I was at the local pool last Monday with my kids and a friend of mind and her kids. It was officially the first non-school day of summer, and it was hot and dry, a perfect day to go swimming. I was sitting with my daughter, Adrienne, and my friend Gina in the kiddie pool. I was NOT wearing my chartreuse swimming suit, thank you very much! We were watching the kids play and having a wonderful time in the sun. It was idyllic, one of those days you wonder how you'll ever do without when it's over.
Our conversation was interrupted several times by the shrill scream of a whistle and then Adrienne's play-by-play of what was going on. She's a lifeguard, and although she wasn't working at the time, she was sharply attuned to what was going on with the other life guards--not just the hot ones. "There goes a save," she told us. "Look at how little that kid is that she's dragging out of the water. Did you see how fast she dove in to save?"
Of course we hadn't noticed how fast. We were still in mid-conversation when the whistle blew. And we weren't trained to know if it was a "save" whistle blow or if it was just the kind of whistle that earns a, "Hey, don't run on deck!" scolding from the lifeguard.
While we were lazing around in the water, there were two more saves, all children under the age of 2. "Again?" we said, aghast that so many parents we leaving their children to be "saved" by the lifeguard. "Where are these children's parents?" we demanded of each other.
While we sat sun bathing, talking and hoping for no more saves, the loudspeaker came on, warning us all to clear the pool. We asked Adrienne what was going on. "Poop or blood or throwup in the pool," she answered, like that was the most common of occurences.
"Gross!" I said. "Who has to clean it up?"
"The guard who is closest," she told us.
"Good thing you're not on duty right now, " I said.
After the "matter" was cleared from the pool, we got back in to resume our conversation. Again the loudspeaker came on--CLEAR THE POOL!
"Now what?" we asked Adrienne.
"More poop or blood," she told us.
"Good grief, haven't these parents ever heard of swim diapers?" Gina asked, incredulous.
That night Adrienne had to work a shift at the pool. She came home at 10 pm with blood all over her guard shirt.
"Is that your blood?" I asked nervously.
"No, it's from an 18-month old who was running and tripped on the cement and cut himself up," she reported. "I picked him up to carry him in so we could page his mom. She was no where to be found for the longest time."
"I can't believe all this happened today, " I said.
"That wasn't the worst of it. During the whole day there were SEVEN saves, two pool evacuations for cleaning, and a break-in in the locker room."
What a way to start the first official day of summer.