A Sink Or Swim Comment

, , , | Learning | September 28, 2017

(I see a girl who needs help swimming. I offer my services to her parents, and we make arrangements for me to teach her at the pool. After a few weeks, she is completely confident and enjoys going to the deep end. The following happens when we are walking down to the shallow end.)

Girl: *looks up at lifeguard* “You know, I think I want to be a lifeguard when I’m older.”

(This makes me feel very proud as her instructor, as she used to be terrified of the water, and I am about to encourage her in this endeavour. I don’t get a chance to because she looks at me and says:)

Girl: “I think you’ll be dead by then.”

(I was not expecting this comment, so I burst out laughing and asked her how old she thought I was. She simply shrugged. Later, I told her parents what she said and I watched her mom practically double over with laughter.)


, , , , | Right | September 25, 2017

(I work at the front desk of a recreation center that has a pool in it. The pool is scheduled to shut down for annual maintenance, as it does every year. An elderly man comes in and walks up to me in a huff.)

Old Man: “Why are you closing the pool for a week this year?”

Me: “Sir, we always have. It’s an annual—”

Old Man: “Why? What’s wrong with the pool?!”

Me: “Sir, were resurfacing the bottom of the pool.”

Old Man: “Why can’t you just take the water off the bottom, and just leave the rest of the pool open?”

(Thermo)Dynamically Reacting To A Crazy Request

, , | Right | September 23, 2017

(I’ve worked at many different pools, but the number one complaint I get, no matter what pool I’m at, is that “the pool is too cold.” Some people don’t understand that a pool is not a bathtub, and we can’t turn up the heat on demand. Since the pool is so big, and filters gallons of water in and out, it literally takes days to cool down or heat up the pool. Furthermore, health and safety policies dictate that we have to keep the pool within a certain temperature range. My response to this complaint for years has been to explain these facts, and tell them what the temperature reading was at the last pool test. One day, at one of the biggest pools I’ve worked at, an elderly woman enters the pool and makes a big show of acting like she has just stepped into ice water.)

Patron: “The water is so cold today.”

Me: “The last temperature reading said 85 degrees.”

Patron: *confused* “What does that mean?”

Me: “Our policy aims to have our pool between 83 and 87 degrees in order to operate. We’re actually above the minimum level.”

Patron: “So, you have two more degrees to go.”

Me: “Uh, yes. Two more degrees until the maximum.”

Patron: “So, turn it up.”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Patron: “It’s far too cold to be comfortable. Get someone to turn up the heat.”

Me: “Ma’am, if we turn it up too much, then the competitive swimmers could overheat.”

Patron: “You just said that you could go two degrees higher, so just go to the back and turn up the switch.”

Me: “Uh, I’m actually not trained to—”

Patron: “And hurry up; I’m only here for half an hour today.”

Me: “I’m very sorry, ma’am, but there is no way the heat will increase that much in so little time.”

(I’m about to explain to her why this is, when she sees a maintenance worker come onto the pool deck.)

Patron: “Oh, you’re useless. I’ll just ask [Worker]; he knows what to do.”

(She gets his attention and asks him what she asked me. I continue to guard, but I listen in, expecting him to say the same thing I did. To my surprise, I hear him say, “No problem,” and he walks away. The patron smiles smugly at me and begins her walking workout, while I stand there confused. Ten minutes later, he comes back, and I approach him before the lady sees him.)

Me: “Did you really turn up the heat for the pool?”

Worker: *smirks* “Oh, no, that’s just a line I shoot them so they’ll get off my back.”

(He then walks over to the lady.)

Worker: “How’s that?”

Patron: “Much better; thank you.”

This Parenting Thing Isn’t Going Swimmingly

, , , , , , | Related | September 5, 2017

(I have taught swimming lessons for many years, and have just started a program for swimmers with special needs. One family wishes to register their son, who is prone to violent outbursts, and was banned from swimming lessons because he choked a kid and held him under water. His parents chalk it up to his medical condition, and decide to try a one-to-one environment to see if it’s successful. His parents also want it during a busy lesson slot that his brother is in, when we really need extra instructors. They solely want this so they can attend a workout class. Luckily, it’s summer, so we’re able to get an extra instructor with no problem. After two lessons, I am having a hard time with him leaving the little pool or wanting to do any swimming. To make matters worse, he will not leave the water after the lessons are done until his parents show up. He is almost 12 and very strong, so we can’t physically move him. This is a problem, as his parents are often late, and we only have five minutes in between lessons. So, by the third lesson, I get a coworker to cover my next lesson so I can talk to his parents.)

Me: “He wouldn’t leave the kiddie pool again this time and threw a couple toys at other kids.”

Dad: “Oh, no, I’ll try to talk to him about that.” *starts to leave*

Me: “Actually, I wanted to talk to you about that. Since this session is almost over, if [Child] wants to pass to the next level, it’s going to be hard to do that. I want to talk to you about what you want for him. If you just want his time occupied, then I can absolutely do that with no problem, but we’ll most likely be spending it in the little pool.”

Dad: “Oh, no, we don’t want that. We absolutely want him to progress.”

Me: “Then I’m going to have to ask that one of you be present during the lesson or come before the lesson is over to help get him out of the water.”

Dad: “Hmm, I’ll have to talk to my wife about it. We do go to an exercise class during this time.”

Me: “Even if we could just find you in case he’s acting out. It really helps when you’re present.”

Dad: “That could work; I’ll talk to my wife and let you know.”

(I don’t see him for the rest of the summer. Fast forward two more months: they show up randomly, expecting the lessons to continue, when they haven’t confirmed anything or responded to any of the calls or emails. Since my schedule has changed, I am not present when they try to accommodate the child with a new instructor, but I hear about it. Unfortunately, the child punches his new instructor and breaks her glasses. He then refuses to leave, and neither of the parents can be located. A meeting is held to potentially work out a compromise, and what really irks me is what the father says:)

Dad: “We just want him to be occupied while we work out. From 9 to 9:45am, he is your problem, not ours.”

(A word from the minimum-wage lifeguards you’re abusing, buddy: 1) the program was completely free for you to use, and we went above and beyond trying to accommodate you, 2) I offered you that EXACT option earlier, but it wasn’t good enough for you, and 3) try to open your eyes once in a while!)

Drowning In Sarcasm

, , , | Learning | August 29, 2017

(I’m working with a group of kids who are at the age and the level where they can either sink or swim. Once they develop more technique, I push how far they can swim to practice their endurance. On this day, they are doing a particularly long one for the promise of extra play time.)

Student: “What if I have trouble getting to the end?”

Me: “You won’t, I’ll be right beside you. If you are tired, I’ll grab you, and you can rest.”

Student: “How will you know I’m tired?”

Me: “It’s pretty easy to tell.”

Student: “What if you can’t tell?”

Me: “Tell you what, it you’re really scared, how about we have a safe word? So if you say it, I know you need help.”

Student: “Okay, what will that word be?”

Me: “Aaaaaaah!”

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