July 29, 2018

Public Swimming Notes

I am at the public swimming pool.  There are parents here with their children.  These parents, some of them are dressed like children themselves.  It is like there are larger children watching over the smaller ones, except the large children have stretch marks.  A woman rubs sunscreen over her pale pierced belly.  A man is sleeping in a fetal position on a plastic chaise lounge, his knee resting over the armrest.
There are men with more hair on their backs than on their heads.  Generally, the women are more attractive than the men; in that they have made an effort of sorts.  The men, not so much.
Children are everywhere screaming, riding the foam noodle, beating each other with foam paddle boards, firing water cannons at strangers.  The lifeguard announces that if anyone is parked in the ballpark parking lot, they will be towed after 4pm.  It is already 4 pm, so panic ensues.  Immediately five men line up in front of the lifeguard to go over their own personal situations, explaining where their exact parking space was and questioning if the announcement still affected them.  No one had listened to the more general message other than to register the "what's that?"  Something about parking and towing.  Hey, am I getting towed? The men want a personal ruling on their particular situation.  
It is interesting how the women who wear the skinny bikinis with the slim bottoms, you know, the ones where half their ass is pouring out of the bottom, are constantly readjusting, hitching up and pulling down, daring the small piece of clothing to cover more space than it is physically designed to cover.  Yeah, they want to show off their cute little butts, but not that much.  Most men are sporting the long shorts favored by the California skate punks.  The trunks match their backwards ball caps.  Tattoo R Us are here with a stand, offering permanent tattoos to children.  Parents are lining up to get their kids tattooed.  You must be under this height to qualify.
There are a few short people with signs who are protesting this unfair discrimination.  The preeminent sound in the air is screaming.  As a parent of a child who is already grown up, I wonder if muzzles would have any effect.  I can already hear the protests against the muzzling of children in public spaces.  To muzzle or leave unattended in the car in this abnormal heat.  
A young Chinese man is wearing skintight long shorts with noticable bulge as he exits the water.  He tries to adjust his suit, and failing this, proceeds to do a few pushups in the shallow end of the kiddie pool.  As I look down to write this, and then look up, he has vanished into thin air.
Another man is jumping on one leg, while shaking his head to the sides, to release the water in his ears.  A young toddler is dressed in a full body suit with sun bonnet.  Obviously, the mother is terrified of the sun.  If there was any way to further cover her child, she would be first in line.  
It is always interesting to watch the new arrivals to the pool, after you have staked out your space.   They look around in vain for a space, then try to change out of their summer clothes, to reveal the bathing suit beneath.  Undressing in public has its own painful shame, featuring the one-legged dance to reinforce modesty while asserting the social fears of judgement.  Is this what they look like at home?
After about an hour in the sun, with a few dips into the cool shallow wading pool to cool down, we pack up to go home.  The last challenge is deciding which entrance to the changing rooms to take.  There are no signs above the doors, but if you look in, you see WOMEN.  Ok, I don't go in there.  Next entrance says MEN with smaller type that states Trans People Welcome.  Which is ok with me.  But as I walk down the aisle, I see women and men and children, and the whole segregation of the sexes that I have grown up with has descended into anarchy, where anything goes.  Basically, people dry off their wet clothes, putting their dry clothes over the wet ones, as this is the new compromise.
At the entrance, I wait for my wife who has found some kind of place for a shower.  I wait at the entrance, looking at the signs for fees.   Adults are $6.40, but if you buy a pass of 10 tickets, it is $48.00, but if you come with people who you can dentify as your "Family", the admission is $3.70 each.  Clearly, there were gaps in my education.  Math used to be more straightforward.  A man at the counter is asking about the towing.  Yes, cars are towed after 4 pm if you are parked in the ballpark parking.  Yeah, that is where I am.  I say, it is 4:30, so you may want to get out there soon.
Later at dinner, we discuss a friend who teaches creative writing at the University.  They have students who bring their translator to the meetings with the professor.  This is an English creative writing course.  One would think that English was a prerequisite.  
As I prepare the perfect gin and tonic, sweating in my apartment, looking at the dogs spread out on the cool laminate floor, I ponder the dearth of creative math classes that we so clearly need to navigate  this new world.  


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