Thursday, September 2, 2010

What I learned at the pool

1. It really is the most entertaining place in the world. For instance, I sat one day and watched one boy try to teach another boy karate. They had to be around seven years old or so. There was a kick board involved and a lot of grunting and spinning. You could tell the "teacher" learned his art from watching T.V. It was hilarious!

2. I learned how to walk around like I'm the hottest thing at the pool, in spite of what I really look like. Seriously. Watch people. The ones that should not be showing so much skin are much more comfortable with their bodies and walking around than those of us in the "in between" range. (more on that below).

3. Sunglasses are a MUST for people watching. You can stare to your heart's content and people are never really sure who you are looking at. I became quite sneaky this summer honing my people watching skills.

4. Loud music makes the pool more fun for everyone. If the right station is playing. There were days when the music was off, and those were too quiet. There were other days, day after day really, that we were stuck on the 80's station. I don't have anything against the 80's, but I've already done that. Let's move on. Play something a little more current, please. I don't need to reminisce about the "good ole days" every day. 

5. Lifeguards are fascinating. They sit there every day. Do they get bored? Does their heart take forever to calm back down after the rare rescue because it is so rare? How much sunscreen do you think they go through each summer? Oh, and 50% of our lifeguards spin their whistles while sitting. Do they teach that in the first aid class? Do they even know they're doing it? Do you think they noticed me staring at them all summer behind my sunglasses and in between checking to see where my kids were? Our lifeguards came in many different shapes and sizes.

6. 70% of adults bring something to read at the pool. (I'm guessing by just looking around.) I started to poll everyone one day to see what they preferred to read. Unfortunately, I only made it to four people before my husband asked me to stop. He gets embarrassed by my need to know things. Well, at least when it involves me asking complete strangers questions.

7. I learned a lot more about human anatomy and different body types. This sparked a lot of thought on the subject.

Remember Hugh Jackman as Wolverine?
a. Legs fascinate me. So do shoulders, arms and ripped torsos. Not in THAT way, believe it or not. As a study in character development, muscle (or the lack thereof) says a lot about the individual. I came up with four categories: the disciplined, those with lucky genes, those just getting by, and the undisciplined. Think about it. A lot of times the way we view and take care of our bodies is a good indicator of other areas of our lives.
NOT Fair, but she's disciplined and I'm not, so I guess it is.

b. Back to legs. There are so many types! Gymnast legs, dancer's legs, soccer legs, flabby legs, chicken legs, and legs that look like tree trunks.

8. At some point, two pieces should be outlawed. There are some things I really don't need to see. I'm not saying you need to hide at home, goodness knows I'm more flabby than fit, but I wear a modest one piece and swim shorts to hide my stretch marks from carrying and bearing four children. No one wants to see that. Not even me! Now, if I successfully lose the 15 pounds I want, and discipline myself enough to look good, then I'll lose the shorts too.

Umm, I'd better stop before I get myself into trouble. :) Anyway, all the observations are going to make some things easier as I start writing again this fall. People watching is an excellent way to get ideas for new characters, or help you understand some of the ones you already have floating in your head. Watching real people helps in the creation characters that are believable enough for readers to relate too.

What did you learn this summer, and how is it going to improve your writing?