noticed a girl around the age of 10 wearing a particularly odd bathing suit. On closer inspection, I was astonished to realize that the girl was naked. There were 30 other swimmers in the pool. Thankfully, they were all wearing their bathing suits. Luckily for me, the girls’ mother realized that her child was naked before I had to settle the situation. She was taken out of the pool and quickly clothed.
On another occasion, a family decided that it would be a good idea to use the rubber rug by the pool as a flotation device. When I tried to explain to them that the rug is needed so that people do not slip around the pool, I realized that they could not speak English, and could therefore, not understand me.
Communicating through hand gestures is not something that I am articulate in. I lost that battle.
At one of the indoor pools that I worked at, swimmers basically stuck to lap swimming. Watching people swim back and forth for hours becomes very monotonous. A homosexual couple that swam would always break up the routine. They would swim in side-by-side lanes. Their breathing was synchronized so that they could smile at each other when they would come up for air. Sometimes, they would exchange a peck during a rest at the end of the lane.
I’ve had my fair share of fun with various animals, too. I’ve had to pull everything from a turtle, to a mouse to a frog out of the pool. The best was this summer. At least three dead frogs would inhibit my pool every day. That was not something that I looked forward to in the mornings.
All in all, I enjoy lifeguarding. It’s a job that can become routine. Eccentric swimmers, however, add a nice spice of variety to my current profession.