Wednesday, October 31, 2007
You Call THAT a Lifeguard?
Tell me please, what is the role of the fellow on the other end of the pool? I directed my question to a swim coach awaiting his young charges.
We can speak English if you wish, he said pulling on a jacket.
Of course, it’s my first language, I said in Russian.
Not to be diverted I continued on the hunch that my Russian was a notch above his English. That guy there – is he the lifeguard?
Da, he is.
That’s what I was afraid of.
I had just finished swimming laps at the nearby 50-meter pool. It’s such a fine pool that it’s hard to find a sliver of time to do laps between the competitive swim teams, synchronized swimmer girls and the kiddies’ classes. But in the year that I’ve frequented that pool, the fellow stationed at the deep end of the pool has intrigued me. And not because of his good looks either.
I’ve noticed the fellow answering the telephone occasionally. But most often, his nose is in a paperback and he's listening to something through an earpiece. Yesterday as I headed toward shower, I studied his apparel, since – oddly enough – I’m not in the habit of swimming with a camera in tow. He was clad in a t-shirt, sweats, socks and sandals. There was no lifesaving equipment nearby – no shepherd’s crook or ring buoy – unless you count the telephone.
Thinking back 29 years to my own lifeguarding career, I’m wondering – has something changed? As I recall, the concept was to be ready, watching and prepared to jump on in there and rescue the perishing. Or is this a cultural difference? Maybe a lifeguard in Russia is simply an attendant who will summon aid for the drowning – or the drowned.
Mr. Lifeguard was kind of cute though. Maybe next time I’ll flirt a bit – surely that’s a skill that can be resuscitated. Actually, a photo of him in action – or perhaps inaction – is all I need. I’ll just be direct and ask for one. Or, maybe not. Either that or try to grab a shot when I come up for air. The third time. (Note photos above were taken the following week. Another *lifeguard* is pictured here.)
Labels: sports + recreation