Indoor Pool Swimming Lessons, Fall and Winter Edition:
— Get your rain boots and coats and hats on, children, we’re going to the pool for lessons! Yes, it is dark outside and it feels like bedtime, but that’s just because it’s 5:00 pm in November. In the pool it will be warm and you will learn to swim.
— It’s important to learn to swim. Even in the winter. Stop crying. It is not that cold outside. It’s just wet! You will be wet in the pool anyway, right?
— The pool is in a building the size of several airplane hangars strapped together. It is hot and clammy in the change rooms and steamy in the pool area. The pool area is dark. Can’t they afford lights? It costs $20 for a family to go for a swim here.
— There are fifteen swimming classes going on in the teaching pool, all the lengths lanes are open, there are old folks in the hot tub, and diving lessons at the other end of the building. It looks like a cave and sounds like a canyon. I think there are things dripping from the ceiling. The ceiling seems very far away.
— Oh, the pool is COLD! Well, the air is warm. Go on now. Learn to swim.
— Here comes my twenty-five minutes to read a book! But there is nowhere to sit that isn’t damp because there have been lessons here for the past three hours straight. Damp damp damp dampness in my butt. I am sweating and damp and clammy.
— Why would your instructor dunk you in the pool and traumatize you for the next six weeks? How terrible.
— It’s 22 minutes past the hour; I must put away my book and grab the towels and meet the children at the edge of the teaching pool; run, run, run to get a change room, there are only ten rooms for sixty kids, what do you MEAN no running on the pool deck, RUN RUN RUN COME ON!
— Yes, those people *are* fighting over who was in line first. Yes, they *are* adults. Well.
— Peeling wet suits off children; trying to dry them while they aim the hand-held shower head at each others’ feet; getting the towels wet; working up a sweat because I am fully clothed in what is basically a sauna; listening to the children in other rooms scream and get screamed at.
— OF COURSE YOUR SOCKS WILL GET WET IF YOU STEP ON THE FLOOR IN THEM THAT IS WHY I PUT YOUR BOOT RIGHT THERE WHERE YOUR FOOT IS WHAT IS WRONG NEVERMIND
— (or, the other half of the time, not getting a change room, deciding *not* to wait 20 minutes in line, so getting dressed in the disabled peoples’ stall in the bathroom. Insert row of ‘don’t touch that, don’t put that there, get off the toilet, etc.’ here.)
— We are going home for dinner as soon as you’re dressed. Yes. I know you’re hungry. So get dressed.
— Holy crap it’s COLD outside. And still raining. We forgot your umbrella. Let’s go back and find it.
— No, I won’t buy you vending machine food. No vending machine food. No vending machine food. Come ON.
— Wash all the things because they were all dropped on the change room/bathroom floor, which was wet and covered in hair and god knows what else.
— Fail Preschool Level 1 and Preschool Level 1, respectively.
Outdoor Pool Swimming lessons, July Edition:
— You’re already wearing your swim trunks because it’s hot. What a lovely day. Let’s get in the car and go to the pool for swimming lessons!
— Arlo: Are we late? I don’t want to be late. I hope we’re not late. Me: We’re not late. Arlo: Oh good.
— Take off your t-shirt and shoes. Put on your goggles. Bye, have a good class.
— What a lovely, shady tree. I will sit under it and read a book.
— This pool is small, so they don’t cram as many kids in. About twenty kids, four teachers.
— The breeze blows back my hair. Some sun flits through the tree branches. All around me is the sound of children playing in the park, children splashing in the pool, instructors instructing. “Let me see your ‘scissors.’ Where do we put our ears?”
— I hear Eli’s voice above the others in his class. “I want to go FIRST and be the FISHIE IN THE MIDDLE.”
— Class is over already! The children are dry before they leave the pool deck. We move a few feet into the sun and put down a blanket, eat a picnic lunch, then the children go play in the playground.
— Do I care if they pass the level? I do not.
— (A little. I care a little. But not nearly as much because I haven’t gone to as much trouble! It’s all about me.)
Outdoor swimming lessons in the summer: Recommended.