Monday 4 August 2014

Drama at the Swimming Pool

My kids have been bugging me all summer to go to the public swimming pool at the end of our street.  It's a really nice outdoor pool with a little splash pad in a corner of the shallow end for the babies and plenty of pool toys: noodles, beach balls, colourful rings and the like.  I've been waiting for the perfect day to take them but it's been a cold and rainy summer this year.

Well, today was that day.

When we got there Frack managed to find us a ball and the boys started tossing the ball back and forth over the buoy rope that separates the deep end from the shallow end (Frack's not allowed in the deep end, not even with me).  I liked this game because it was the nicest they have played together for the longest stretch of time so far this summer.

I didn't much like getting hit in the face the odd time by one of these balls (who would?) but it was never a big deal.  It was always by accident and the kids were always quick to apologize.  Hey, what're you gonna do?  You're at a public pool with lots of kids.  Balls go flying (snert), people sometimes get hit.  That's why it's a good thing these beach balls weigh next to nothing and it doesn't hurt at all.

So I thought it was very interesting when one time Frick failed to catch the ball, it landed a few feet away from an older woman swimming and, unlike every other person there who would have simply passed the ball back to him, angrily grabbed the ball and hurled it out of the pool.

Overreact much?

Frick climbed out of the pool to get it and gave me a bewildered "what the hell is her problem?" look.  I just shrugged my shoulders back at him and we went back to playing.

I've been observing people for a lot of years, and I have developed a pretty keen eye for crazy.  My gut was telling me to keep an eye on this woman because it would be only a matter of time before she delivered some quality WTF behaviour.  And deliver she did....

We spent another 15 minutes tossing the ball back and forth when Frack, trying to throw the ball as high and far as possible (as 6-year-olds do), unintentionally hit her square in the face as she was floating on her back.  Of all the people he could have hit, of course it had to be her.

I have to confess: being the awful and terrible person that I am, my knee-jerk reaction to this was to laugh.  I know.  I am going to hell.  I covered that shit up quickly though, so as to attempt to be a good role model for the kids and turned to Frack to tell him to be more careful when throwing the ball.

Then I turned to look over at the deep end where Frick and the lady were to make sure she was okay, and this is what I saw:

This woman was angrily grabbing Frick with one hand, twisting his arm in an unnatural direction, and holding the ball up out of his reach with the other while yelling at him.

Here is a list of possible reactions she could have had with which I would be totally okay:

-yelling at Frick (I'll disagree with the necessity of this, but I get it.  You're irritated and not very well-adjusted and you just got hit the in the face with a ball.  This at least has the advantage of not involving a physical altercation.)

-yelling at Frack who, after all, was the one who threw the ball.  (But if you have to get that angry at some strange 6-year-old kid for what was obviously an accident, then you need to step back and re-evaluate the situation.)

-complaining to the lifeguard (What a sane person would do)

-complaining to me (Also what a sane person would do)

Or you know, rub your face a little, maybe glare at the kid a little, and then move on with your life.  What most people would do.  I know this because I watched several other people get hit in the face with these balls (snert) and that's exactly what they did.  They didn't even find the glaring part necessary.  I guess because they realize that they are at an open swim at a public pool where about a hundred kids are splashing and throwing balls around and have adjusted their expectations accordingly.

I am definitely NOT OKAY with anyone man-handling (woman-handling?) my son for any reason whatsoever.


I am not easily ignored.  I was in drama for years, bitches.  There they teach you how to PROJECT.  From the DIAPHRAGM.  Everyone around us had stopped what they were doing to stare, but this woman kept going as if she didn't hear me at all.  I don't know for sure how long the altercation took.  All I can say is that I screamed at her to let go of my son half a dozen times before she finally did.

Looking back I have no idea why I didn't shout for help.  I totally should have.  It's just that no one has ever been able to ignore my screaming-from-the-diaphragm-mama-banshee voice before. When I looked at the lifeguard she just looked really confused like she had only just now noticed what was happening.

Crazy "It's MY ball now!" Lady swam over to the lifeguard to complain, while Frick swam over to me.

"I tried to apologize to her but she just grabbed me and kept yelling at me!"

He said his arm hurt but she didn't leave any marks on him and he was otherwise okay.  As soon as I knew he was okay I marched the three of us over to the lifeguard to do some complaining of my own.  At first the look on her face said "That lady told me what your son did to her".   But by the time I was finished talking she just looked horrified and apologized profusely.

Next she called over the other lifeguard who was older and more intimidating looking than her.  About a minute later he is talking to Crazy "I have no sense of boundaries" Lady.

"Ma'am?  I'm going to need you to get out of the pool."

Crazy Lady sashayed out of the pool with her head held high and her nose in the air.  Seriously.  I don't throw around the word "sashay" lightly.

I'm trying to get the boys to play a different game that doesn't involve balls (snert) when I notice that she is packing up her things.

"I think they're kicking her out!" laughs Frick.

He's right because now she is sashaying herself out the exit.

"Shh!" I tell him.  "Don't laugh.  Not right now anyway.  When we get home you can laugh all you like.  But it's not nice to look too happy about this."

"But you are happy about it, right Mommy?"

"Yes I am.  I am very happy about it."

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