Thursday, March 25, 2010

Space – the final frontier

(this blog post was written while on a trip in Palm Springs, visiting my parents back in late February)

I’ve always been a person who likes to have his space, and thinks that it must be the same for everyone else. So usually I go out of my way to make sure that when I encounter another individual, I give them the appropriate buffer zone, whether it’s on a sidewalk, in a lane of traffic, or even on a public bus. Of course if I’m out hiking and run into a deer, bear, or even more threatening, a wood tick, I’m all about giving even more space.

Not our girls. Space is a completely different thing to them. Especially when it comes to swimming pools.

Here I am, sitting by quite a large, heated swimming pool in the golfing community that my parents spend 3 months of the winter (but ironically enough, they don’t play golf). I’m watching our two girls swim in the pool. They have tons of room to play. The water is shallow, so being 8 and 11 and of decent size, there’s no where they can’t go within the pool. And this is what they do – they move about the pool like a) they own it, b) there’s no one else there, and c) like it’s the last chance they’ll ever get in their lives to swim, so they better use the time well and explore as much as possible.

Now introduce the old people. Or as we say when visiting the desert, the ‘tanned ones.’ I’m talking over 65, they’ve earned their place in life and decided that the best reward after a full life of working would be to move to a nice, warm climate. There’s ample space for walking, there are restaurants near by, lots of iconic palm trees, and of course, a warm and spacious pool. I’m guessing that the original resort brochures that showed the pool never had pictures with our girls in it. Of course if they did, they’d just be blurs! No camera has ever caught them in sharp focus in a pool.

So right now, even though there’s ample room to do their back flips, cannon balls, and other movements that involve as much flailing of the limbs and splashing as possible, they’re doing their best (I swear not on purpose) to be within a few feet of every senior that is brave enough to make their way cautiously into the pool. It’s like a magnetic attraction, and hey, you can’t argue with the laws of science.

I’m lying here in a constant state of cringe, wondering when one of them is either going to get a flipper in the face, or be speared by one of the girls’ various pool toys.

So, knowing my belief in personal space, you’d think that I’d be jumping off my chair and running over to make sure the girls stop tormenting these seniors. Not today. I’ve decided to check my space sensibilities at the pool gate and just accept what is and see what happens. Maybe the girls splashing about will remind the seniors of their glory days as children. Or maybe it’ll remind them of their grandchildren. Or maybe it’ll remind them to put the lock on the gate higher so that kids can’t come in at all! Whatever happens, I think we’ll all be a bit younger and wiser for the experience.

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