Sunday, May 6, 2012
Opening the Pool
Anyone who owns a pool is a major dumb-ass.
They are ruinously expensive, not only in terms of money outlay for chemicals, equipment repair, water, but in man and woman hours. Nancy and I recently opened the pool. Pulling back the cover which had concealed it all winter, we found 50,000 gallons of green water, filled with an assortment of leaves, pollen, miscellaneous crap, and one poor drowned squirrel who evidently found life too hard to bear and took the coward's way out. Then began, as Shakespeare puts it, the tempest to my soul. Nancy and I began to vacuum the sucker out. This means running a nozzle along the bottom of the pool as it drains out your water and sucking out leaves and detritus at a rate of one fistful every twenty minutes. Did I mention we have a 50,000 gallon pool? The procedure is monstrously tedious. I once heard about a Zen master who trained his students to have patience by mixing sacks of barley, wheat, and rice, and having his students separate them back out with chopsticks. Cleaning the pool is more tedious than that, with the added benefit you have to do it standing up. In fact, I'm considering renting out the pool when we open it to prospective Zen masters. Nah. A Zen master wouldn't be able to take it. He'd go nuts.
When I was a child in Fort Pierce, Florida, we had a pool. I was only seven at the time, so my responsibilities were not running on the pool deck and lying with a straight face if anyone asked if I'd peed, so I didn't understand when my mother, Mur, would complain about it. Years later, when we moved to Sandersville, Georgia, Mur had a dream, which she told me about. In her dream she was relaxing in a chaise lounge, sipping a gin-and-grapefruit. There was a beautiful, kidney-bean shaped pool with sparkling azure water. The pool deck was bordered by mimosa trees, and Mur sipped her gin-and-grapefruit, watching the pink and white parasol-shaped flowers drift through the air and alight on the water, sending out delicate ripples in all directions.
A nightmare, she said.