04 August 2010

Random Wednesdays: Swimming


I love swimming. If it were my choice, I would spend every waking moment in the pool. No, I don't have one, but I live right across the street from my community pool. It is open for approximately eight hours every day beginning the end of June to the Labor Day in September. This will be the last summer we have this pool. It will be demolished in the Fall. The city feels that it cannot keep up the costs for maintenance. I believe that the problem is the city doesn't make a profit from the pool. For other sports, teams require permits which create revenue for the city Parks Department. Most community pools are free so they become a liability. Many have tried to petition this action by the city, but to no avail. My community is comprised of individuals in the low income stratum. I suppose our taxes do not generate enough income for the city to maintain the pool. It's sad really. I never get to go swimming anymore but most of the neighborhood children rely on the pool as a relief from the heat and as a form of exercise. I really hate the underlying sociopolitical issues that cause dissension in the city.

I also will really miss swimming.

After work, I park my car on the block adjacent to the community pool. When I exit the car, I stand and stare at the clear blue water, the small rolling breakers and the beads of sunlight glistening off the crests of the waves. I begin to contemplate how and when I can sneak over to the pool just for a little dip. Unfortunately, the long list of "To Do's," from cooking dinner to caring for children, interrupt my happy thoughts and I realize that I have no time for swimming today or any other day. I lock the car and trudge miserably to my apartment.

I really do miss swimming.

Everyday after all my duties as mother and wife are fulfilled, I longingly look out my window and observe the fun and frolicking that occurs. I hear the whistle of the lifeguard sound as a warning to those violating the pool rules. I smell the chlorine that permeates the air and envelopes the edifices like a blanket. I can feel the moist, humid air caress my skin and whisper, "Come on over. You won't regret it."

Did I mention that I really miss swimming?

13 comments:

Jules said...

We had a pool similar to yours and it had the exact same fate. Beautifully illustrated in words. :)
Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Jan Morrison said...

I think you need to be a pool activist. Find other folks who feel the same way and chain yourself to the pool or cause some sort of civil unrest. Do it! I would be so pissed if that happened here. (I mean in my town not here where I swim in the ocean and a nearby lake). I felt that way when the government tried to stop funding to the cap sites which were joined to libraries. That'll be next. arghh! Get madder!
Jan Morrison

Deb and Barbara said...

Aw -- you SHOULD be swimming! I love your post. And relate. We are having similar issues in Toronto. Although, to Jan's point, several have also been saved.
B

Mary said...

I know what you mean about swimming. I miss it as well,
Our city closed every outdoor pool and built a Natatorium for sports instead. The public gets to use it a few hours a week (if you can afford it).
There's nothing like swimming outside though.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

What a shame! Could another organization (like the YMCA)take it over?

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, Chary--that IS sad. And it is a public health issue as well. Kids in poorer neighborhoods don't have the same opportunities for healthy recreation--in fact maybe that is the angle... see if you can find a public health organization that would apply for a grant to keep it open in the interest of keeping kids fit. Might even be diabetes prevention money or something. It's wonderful that it's been free. We have a couple public pools, but then, I live in a rich community and I think it is $4 to swim (which isn't a bad investment a couple times a week--cheaper than a movie.)

Belle said...

That's so sad! Our pools charge admission, but they also hold free sessions a couple of times a week so that everyone can enjoy the pool without paying.

Chary Johnson said...

Jules,

I am so sorry to hear that your community pool has closed. It is such a shame. Thanks.

Chary Johnson said...

Jan,

I love how you think. However, I think I may get arrested by chaining myself to the pool's gates. Records of arrest look very bad on a teacher's record. :D

Chary Johnson said...

Deb and Barbara,

I plan to write letters to our local politicians and if that doesn't work, I'll write to Mayor Bloomberg himself. :)

Chary Johnson said...

Elizabeth,

I wish the YMCA would take over but they have their own pool (they are located about five blocks away). They also have very high membership rates. I live in a really poor area. The parents would not be able to afford it.

Chary Johnson said...

Hart,

I never thought of that angle since we do have an epidemic of childhood obesity here in the city. I am going to look into some health organizations. Thanks for the advice.

Chary Johnson said...

Belle,

I'm wondering if maybe the our pools can charge a small fee. You know, something like $1.00 per day for each person. That would be affordable and may set off some of the costs of pool maintenance. I'll suggest that in my letters to the politicians. Thanks.