I am not a pool person. Never have been one.
Maybe it's because I didn't learn to swim until I was in my 20s. Growing up in a small, landlocked Kentucky town doesn't exactly turn you into a water baby.
Now I think it has more to do with vanity. When I get invited to a pool party and I cringe, I think maybe it's because my body, like the rest of me, is no longer 20, and the annual "try on the swimsuit and get ready for the pool" ritual has turned into the self-worth equivalent of having my toenails ripped off with tweezers.
Nothing like that moment when you put on the suit, turn your back to the mirror and look over your shoulder. Nothing like the involuntary "OH, MY GOD!" that follows when you see the effect one more year of gravity has had on your body.
Not.Don't misunderstand. I like water. I love the energy of water. I have a fountain in my bedroom. I like strolling down riverwalks by the running water.
I love to sit beside water. When I go to the beach I sit in the surf for hours and catch seashells like a little kid. But I don't go out into the ocean. When I go in up to my knees and feel the undertow pulling at me I get this eerie feeling that "it wants me," and I retreat to the safety of the "feet-wet" edge.
This Disney pool is awesome, don't you think? But still...if I were there, I'd be more likely to sip a drink out of a coconut, while sitting in the shade of an umbrella, than to get in the water.
There is one exception to this rule. A water connection which I cannot resist. Never could resist it. Probably never will.
A couple of weeks ago we were invited to a friend's house for a gathering. They have a pool. It's not a fancy in-ground pool. It's not even a rigid, above-ground pool. It's a giant, inflatable pool, kind of like the one on the left. Four-and-a-half-feet deep, and probably 15 feet across, they bought it at a discount store for under $200. And can I just say, it's WAY more than $200 worth of fun.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I usually beg off of invitations to pool-centric events. But I REALLY wanted to be with these people. So I spent the stupid amount of time required for careful shaving and exfoliating and buffing and polishing, and I showed up. I showed up in shorts and a tank top. With my swimsuit and towel in a bag. Which I purposely left in the car. I had no plans to get wet at this party.
Usually, this works. I can usually get by with a "I just don't feel like getting in," excuse.
Let's get real here. It was 98 degrees in the shade. And humid. I dipped my fingers into the perfect water and I was a goner. Bag out of car. Quick change in the bathroom, and into the pool.
And that's when I saw it. Floating right there in front of me.
Yeah, the water was cool and wonderful. Yes, they had floaties galore. But they had something else in that pool, which I hadn't anticipated.
They had water guns.
High-power water guns.
I am a reasonably sane person. But put a water gun in my hands, and I turn into a monster. I cannot explain this. But it has been this way since I was born.
When I was a little kid, I had water pistols. Squirt guns, they were called then. And "squirt" is about all they would do. They cost about two dollars each then. The trigger always leaked. The little stopper that held the water in was attached to the pistol by a puny little plastic Y-shaped thingy, poked into the water-fill hole. The Y-thingy broke off about the third time you filled up the gun (which you had to do WAY too often for real combat) which meant that in the trenches, you always lost your water fill cover, rendering your weapon nearly useless. And it took about 30 pounds of force to the trigger to pump that sucker. I built up some serious finger muscles, lemme tell ya.
By the time I was in high school, the need for heavy water-munitions was clear, but the technology...it had not caught up. We had a ritual at our school. The day before graduation, AFTER the final grades had already been turned in and you could NOT fail for any reason, the seniors would bring water guns to school. Okay, the truth is that the senior BOYS would bring water guns to school. But that little factoid went right by me.
I was the first--and the lone--female in the vo-ag program at my high school. Yup. Me and 140 boys, and I'd endured that torture for four long years. By that time I'd built up a reasonably thick skin, a complete loss of sensitivity to being the only female in a room full of men, and by the time the last day of senior year rolled around, I was primed. I'd been the good little girl for four freakin' years, and I'm not sure I realized how much pent-up frustration I had. What I did realize was that a stinkin' little squirt gun was not gonna cut it. I needed serious firepower. Firepower that did not, as yet, exist.
I dumped out my mom's bottle of dishwashing liquid into a quart jar and I had my weapon.
But I swear, I never planned to attack the teacher.
Mr. Grant had taught me hard-core parliamentary procedures. He'd done me the favor of letting me fight my own battles when I'd dug in my heels and gone toe-to-toe with the guys who were giving me hell. He'd forced me to kick ass and take names for myself, without having to run to anybody else to get it done. That's a lesson that's served me well ever since. He'd taught me to weld, for cryin' out loud.
And on the last day of school he came armed with a puny little squirt gun he'd confiscated from another student. Big mistake.
I hid behind the door and waited. He came around the corner from the shop, armed with his weenie weapon, and became a casualty.
The good little girl of Small-Town Kentucky High School died that day, in an erruption of spewing water and a loud Ppppffffflllllllllltttttttttttttt sound that could only be compared to a Godzilla fart. I emptied that Joy bottle all over Mr. Grant. He stood there, stunned, mouth hanging open. All the guys stopped and stared. And there, in that moment, I understood the addictive quality of superior firepower.
Weapons technology has come a long way since then.
Check out this SuperSoaker. This thing shoots a stream of water 50 feet. Where was this when I was a kid?
Nowadays water guns come in all kinds of configurations and color schemes. This one looks like some kind of Klingon space blaster.
This one, below, is the equivalent of a double-barreled mini-gun. It even has it's own bi-pod to hold up the front end. This thing makes me feel like I grew up in the stone age of water fights. Where was this technology when I needed it?
To add a little drama to the fight, this one, on the left, fires water-soaked foam pellets.
This one, below, might be the ultimate weapon. This thing attaches to a hose so it never runs out of ammo. Check out the long-range scope on this water cannon.
This tricycle-style armored vehicle has built-in water canons and a reservoir of spare ammo on the back.
And when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan and the enemy is gaining ground, you can call in artillery if you have this water balloon mortar launcher.
They did NOT have SuperSoakers in that pool at my friends' house two weeks ago, but they did have three serious pump-action water machine pistols. The host of the party walked by to adjust the settings on the pool pumps, and it was not possible to resist. He was six-feet, four inches of bare-chested male target. I looked at the other lady in the pool with me, she looked at me, and we each grabbed a weapon.
He was a sitting duck, out in the open, unprotected, until my husband yelled, "Over the side! Over the side!" (Wouldn't you know, the division of allegiance would fall straight down gender-based lines?) He rolled over the side of the pool and grabbed the remaining weapon.
That's another cool advance in technology, y'all. These babies FLOAT! Even full of water, these blasters float!
I cannot explain what, precisely, happens to normal adults when you put water guns into their hands, but some force takes over. Hand an adult a water gun, and that adult turns into a kid again. Who among us doesn't need a few minutes of pure, unadulterated, blow-out fun?
There we were. Two untrained women in an inflatable pool, armed to the teeth and hiding behind a dinosaur floatie, holding off one former-special-ops soldier. He was expert at fire, duck and cover. We were experts at screaming and giggling. We did have the advantage of a partnership. I could lay cover fire while she reloaded, and vice-versa.
I knew, eventually, outgunned as he was, he'd have to make a bold move. He'd dive and swim underwater. Sure enough, that's what he did. Came up right in front of us and it was over. We were toast.
Clearly, I need more training.
Even so, I grinned for about threee days just from that few minutes of crazy fun.
This little guy on the left might have a bit more gun than he can handle, ya think?
So what about you?
What's your favorite hot-weather activity?
Are you a "pool person?"
Do you like to play in the water? Or are you more of a beach chair, umbrella-drink type?
What does it take to coax you into the water? Are you ready and willing to jump in? Will the heat of summer do it? Or does it take more incentive than that?
Have you ever been in a water fight? Did you like it?
Obviously, I've never outgrown my need for superior firepower. Did you have water pistols as a kid?
Is it just me? What is it about a water gun that brings out the kid in a normal, serious adult?