The public outdoor pools closed for the year yesterday in our area and, with that sad and impossibly swift seasonal ending, came the realization that my husband Vince and I had not gone down the water slide across the street from our house even one time this summer.
Now, you might point out that our age should offer some foregiveness for such a lapse, but I would argue just the opposite. The older we get, the more we understand that our opportunities to careen down a water slide with our arms in the air and our diginity tucked away in the back of the closet where our sensible shoes hide, become infinitely more precious.
So, we hauled out our swimming gear and headed right over.
I raced a little guy I didn’t know up the stairs to the slide, which cracked us both up.
“I was asking myself, ‘Is she racing me?'” he said. “And then I said, ‘I think she is!”
“I was racing you, because I couldn’t help myself when I heard you coming up behind me,” I said. “But I’m going to let you go down first.”
“What slide are you going on?” he asked.
“The blue one. I’m afraid of the green one.”
“You don’t have to be afraid. It’s not too fast,” he said, then he took off down the green slide like someone had slingshotted him out of a carnival ride.
I settled myself into the slower, open-topped blue slide and enjoyed a more leisurely run that offered exhilaration without that whole embarrassing need to readjust my swimwear I recalled from previous years on that ferocious green monster.
After I landed, I watched Vince zoom down the blue slide with a big ole grin on his face and I clapped.
He headed right back up and I went to get my phone to take a couple of pictures. Then, I went down the blue slide again.
The third time I went up those stairs, I found myself standing next to my young friend again.
“You should try the green slide,” he said.
I looked over at the lifeguard.
“Is there any way to go down the green slide and keep my dignity intact?”
“You’ll be fine,” he said and may have rolled his eyes behind his shades.
“You go first,” I said to my new young friend, and down he went, the little marlin.
I took a minute to make my plan — head up, legs braced on each side to control my speed, arms wide for balance. I’ve got this.
Then, I shot forward, unable to accomplish any of that. I careened with my hands over my face to keep my contacts in my eyes and prayed for a smooth landing or at least for every single eyeball in that pool to be focused elsewhere should I hurtle out of the shoot ahead of my swimsuit’s necessary parts.
It took me a second or two to get my bearings once I’d skidded to a halt. I looked up, wiped my eyes dry, and saw my loyal husband standing there.
“You came down too fast,” he said. “I didn’t get a picture.”
God bless him!
Yesterday may have been the last day of the outdoor pool season, but it wasn’t the last day of summer. We have 29 more days until the official end of summer, which means we need to step up our campfire building, sandcastle making, bike riding, picnic taking, marshmallow toasting, sundae eating, river floating and all around hootenannying.