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.)


Marye said...

That is both sad and funny....

Karen L. Alaniz said...

You go on and flirt with that looks like he needs something to do...hahaha! I think that it may be cultural as I have never seen a lifeguard quite that lax at any of the pools I've been to. Of course, to know for sure you'd have to frequent several pools. I think you should do that, in the name of research of course.

At our city pool, they must wear bathing suits. And they go through the "changing of the (life)guards too. Every fifteen minutes, the rotate clockwise, changing posts so that they don't get too bored or familiar or lackadasical (how DO you spell that?). Perhaps your lifeguard friend could mix it up a bit by glancing at the water every fifteen minutes...haha!

I think you should test him though. Go under water for five or ten minutes and see if he notices. I'm betting he won't. He would be great for a pool in which one announced over the loud-speaker when one was going to drown.

Anyway-pretty funny post. I love hearing about your adventures.


Dmitri said...

Not to be too picky, but where did you find 100m pool? :-) You mean 50m, right?
If this is in Rostov, is this Volna, Coral or Dolphin?

Eileen said...

Dmitri, THANK YOU for your comment. You know, now that you mention it, a 100-meter pool would a football field, wouldn't it? Oops, I guess it must be only 50m. I need to fix that! Well Dmitri, you're not being picky At All and in fact I really do value having someone *out there* who notices such things because because because it's important that every single little detail is accurate and fair.

Which pool in Rostov, you ask? Oh Dmitri, I absolutely can not say! ;) See, I don't want to *blow my cover around here!* =)

Anyway, thanks so much for your comment and you have a standing invitation to be *picky.* Seriozni! All the best, E

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