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Swimming after Shabbos: nice, weird, nice!
I have always wished we were THAT family: you know, the one that leaps up the second Shabbos goes out to bond together over something wholesome and recreational?
Shmuli Boteach told me his family goes out to museums, art galleries, etc., the second Shabbos ends. That has really left a big impression on me (or maybe I just love an opportunity to name-drop!). For a while, we used to go skating after Shabbos, but eventually, the kvetching got me down and I just quit pushing.
The community centre where I take the little kids for swimming lessons has long offered Sunday-evening women-only swimming, but Sunday evenings are terrible for us. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed they also had it from 6:30-9:00 on Saturday evenings – not so terrible, especially as Shabbos gets earlier and earlier.
So I resolved to try it out tonight with the girls (one big, one little).
We didn’t get out of the house until after 8, and arrived at 8:15ish. A nondescript burly woman is hanging out in the lobby. I walk past her, but she intercepts us: “Are you here to go swimming?”
“Yes,” I tell her.
“Well, you need to pay.”
“Oh… I didn’t realize you were the person to pay.” (she’s just standing in the middle of the lobby, hanging out, talking to somebody) “Usually, they’re wearing the green [parks & rec] t-shirts.”
Me again: “How much is it?”
“Two dollars for adults, one dollar for children.”
“Well, there’s me, and one child, and I don’t know what SHE is.” (pointing to Elisheva) “She’s 15.” (no, she’s not, I’m just dumb)
“That’s for anyone under 24.”
“Okay, so it’s $4.” I try to hand her a $20.
“I don’t have change. You can go to the store to get change.”
“Well, I’m here every Monday; can’t I pay you then?”
“I’m not here on Mondays.”
“Can I leave it for you with somebody else in the office?”
“No, how would I know you’d paid?”
“Well, is there anybody else in the building or the office who might have change?”
“No… I’m in the office.”
Remember, this is $4. And I seriously would have paid on Monday. But anyway… out we trudge to the convenience store, which is conveniently close. And buy a water bottle which we don’t need. And trudge back. Now it’s 8:20.
Me: “Here’s $4.”
She writes up a receipt and hands it to me.
We go into the change room, and on the way there, I happily note the curtains that have been put up on the “viewing gallery” doors so nobody can see in. Yes!!! This means I can swim with my hair uncovered. Now I’m getting excited.
We all change out of our clothes and into bathing suits, except Elisheva, who wore her bathing suit. I smile at all the ladies coming into the change room as we pass through to the shower area. While we shower, we notice a few more people coming from the pool into the showers.
Open the door to the pool and a lifeguard is there: “You can swim, but I just want to let you know we’re closing in a couple of minutes.”
Me: “What time do you close?”
“Why would the woman in the lobby take our money five minutes before you close?”
“Do you have your receipt?”
I trot back to the locker, bring the receipt, which doesn’t have a time written on it.
“Weird,” one lifeguard calls to another. “This doesn’t have a time on it; all the other ones said 8:30.”
I ask the lifeguard, “why would the woman in the lobby tell us the swimming was until 9:00 if it wasn’t?”
“I don’t know; if you have your receipt, she’ll give you back the money.”
“Oh.” Very, very disappointed. I look around frantically for the sign that told me about the swimming in the first place. I spot it in the viewing gallery but can’t see far enough to see what time it says.
An Asian lady helpfully calls from the pool: “You can still swim! Come in! You can swim for FIVE MINUTES!”
But we turn around, head dejectedly out to the change room, damp and disappointed. I pull off Naomi’s bathing suit, put on her dress and button it up. Elisheva pulls her things on on top of her bathing suit – she didn’t bring a change of clothes.
Naomi asks if she can have a princess (from the vending machine in the lobby), and I agree, to take the edge off her disappointment. “Yes, we’ll use the $4 when we get it back and we’ll get a peek-a-pooh for Gavriel Zev.”
Just as I’m about to change back into my clothes, the lifeguard comes back in. “There was a miscommunication: we’re still open until 9:00.”
Elisheva says, “let’s just go.” Naomi clearly wants her princess, and perhaps whatever else Elisheva, the ultimate rodeif shalom, has promised her to avoid any type of teary outburst. (I later found out what it was: hot chocolate)
But I immediately said, “great – we’re going swimming!”
And we DID. That’s the amazing thing. Reluctantly at first, both girls changed BACK into their swim stuff and we literally dove right in. Okay, not literally, but we walked and jumped and swam and it was beautiful. They’d kicked everybody out at 8:30, so we had the place pretty much to ourselves except for three Muslim girls who left about halfway through our swim.
I haven’t swum recreationally in a very long time. And with my hair uncovered? I just remembered a trip to a friend’s family’s indoor pool last year, so it hasn’t been decades like I originally thought, but it is a very nice sensation to just pull off my tichel and dive down as deep as I can.
Not the most pleasant sensation to come out to the chilly evening temperature… and I imagine it may get even less nice as Fall really starts to set in. For now, for tonight… utterly lovely. I am very, VERY glad I went.
But the other things? The money, the closing time? Just plain weird.
Keep in mind, this is my first time going, but this program that has been going on for WEEKS. Every single Saturday, I guess, they have shut down mistakenly, kicking out all the other swimmers, at 8:30… until we barged in and demanded to swim until 9:00. Weird.
In the change room, I asked Naomi if she had a good time. She got her nasty face and said “NO!” But later, at home, she peeked her head around the door while GZ was having nummies and said quietly, “I had a good time.”