As a kid, going to the pool, our art challenge prompt for today, was a mixed experience for me. I was terribly shy about my chubby little body and didn’t like having to don only swim trunks for the occasion. I lacked the trim athleticism of most of the other kids at the time and it made me feel a bit out of place. But, once I was in the pool, submersed in water up to my neck, I felt a bit more comfortable and ended up enjoying myself. While the other kids held swimming racing and kept climbing out to dive in again, I happily bobbed along by myself in my own little quiet corner of the pool. With a pair of swim goggles, I could go underwater to explore, but there wasn’t ever much to see, save a bunch of legs or the occasional drain. Mostly, I just liked to take the moment to dream and imagine things I might do once I got back home again. This kept me from getting too terribly bored for a time, but I was really ready to go the moment my mother returned to pick me up again.
In truth, being in a pool has never really made sense to me. There’s no sand, no sound of the ocean, or ducks swimming by on a lake. It’s really just about getting wet and bathing with a crowd of other people. I’m not morally opposed to the notion, but I’ve never been able to understand what’s so fun about it. I’ve always thought of bathing as a relatively private act, so this is probably why I ended up finding a spot in the pool to be by myself. I’m not a fan of public toilets either, for roughly the same reasons. In reality, I don’t like crowds in general so I think I was destined to never really enjoy public pools. Combined with the sharp smell of chlorine that burned my nose each time, I often just found myself wishing I weren’t trapped in a big wet box of strangers. I wanted to be back home where I had a thousand options of fun things to do next. My attention span, as it turns out, was equally a drawback to my enjoyment.
When I got older, I would end up being invited to pool parties, which are just regular parties hosted by someone who happens to have a pool in their backyard. These were a blast, because I could enjoy them poolside with a glass of wine. The pool part was always optional, and most of the crowd simply stayed at the edges chatting while sipping their drinks. And I could do my usual version of mingling which involves finding just one other person and having a lovely private conversation off to the side about life and other important things. But like most things in my childhood, even when I didn’t truly enjoy them, they come with a host of fond memories. Moments that were like a rite of passage, a thing all kids did on that journey to becoming an adult where you finally got to make your own decisions. So, you even if you never find me splashing about in a pool these days, I still have to admit that when I look back, I’m glad I had the experience of swimming with friends.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham: Turqouise; Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
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