We just got back from a trip to the pool, and I’m proud to say we’ve finally made peace with the wardens who run the place. If you’ve ever been to a New York City public pool, in particular, the Mulally Park Pool in the South Bronx, you will know what I mean. This ain’t no country club, or neighborhood pool, or public pool in any other city, for that matter. My mom came to visit and was contemplating going to the pool with us. “Is the water warm? I don’t like cold pools.” The water is not warm, although after a couple hot days it isn’t bad. But beyond the water temperature, other items might throw you off: the police barricades blocking off the entrance to the kiddie pool, and the pool attendant who is inevitably having this conversation on her cell phone: “Oh NOOO I DIDN’T STAY UP ALL NIGHT LAST NIGHT CALLING YOU for you to tell me you went to work with no keys and EXPECT ME TO BRING THEM TO YOU while you DAMN WELL KNOW I’M AT WORK.” Let’s just say the professionalism is high.
There are also about 67 random rules posted someplace K-Pants and I have yet to find. But the wardens are happy to bring them up every time. “Where is your lock? You MUST have a lock.” I show them the lock. “And your swimsuit?” I show them my swimsuit top. “Is it a two-piece? Because I’m going to need to see the bottom.” Really? What kind of issues in the past have made this necessary? Oops! I forgot to put on the bottom. That’s cool, right? So I show them my swimsuit bottom. “What about the baby? I need to see his swimmy diaper.” I pull down K-Pants’s suit. “And the suit. It needs a liner. I am going to NEED to see the liner.”
At the beginning of the summer, I was ready for a new rule each time. “And the baby needs to have his feet wrapped in packing tape. I am going to NEED to see the packing tape.” One time I brought a water bottle. “No water bottles on the pool deck.” But I brought one to the Central Park Pool. They’re allowed there. “This is not the Central Park Pool.” Right. You may rightly imagine that I have written letters of complaint and also spoken with the manager. So for a while I imagined they would see me coming and warn the others: “Here comes that bitch again. Is that brown baby even hers?”
But it turns out we’re all cool. It was too much effort to fight them. And I guess if you come enough, they start to like you. Plus, I have the routine down. In fact, they don’t even check for the swimsuit liner anymore. They just assume we have it. That’s rewarding customer loyalty if I ever saw it.
And we LOVE this pool. You can see Yankee Stadium looming nearby, and the elevated 4 train passes by every 10 minutes, which K-Pants enjoys. There are trees, and the water is refreshing. Plus, we always find people to play with, and they know us. “You’re leaving so soon?” they asked this morning. Yup. But we’ll be back!