“I think it’s funny that you can’t swim,” my son Tommy told me from the backseat as I drove him to his swim lessons.
Okay, look, I CAN swim.
Just not well.
I mean, dog paddling is swimming, right? I can dog paddle across the pool without going under. That’s something.
“I can swim,” I argued.
“But not underwater,” Tommy said cheerfully.
This is true. I can’t swim underwater. My parents put me in swim lessons and when it came to the part where I had to stick my head in the water, I freaked out.
“I’m a better swimmer than you,” Tommy informed me as I parked in front of the YMCA.
“You are,” I confirmed. Is it sad that my eight-year-old swims better than me? Probably.
I’m glad he’s not afraid to go under the water. In fact, as soon as he got into the pool he dunked his head in.
“BROTHER!” Natalie bellowed beside me on the bleachers. I hate when I have to take Natalie to the swim lessons. She never wants to sit. She’ll give me a defiant look and inch closer and closer to the pool. Then I’ll have to drag her back and she’ll screech at the top of her lungs. One time a kid announced, “That baby has a loud mouth.”
If Natalie isn’t acting as though she’s about to leap into the pool, she lays down on the floor. Do you know how many germs are probably on that floor? And is it wrong that I usually just let her do it because it means I have a few minutes of silence?
Sometimes she’ll tell me quite seriously, “I don’t YIKE this,” and cross her arms over her chest. I’ll say, “Sometimes in life we do things we don’t like. Such as listen to the Crazy Twilight Lady go on and on about how New Moon is coming out this week.”
After the swim lessons we headed into the locker room so Tommy could change. I bring him in the women’s one because he’s worried he’ll get lost if he goes in the men one alone. I always drag him into a corner and instruct him to face the wall in case a woman strolls by nude.
“Beautiful kids,” a voice called out as I handed Tommy his pants.
I turned around. “Thank—OH! I mean thank you,” I answered. I was shocked because a woman was standing about five feet from me. Butt naked.
Tommy tried to turn too but I griped his shoulder and made him stay against the wall.
“Vagina,” Natalie said, pointing.
I tossed her a Look.
The woman didn’t even seem bothered. A part of me wanted to say, “Can I get you a pair of pants?”
“How old is your little girl?” the woman wondered. STILL STANDING THERE WITH NO PANTS ON.
“Um. She’s nearly three,” I stuttered. It’s really hard to converse with someone who doesn’t have clothes on. Where do you look? I tried to pretend that a crotch wasn’t staring at me. It was really disturbing that I didn’t even know this woman but that I was privy to the fact that the carpet didn’t match the drapes.
The woman seemed to be in her forties. And I’m all for being proud of your body and all of that but sheesh. If you want to talk to someone, PUT SOME PANTS ON. Or wrap a towel around you. Please.
“Vagina,” Natalie said again.
“Where?” Tommy said and tried to turn around again. I wouldn’t let him.
“So is your boy in swim lessons?” the woman said kindly.
Seriously, where were her clothes? I didn’t see any around.
“Yes…swim lessons,” I said stupidly. I still couldn’t believe that this woman had dropped trou and was speaking as though it were perfectly normal to carry on a conversation without clothes.
“What’s happening?” Tommy whined.
“Vagina, brother,” Natalie explained.
I could feel my face warm. Surprisingly the naked woman did not seem embarrassed at all. She continued beaming at us.
“I just wanted to say that you have beautiful children,” she said.
“Thank you!” I replied quickly.
The woman turned. Hello butt of a perfect stranger! “Nancy!” she called out, strolling over to a woman who was (thankfully) clothed. Nancy apparently seemed used to Naked Woman being, well, naked and didn’t even seem taken aback.
As we were walking out of the locker room, Naked Woman (yup, still no pants) shouted, “Goodbye!”
Tommy’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head. “That woman is naked,” he whispered.
I covered his eyes. “Goodbye!” I yelled.
“Goodbye, vagina!” Natalie chimed in.
“Where were her pants?” Tommy asked incredulously as we walked across the parking lot to our car.
Good question, son.