I swim a lot at my local YMCA. Much of the staff there are high school and college students. They’re all amazing, and I’m really impressed by their desire to be able to pay for their education at a time when those costs are outrageous and unfair. But the bottom line is, they’re still young. This means I get to witness a lot of angst that I otherwise would have forgotten from my youth. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I just know that it’s a fact.
The other day a young man was our lifeguard. He sat perched high above us on his lifeguard chair, and ours was the closest lane to him. In the next lane out was a young woman who was swimming laps. Or pretending to. Actually, she was mostly treading water and talking to him. We were kind of stuck in the middle of their conversation whether we liked it or not.
Through their talk, I learned that she’s a swim instructor. So they have a lot in common. They clearly knew each other, too, because their conversation lasted the length of our half hour session.
She was acting like she wasn’t comfortable with certain swimming strokes, such as the butterfly. She said she’d be embarrassed to try them. But when she did, after much encouragement from him, she was obviously quite adept. I longed to tell her that acting stupid and incompetent does not, as a general rule, make you more attractive to others. It was quite clear she was attempting to attract our lifeguard.
She also giggled a lot, and blushed. She pulled compliments out of him, which he was more than happy to give. I remember pulling that crap when I was about 13. I look back at it with a certain level of mortification. Acting like a wounded bird doesn’t bring saviors out of the woodwork. Instead, it attracts predators.
For his part, he kept pulling off his mask so she could hear what he was saying in the large, echoing room. In the process, he was spraying us with his aerosol, which I didn’t appreciate. But who am I to stand in the way of true love? Thank God I’ve been vaccinated and had the ability to move further down my lane.
Watching them play their little courting game was both fascinating and irritating. Young people don’t realize just how short life really is. It took everything in me not to say to both of them, “Do you have a girlfriend? No? Do you have a boyfriend? No? She likes you. He likes you. Ask her out, already!”
But then I realized that these stupid games are practice for life. Hopefully someday they’ll both be able to move past them. And let’s face it, they didn’t ask me for my advice, and heaven knows nobody gave me any shortcuts at their age. So I just rolled my eyes in my mind and exercised on.
Like the way my weird mind works? Then you’ll enjoy my book! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5