Tag Archives: Marie Joseph

Swimming through some pool issues

19 Jul


I love to swim at the pool.  Any pool.  And by swimming, I mean that I like to lube up with pure Mexican coconut oil, or baby oil and iodine, and read trashy gossip rags in a chase lounge while a radio d.j. reminds me to flip every 30 minutes.  Aaah.  When the heat gets too much I will slip in and eek out a few laps to keep up appearances.  My love of hanging poolside comes from both my mother and proximity.  We had a pool in our backyard and that woman knew how to soak sun like a champ.  Compared to Carolyn, The Girl from Ipanema and the Ban de Soleil chick, with her San Tropez Tan, were hacks.  From some point in May through some point in September, we were poolside daily.  And nighttime sharks and minnows is the best!  Even as I got older, passed through college and single times, I still spent my weekend days at my parent’s house in a pool that was safe and free of E. coli, weirdoes and screaming children in saggy diapers.

There was a time; however, when I wasn’t so keen to jump in.  The year was probably 1982 and watching the movie Jaws on HBO did a complete number on me.  I no longer was emotionally safe to be alone in the pool and I sure as hell wasn’t going into the deep end.  Who knew if a shark could somehow find it’s way from the ocean, through a maze of pipes and come ripping through the base drain of our Georgia pool.  NO chances were to be taken.  It was a long while before I was able to shake the scene in the movie when that giant rubber robot shark flew outta the water at Robert Shaw. 

Years passed and I forgot all about a chlorine loving Jaws and then something else jarred me from the pool.  My parents died, the pool was closed and eventually their house was sold.  While my yard is plenty big to have a pool, we don’t.  That’s a whole ‘nother rant.  I was forced to go to, hand to throat with a gasp, our neighborhood public pool!  I had never been to a public pool before, but by July of 2000 I couldn’t take it anymore.  There were scant lounge chairs (all with busted straps), lifeguards that looked like they just got done serving 7-10, weeds growing from the pool’s coping edge and it was the coldest water I had ever felt.  I sat on the edge of the shallow end (interpret that any way you wish) with a foot in the water as big crocodile tears came and I sucked in my bottom lip.  I missed my parents and damnit, I missed our pool.  When I left, my flip-flop slipped in a turd on the sidewalk.

Another time I was doing a water aerobics class at the indoor pool in my health club and snake cut through the water past me.  A snake in an indoor pool?  I almost gave up.

Fast-forward and our grody public wet-hole has become a veritable neighborhood jewel.   The cracks in the plaster have been fixed so the water isn’t two degrees above freezing, there’s lots of tables and chaises, good music, real mirrors in the bath house, a snack bar and even grills for Friday night member cookouts.  I have been totally comfortable there until this story broke a few weeks ago and it is like the lurking horror of Jaws and everything I thought was sketchy about “public pools” or ever worried about have conspired to freak me out.

Did you hear about this story?  Here’s a re-cap: A woman was found dead in a public swimming pool in the Boston area.  Some teens who hopped the fence for a moon-light swim noticed the body floating in the pool at about 10pm.  It was a Tuesday evening and she had been in there since going down the water slide on Sunday.  Three days!!!  A dead body was in the pool for three days…through a weekend…and no one noticed.  How?  How?  How?  Health Inspectors had been by to test the water twice during this time period and only noted that it was “cloudy”.  Cloudy dead lady water.  Argh!  This makes me want to pass out.  This has sent me in a tailspin.  Now when I swim laps, I am scanning the other lanes for bloated bodies.  I walk to my chaise lounge and check that no fingers are sticking up from the overflow drains.  I notice when a toweled chair hasn’t been visited in a while.  In an ironic twist, the decedent, thirty-six year old­­­­­­­­­­ Marie Joseph, had a tattoo on her hand that said “friends and family” in that fancy greenish-black tattoo cursive.  Where were the friends and family when she didn’t come home from the pool?

So, here I am…fortyish and I’m back to being terrified of the pool.  I swear if something brushes up against me underwater I could easily create a code brown and force the whole pool down for a day.