"Wherever you go, go with all your heart." -Confucius
Lifeguarding the 11 a.m. water aerobics class was more like listening to the Desperate Housewives reminisce and less like your average, boring summer employment. These ladies, with their floral one pieces and shower caps, had already lived full lives of men, work, and children. They had their fair share of church dramas and family reunions gone wrong. They could tell you about love lost, love found, and give the best advice.
They hadn’t gone to college, but to me, they seemed so wise as they shared stories from their younger years. They would roll their eyes or shake their heads at their mistakes. Sometimes they’d laugh so hard I thought they were going to lose the noodles keeping them afloat as they bounced around the deep end, except for Leatha, of course, who couldn’t swim. She preferred to stay by the wall.
I figured I had spent roughly 25 hours with these women over the past 3 months, doing less talking and more listening. I had accumulated outrageous stories and gained priceless advice. “Keep your legs closed and your skirt down,” Miss Leatha had said with a perfectly straight face on my last day of work. “That’s all you’ll ever need to know.”
Here are some of my favorite quotes I picked up from the ladies as I circled that dark, enclosed pool:
“Both men wanted to marry me. One had a white convertible and the other one had a black one, so I figured I’d choose the one with the cooler car. I chose the guy with the white car. Boy was that a mistake.”
“I felt bad writing to tell him I couldn’t be engaged to him anymore considering he was off fighting in the war, but I had fallen for someone else.”
“I chased him around the house until he jumped off the balcony. He was my ‘bad’ son.”
“And it turned out my roommate, who I thought was my friend, was doing cocaine! That was not okay with me. Now marijuana?”
Each of these snippets begs for details. Undoubtedly, the 11 a.m. water aerobics ladies could fill a book, each chapter a story of one of their glorious escapades. I hope one day I too will be an 11 a.m. workout lady and impart advice and exciting tales to a young lifeguard anxious to get on with her life and out of the pool.
“The Jeep was stuck in a ditch in the middle of no where!”
“She called me from the hospital before the sun rose. She had no idea what had happened the night before!”
Yes, I think I’ll be a fine aerobics lady. At nineteen, I’m already filling my stockpile of scandalous tales.