You can tell a lot about a person when they’re in the swimming pool! Sometimes I think my favorite place in the world in which to interact with people is the pool.
Yesterday was a sort of record day here. Considering it’s “low season” we had 18 people in the pool! We were there later in the day than usual for us and I guess the Saturday crowd caught up with us (or we with them). There were KIDS! From one of the construction families — reasonably well behaved which is something “old people” are supposedly fussy about! I love kids, since we moved out of our house in Milwaukee I have missed living next to a grade school — and seeing the kids on the playgrounds all year long. I thought it was a great day to see the kids splashing and the smiles on their faces!
Actually, I never mentioned that this RV park is adjacent to a school too. It’s a new school. Started out as a 9th grade only and now they are adding other grades, but I don’t know if they are going higher or lower. 7th, 8th, 9th, or what…. Anyway, the school adjoins the South border of the RV resort and I get to see the buses and cars dropping kids off. There’ little activity outside in this school — they have a huge gymnasium but with the heat down here I don’t see much activity outside. Maybe proximity to the school was somehow comforting, homey, to me? But, back to my story.
Usually, as I’ve mentioned, it’s just us in the pool at the times we use it. That’s ok. There’s another couple we see fairly often and the informal nature of pools makes it a good place to get to know someone. There’s no pressure, you can talk or not. And I have often found that the fewer clothes people have on the less guarded they are; the more willing they are to engage in a meaningful manner.
Unless there’s a crowd. Crowds always change human interactions. The more people around the more they put on masks. They “become” who they think people take them to be. And the more people rely upon conversational cliches. Get yourself in a group and your much more likely to talk about sports or cars or weather than anything meaningful to any of the participants.
I guess that’s my “thing.” I hate small talk. It’s a waste of time (in my book) — so I’ll say nothing and take off on some train of thought that I don’t have to “talk” about — something that is interesting to me while the conversation wanders from topic to topic about things I don’t care about.
Finding things in common with others helps — and I don’t know about you, but I don’t always want to talk about what I did for a living. I can find people with similar experiences sure. But life is about more than what we did for a living! There are things going on that could use some talking about — but too many people don’t want to engage.
I find it frustrating that so many people listen to respond, instead of listening. So often you can see the hamsters on the wheel behind their eyes. All the while you’re talking they’re figuring out what they’re going to say next — and they aren’t listening at all. That’s part of the reason I clam up. As soon as I see that the other party really just wants to control the conversation I shut up and take myself out of the conversation. I don’t need to be talked at. I don’t need to be impressed by their former life. I don’t need them to tell me all the amazing things they have ever done. I’m not an audience. And I’m not going to clap.
It’s funny, as the crowd at the pool increases in size there’s always on stand out person who takes over the conversation. Yesterday most of the pool was floating around half-listening to one fellow who is new to the park. He’s a nice enough guy, a bit different, not exactly the entertainment for the day, but to an observer it might have looked that way.
When the Winter Texans are around there are half a dozen individuals who drive the conversation at the pool — depending on who’s there, and how many of the formative half dozen are in the pool at any one time. It’s actually predictable. If you look at the inhabitants of the pool you can pretty well predict what’s going to happen that day.
Pool society changes a lot. We were gone for 2 weeks. Now another couple is gone for a month. Before they get back a second couple will be leaving for 3 1/2 months. We’ll be gone for a few days. Every time the population changes the little world of pool goers changes too. The pool is a microcosm of our little world.