My hotel pool is closing to local swimmers now that summer is on its way. On my second to last trip to the pool, a healthy, ten-year old girl kept cannon balling behind me as I attempted to do laps. The fall out was extreme and the waves prevented me from swimming for a full three minutes. I also found it highly startling. She would then swim perpendicular to my pool length laps. Her mother was close by and never said a word. I looked at the mother and informed her of my PTSD. “Oh is she bothering you?” she asked demurely…
I know when my number is up. I decided that although I never miss a swim, perhaps it would not serve me well to go to the pool on the next and very last day of the season. That is what I decided when my swimming friend called and asked if I ‘d like to join her at the pool for the last time. Well, safety in numbers I thought and I agreed. I was happy to have this cheerful last swim. I arrived and my friend was already in the water and no children in sight. Sigh of relief.
Over the season, I developed several defensive maneuvers to keep obnoxious children and their parents at bay, such as positioning myself as near to the parents as possible so that they get splashed too; using my technique of treading water in place of lap swimming to stay out of the line of fire; praying out loud; looking a child in the eye while pointing out that I am old enough to be their grandmother; blocking out noise by humming or chanting loudly; swimming in a very slapping, splashing manner (just like kids do); fake coughing like I am sick and might vomit; take a stance as though I might be peeing; not bothering to wear my modesty cover-up in case someone might be offended; taking a slow time in the single use bathroom in case a screaming child might have to use the toilet urgently (this one is totally ineffective because most children pee in the pool).
For next year, I think I’ll sharpen my cannon ball skills. That and a good Hail Mary may just save me.