A Trip to the Pool

Remember when you were six years old, and your greatest wish was to go to the swimming pool on a hot day? If you could just play in that cool, clear water, your life would be infinitely better. Now, remember how happy you were when your mom told you she would take you?

There’s just one catch. First you had to get out the door. Well, that shouldn’t be so hard, you think. Naturally, you’re dressed in your bathing suit in five seconds flat, so you’re ready. You grab your floatie-wings on the way to the door, because what other water essentials are there?

“Honey, did you get your flip flops?” And you’re thinking, Aren’t those kinda pointless? I’m going kick them off as soon as I walk through the gate anyway.  

“I’ve gotta find the sunscreen, sunglasses, the baby’s hat, stroller, oh! and my magazine. Just need to make one quick phone call…”

Your wonderful day just came to a halt. Because now you were thinking, Why does mom even need all that stuff? Magazines?! The stroller? Really? You can’t take those in the water!

 

Twenty minutes later, after your mom has loaded enough for a weekend trip, you’re finally in the car, and you allow yourself a sigh of relief. You’re finally going! You were so excited when you pulled into the parking lot, that you were out of your car-seat and at the door in less than two seconds, floati-wings on your arms. Your mom takes ten seconds longer, and you wonder how she can possibly not understand that time is of the essence here.

You burst out of the car, and are about to run down the sidewalk towards the pool, when your mom calls, “Wait a minute, honey! I need you to stay close while I change the baby.”

The baby? You mean you didn’t put her swimming suit on already!? Then she tells you to come and put on sunscreen. And you wonder why that matters at all, because aren’t you just getting ready to go and rinse it all off?

Five agonizing minutes later, the baby is in the stroller, dressed in a bathing suit that you wonder how she’s possibly going to need if she’s sitting in that cart all day, and you’re finally ready to make your way to the pool. At last. You can see the water sparkling in the sunlight when you round a bend in the sidewalk! There it is!

But when you’re halfway down the sidewalk, something even worse happens.

Your mom’s friend pulls up.

And your mom stops.

And turns around.

And begins walking BACK up the sidewalk.

And now you’re coming to the awful realization that the entire universe is against you, trying to thwart your plans. 

Life isn’t fair.

So now you’re back at the top of the hill, in the parking lot. Perhaps the sunscreen is actually doing some good now, because the sun is getting higher in the sky. It must be almost noon! And you knew that that meant it was darn close to getting dark. If your mom didn’t hurry, the moon would come up! But she’s busy taking an eternity to greet her friend.

Now, what you don’t realize is that, in your mom’s opinion, you’re at the pool. You’ve pulled up, and so you’re there. She never did understand that you were NOT there. You were close, but you were never at the pool until you were in the pool. As in, submerged. Completely.

But they’re still chatting.

“You wouldn’t believe the trouble I had getting out of the house this morning,” your mom says. And you agree 100%, as you tap your foot on the concrete. “See, I couldn’t find the sunscreen, and the stroller had a broken wheel. So I had to pull out the tools and fix it, and—“

“Oh, I know just what you mean,” her friend says, rubbing sunscreen across her nose, “I had a salon appointment this morning to get my hair colored. You know, I stopped to get coffee, and it should’ve been fast, but they were running behind, and I was late already. Then I spilled my coffee while I was driving—“

And now you’re thinking – coffee? Coffee?! How is coffee relevant to swimming? Why should I care? Why should she care?! Go wash it off in the POOL!

When you’re finally at the pool (as in, in it), you see at last why your mom insisted on hauling along all that extra junk. She’s not getting in the pool!  Dumfounded, you watch her sit in a beach chair with a magazine and her sunglasses and tan. But she’s not wearing the sunglasses; they’re sitting on her head. And you wonder what part of that is “going swimming?” (And also, why does she need sunscreen if she’s going to lie in the sun? How counterproductive is that?)

But it doesn’t matter, because now you can finally forget troubles like lost sunscreen and eternal greetings, and just play in the water. (And you did kick off your flip flops the second you got there. Duh.) Life is good.

Then, all too soon, your mom tells you it’s time to leave. But you notice that the sun is still up. It’s not dark. After all, a day at the pool is a day at the pool. A day. Today. ALL DAY. Right?

Remember when you were six years old, and you lived in the moment. Each moment, each day. Life wasn’t about deadlines and fine lines and eye liner. Life was about the joy of each breath.

And then you grew up. You probably laughed at this. But now you realize that life isn’t like that anymore. You’re busy and you realize you’ve lost part of what you had when you were six. Or you think you have. Where is the joy of each moment now?

I think I know. And I think you can still find it—if you look.

Why Do Writers Take Such Long Showers?

What? You’re seriously asking this? Though it’s hardly a surprise, because you’ve all wondered it at some point. I know; it’s just one of the great mysteries of life. But lucky for you, I’m here to shed some light on this enigma of why writers take long showers.

 Well, the short answer is that the shower is the place where we can display our insanity to the fullest extent without disturbing those around us.

 The long answer is when we try to explain to others what that means.

 And of course, even after we do explain it, our only response is generally the classic look of “I’m-Sorry-But-I-Have-Absolutely-No-Comprehension-Of-What-You-Just-Said.” In other words, they stare at us like we just came in on the last shuttle from Mars.

 Further explanation usually doesn’t help. Because, the truth is, we didn’t just get back from Mars. In fact, we’ve probably just arrived from even more…exotic.

 Truth be told, the shower is another world. It is only possible to realize the fullness of this statement in the event that you enter the mind of a writer as they are drawing back the curtain. So really, unless you are of the race of insanity as well, you will likely never understand this phenomenon.

 Some people sing in the shower. A LOT of people sing in the shower. Why?

 Well, if you’re one of them, you know EXACTLY why you do it. Nobody hears you. Or that’s what you think. But they don’t see you, and so don’t know that you were actually holding an imaginary microphone the entire time. Yep. We all know that’s what really goes on.

 There are also people who talk in the shower. Some talk to themselves, or role-play conversations with other people.

 Don’t laugh. You know you’ve done it.

 And there are still others who spend the whole time discussing highly important matters of plot, state, and diplomacy with people of the imaginary realm.

 These are the writers.

 Yes, folks, it’s true. The undertone mumblings you hear coming from the bathroom when the writer is taking a shower is not when they’re giving themselves a pep-talk. They may be giving a pep-talk, but the likelihood is far grater that they are speaking to a misbehaving character. Often, when this happens, the author will try to puzzle out why said character is acting this way. This sometimes includes a variety of odd processes, such as conducting an interrogation, dishing out threats, or just acting the scene out yourself.

 That last one is very popular.

 Aaaaand this is when we get The Look.

 You see, to the casual passerby, when they hear a thud in the bathroom, they’ll just naturally assume we dropped the shampoo on the floor. What they don’t realize is that we were actually punching the wall.

 So if you ever see a CAUTION sign on the bathroom door while someone is in the shower, don’t question it.

shower-image-001

 How many of you have ever wondered what would happen if showers were BIGGER?

 All the writers out there are probably thinking, “That would be awesome. My world would expand!”

 All the other people are probably thinking, “Oh sure, that’s just what they need. I can just see our water bills skyrocketing.” And then they do a headdesk.

 But, what would you see if this really did happen?

 Well, longer showers for sure. But this expansion would probably also include a lot more thudding against walls.

 With plastic weapons.

 It is at this point where people begin to back away in terror. Like, “Lord have mercy! Everybody, stay away from the bathroom for about an hour! So-and-so is in the shower and something might explode.”

 You may be thinking, “Gee, an hour sure does seem like a long time.”

 Well, I can just about guarantee you that we’re thinking the opposite. “What? I only have an hour? I was going to deal with my villain today! Do you have any concept at all of how long that will take?!”

 Well, to be honest, as writers, we can pack a lot into that hour. Seriously.

 This is why you sometimes hear frenzied thudding and scrambling coming from the other side of the bathroom door followed by remarks of, “Well, it sounds like so-and-so’s villain is giving them some trouble. Listen to all that banging around.”

 A good rule to remember is this: Never ask a writer how they got that random bruise on their shoulder.

 Since the chances are good that we’ve been practicing our fight skills, you would also be well-advised to reconsider ever doing the old pour-cold-water-over-the-shower-curtain trick when the author is on the other side.  You never know when you might get clubbed in the head with a bottle of shampoo that was doubling as a sword two seconds ago.  

 So ladies and gentlemen, there you have it; the long answer to the long-pondered question, “Why do writers take such long showers?”

 The short answer? Just…don’t ask.