This summer, aka Hey Isn't It Great That Covid Is Over OH NO DELTA, we've been spending alot of time in the complex pool.
This is the standard pool in a complex as old as this. Nearly every eye-line is covered with warnings that there are no life guards on duty. There are life saving .. tools? Nearby. Nobody knows how to use them. The list of rules of what can and cannot be done has been crafted and edited to include nearly everything you can think of that would SEEM innocuous until that one family from unit 12 ruins it for everyone.
There is a changing room, building of sorts. It's been updated enough to let you know that people still use it but not enough for you to mistake it was first designed when the AMC Gremlin seemed like a pretty good idea.
The pool itself is what you would expect, a vast cement container filled with chlorinated water that gets progressively suspect as the day goes on. But when the temperature is 30C, well, anything that cools you off is welcome.
Because it's a family pool, there is a defined set of people who frequent it.
Young(ish) parents (well, let's be honest, usually moms) with their babies to toddlers. These folks usually hang out in the shallow end, make the dreaded small talk; bond over small tragedies and triumphs of child-rearing. The ups and downs which have been lost to me, as my kids are old enough to make snarky comments while watching 'Friends'. I'm pretty sure that if I was in trouble in the water, they'd be able to pull ME out.
Older parents with their tweens to (rarely) teens*. Again, these adults usually just bob in the shallow end, making small talk about decidedly Adult Things: Sports, listing off (because this is Canada) various Scandinavian names of professional hockey players who may or may not be the hope that this godforsaken team needs; probably the various things we've been trying and failing to keep ourselves sane.
Older folks, who may have had kids, maybe not, but they've earned the right to not give the littlest concern either way. They too, are usually bobbing near the shallow end.
Then there is me, my kids, and my kids friends, playing Marco Polo. The only proper use of a swimming pool. Well, for my kids it's that and swimming laps during the winter because they can't be bothered to be interested in any sports so, laps it is. Oddly enough this hasn't scarred them from enjoying the pool in general.
We mark off our game area by the depth level markers, which we initially thought were 21 meters to 25 meters, carefully reading and paying attention to punctuation has correct that to the 2.1m and the 2.5m mark. Common sense, added to the observation we are not a NASA training facility should have told us there is no part of the pool that's 25m in depth. We still use the wrong numbering system though, because if the United States and Liberia can stick to the Imperial System, we can ignore a decimal.
To avoid being Those Kids (and one weird adult) we will change our markers if there are too many people on the shallow end, who eventually drift into our domain. This is a considerate thing to do, but also I don't want to pull That One Neighbour I Awkwardly Wave To When I Throw Out The Compost into a game of Marco Polo.
Marco Polo is great, the panic, the frantic swimming, the fooling yourself into getting exercise because you'll be damned if Little Jimmy tags you again. There will always be the odd kid we don't know that we invite to play with us after they sit on the outskirts, mournfully staring at us. The odd kid is usually younger than my kids, and invariably cheats relentlessly. The great thing about this is my kids know, I know, and we just let it slide. I mean, we get it, we've seen the other end of the pool. Who wants to be there, and submit themselves to endless small talk? Or hanging out with the really small kids? It's like a lesser circle of hell reserved for people who play their music outloud in transit and people who have a very strong opinion on how to make coffee.
Sometimes I'll hear a comment that, 'oh, isn't it nice that man is playing with his children'. And I do feel guilty. I mean, yes, Marco Polo is great, but so is avoiding discussions on the third paragraph subsection C on the previous months strata council resolution. It's equal parts playing marco polo and NOT making the tottering verbal bumbles into adulthood that I try so hard to avoid.
Well, that and being Marco.