As some of you know, the first month of this summer was full of cultural exploration in France. (See previous 30 posts.) The next two were full of work at the pool. There are many things I love about the pool: Being tan, my coworkers, being tan, going swimming, and being tan. While these are all wonderful things, my absolute favorite things occur when I am working the slide at Harmon Pool. There are two rotations dealing with the slide: the bottom and the top. That means forty minutes of combined slide time! While it may all sound like giggles and sunscreen, there are a few difficulties to this part of the job, namely getting splashed (bottom) and battling the occasional wasp with a flip-flop (top). Believe me, braving these perils is worth it!
Perched on top of 4.5 flights of stairs, the station at the top of the slide has amazing views of Kearney. It is also a prime spot to look for lightning, every lifeguard‘s favorite activity. (After every bolt of lightning, the pool must be cleared for 20 minutes.) Sometimes it can be pretty slow up there, So I like to practice what I call my “winning smile”. Who doesn’t utilize a winning smile in their everyday lives? Up in the clouds, among the wasps and the children, I am working to perfect mine. How exactly do I do this? I look straight ahead for the all-clear signal. Then, I whip my head to the right and make eye contact with the next patron in line. I crack my winning smile and speak to them in my best customer service voice- “Go ahead!”. If I feel that phrase is losing its gusto, I sometimes switch it up by saying “You can go!” or “OK!”. The winning smile is useful on all types of swimmers. I choose to believe that it comforts scared kids and reassures parents of their child’s ability to safely navigate the 3 foot water at the bottom. I truly believe my winning smile has reached its zenith. So next time you see me, go ahead and ask me to demonstrate. I’ll try not to dazzle you too much. Chances are, I will strain my neck due to all the flipping!
At the bottom of the slide, swimmers tend to chat with the lifeguard on duty. Little kids love to do this, especially after a lifeguard catches them. I have heard many interesting comments, and often have responses for them that until now have remained in my head. Examples:
- “Is your watch waterproof?”. Yes, it is. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a waterproof watch.
- “I almost flew out!”. No, you didn’t. Trust me on this one.
- “Can you guys put in an elevator?” Sure thing, I’ll ask my manager straight away.
- “HI, I LOVE THE SLIDE MY NAME IS BLAH BLAH I AM HERE WITH MY GRANDPARENTS THEY ARE OVER THERE I GO TO BLAH BLAH SCHOOL AND I LIKE BLAH BLAH…” Could you give me your Social Security Number as well?
- “Can I wear your sunglasses?”. No. I prefer them on my face.
- And my personal favorite: “Do you have any sons or daughters?”. Needless to say, I made sure and wore concealer under my eyes the next day.
However much I roll my eyes (or make them appear younger), nothing is more awesome than seeing a little kid laugh and smile when they come down the slide. I remember how much I loved the Harmon Hurricane when I was younger. It is simply the best water slide in Kearney, Nebraska. (And yes, it also happens to be the only one.)