Sunday, August 12, 2012

The dangers of swimming in natural waters...

       As I was doing like 100 laps around my above-ground home swimming pool I was reminded of the poor Shamus. The killer whales that should be roaming oceans, yet they survive in small (to them) pools for the pleasure of people, swimming in laps. (Although, note, my laps are gentle, they do not involve jumping high for a fish, instead I more resemble the gentle Caribbean manatee, who enjoys the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico.)  At least I was doing 100 gentle laps – right!  As I thought of swimming pools, something my mom would never let us build in our back yard and I was reminded of the swimming pools and spots of my past.

        There were two naturally fed pools that I have swam in that were the subject of nightmares as a child and continue to haunt me on certain nights.
1)  The Fleishhacker Pool at the San Francisco Zoo.  This pool is full of salt water from the Bay. I am sure it was filtered and whatever, but in my dream there are big grates on the sides of the pool and while I am swimming, the grates open and the devils that lurk beneath the dark waters of the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean swim into the pool to partake of the pool guests.

2)  Lake Winnepesaukah in Rossville, Georgia. I only went there a couple of times as a smaller child and whether my memories are true or not, they add to my nightmares.  There is a log flume there that my cousins, Billy and Jerry, called the tunnel of love. They told me that there were cotton mouths in the water and that lovers have died in the tunnel of love of snake bite. To make it worse I think they had a pool that had lake water in it, which again was full of nasty lake creatures, including cottonmouths.

3) Since I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area I had the luxury of being able to swim in the Pacific Ocean (home of the aforesaid Shamu (Orca) whale, killer sharks and deadly purple man-o-war jelly fish.  Sometimes the beaches would be purple with all the jelly fish and you could not enjoy yourself there. Plus the water was freezing and giant waves beat against rocks! My other natural swimming choices, the Suisun Bay that we locals called “the river”.  This wonderful piece of water was one of those where you could dip a finger in it and come back with a bone.  Yikes!  At one time a dolphin became internationally famous as he swam from the ocean through the bays and into the Sacramento River.  Speaking of the Sac River…ah the summers at the river, they were fun, if you didn’t think about what the hell was lurking in there! One summer there was a hippo loose in the river.  Ever seen a hippo in the water.  Go to the San Francisco Zoo to find out why you do not want to swim with a hippo.
4)      The Pittsburg High School pool. (That is not it in the picture below.) Ah, as last a pool.  I spent every summer day there that I could for 25 cents per day and four mile walk from my home (each way). No natural enemies in there, only Coach Lee.  He loved to make comments about your splashes into the pool after a jump from the high dive.  Thanks to Coach Lee, who called me a whale at 10 years old (I was not fat, I just made a big splash).  Coach was not thin by the way. Anyway, that tag has stuck in my mind forever and I may have stopped jumping off the high dive after that!
 5)     Lake Anza, was a wondeful place to swim on a hot summer. Located in the Oakland/Berkeley hills, wonderful. Except when you can't make it out to the floating dock and almost drown.

6)      Now I live on the west coast of the East Coast, in the Tampa Bay area, again surrounded by natural waters, lovely bathwater temperature waters, full of icky looking fish, sharks, rays, jelly fish, etc. And don’t forget all the hot coeds that flock to our warm white sugar sand beaches in tiny bikinis.

So I thank God for my clean little pool, where I can swim 100 or more laps, around and around, I can put my face in the water, assured that no one has peed in it, no dangerous creatures would even want to be in that pool and if there were, I could see them, and I can get in and out of it 100 times or more a day if I want without anyone yelling at me to “get in or stay out”. There are no grates to let in scary water creatures, no one to call me a whale if I chose to make a splash or two, and no one to be concerned that I don’t have a bikini body.  I love my little pool.

Dream Pool below