Today, I am relaxing by the pool. It’s not my pool. It’s my uncle’s pool. He moved from this house about a year ago, but he still hasn’t sold it, for some reason, so my sister and I are taking full advantage of the pool this summer season.
The pool is a bit different from other backyard pools. It’s only about four feet deep, because he had a problem with it about 8 or 9 years ago and had to fill in the deep end. Sad, but at 4′, it’s still good for swimming laps and just hanging out. My sister has a small son, so ut’s good for him, too, since he can hang out without much fear of the dreaded “deep end”. It also has no drain in the bottom, which I like, because I, frankly, have always been scared of pool drains.
I should explain a bit of my pool fears.
When I was a little kid, like the age at which you would normally take you child for swimming lessons, we lived so far from a pool that lessons were not something we could do. When we moved to another place, closer to a pool, I had already gotten the fears that folks who cannot swim get when they have not yet learned how to swim.
My first swimming lesson experience was at the Cypress Creek Country Club. My parents were not Club members, but they gave lessons once a year to people in the community who wanted to take them, allowing us non-club lower-class members a chance to swim on their hallowed ground. So, my mom took me up there one summer, eager for me to learn to swim. It was important for me to learn, not only because I needed to be able to fit in but also because, with my Dad’s job, we were on lakes, rivers and ponds a lot. I needed to learn to swim.
I wanted to, badly. I had watched swimming contests with the Olympics on TV and thought that it showed great beauty and grace. I wanted to feel the weightlessness of being in the water. I just didn’t like the deep end. Jaws had come out the summer before, and I didn’t liket the way things sounded or looked underwater, in the murky deep end. This was my biggest problem.
The lady swim teacher was evil, or so my 8-year old brain told me. I remember me and a friend of mine lining up with the other kids, waiting for our instructions. Evil Teacher told us to jump in the deep end. My friend looked at me, and I looked at him, and the unspoken words between us said all I needed to hear.
Evil Teacher then told us that we had to jump in. She “promised” she would catch/help us, but there was no way my logical brain was going to fall for her story. My friend and I refused.
Evil Teacher called us stupid or something, and we ran for the clubhouse as quickly as our legs would take us. Who knows, but I swear I could hear ET right behind us, running forward to grab our swimsuits and drag us into her watery lair.
We ran to the clubhouse and told both our mothers that there was no way we were going back out there. My mother, incredulous to this fact, told me that I had to. So, I turned on the tears, which I had perfected into an art form, and she acquiesed.
To this day, I don’t believe my friend ever learned how to swim.
I eventually did, but it took time and a more-patient teacher. I also had a very good friend who swam like a fish, and I went to the pool with her and her mother every summer for many years. Once, I dove into the pool, so excited to be there, with my glasses on. They sank to the bottom.
Guess what they landed on. Yes, the drain.
I made my friend retrieve them for me. There was no way I was going down there. I had long hair. There was an urban legend about a long-haired girl getting caught in the drain. Well, that surely wasn’t going to be me.
Imagine my relief, when years later after my uncle renovated his pool, that I discovered he had no drain. It just doesn’t get much better.