Rosey had never been to a public swimming pool. When I mentioned the Lido, she thought I was talking about a board game with coloured counters! No, Rosey had never shared a pool with anyone outside her circle of friends and family. After all, there was no need. One of the things she liked most about her parent’s house was the private pool.
Anyway, several of us decided to go swimming, and we wanted Rosey to come with us. Our initial approach to her was greeted with an ‘eooo’ sound and a screwed up face, as her mind filled with the image of a pool full of people she had never met before. She was particularly concerned about a story she’d heard about people peeing in the pool. At first, I didn’t think she was serious, so I offered her a light-hearted reply. I told her that people were only allowed to pee in the corners, so if she stuck to the centre she would be alright. It was met with one of her classic furrowed-brow confused looks and a few seconds silence, after which she fired her second objection at me. She was worried that some people might not have had a shower or washed their hair before going swimming. It was, she pointed out, once called the Municipal Swimming Baths.
But in the end, we took her along. Not exactly kicking and screaming, but certainly leaving us in no doubt that this foray was very much against her better nature. We managed to get through the communal changing rooms – they have separate compartments but you can see above the low walls – then through the communal shower, and eventually to the pool. Well, it was heaving with people from yelling children to fragile old folk, and poor Rosey looked like a fish out of water – almost literally. There she stood, toes turned in, knees together and arms firmly folded across her chest.
She suddenly looked very vulnerable standing there in her lime green one-piece, wearing on her head a lime green rubber cap topped off with a lavender and yellow rubber flower. So different from the Rosey who, at a party, one week before, had been the first to throw off her bikini top, shout Geronimo, and plunge straight into her parent’s pool!
She ventured slowly into the fun pool and edged further and further forward when suddenly, something unexpected happened. Unexpected by Rosey that was, because we had forgotten to warn her about the wave feature. A deafening siren screamed out and with that, an army of kids came rushing towards Rosey, carrying her with them. When she regained her balance she realised that waves were beginning to roll her way. Higher and higher they went, knocking her completely off balance! She looked as though she was witnessing a tsunami!
Well, we scrambled to her rescue and hauled her out. But she gave us a really angry look and complained that we had just spoiled her fun! Then she leapt back in again!
Now of course, whenever we discuss our next group outings, she always suggests the Lido. I don’t think I’ll ever really understand my friend Rosey.