Guest Post by Chris The Husband.
There are times in life when things happen in real time very quickly, but in your mind, time slows to a crawl, as your brain seizes onto reality and attempts to grapple with it. Such was Saturday, at the pool.
It was a standard late poolside July afternoon. Hot, sunny, flocks of sunscreened kids splashing in the pool and baking parents lounging on the deck with piles of damp towels, flip flops, and pool toys in nearly every chair.
I was on a break from Marco Polo and Monkey-In-The-Middle with my own kids, chilling in a lounge chair, when I saw it.
Across the pool, far from me, a short kid stood, parallel to the side of the pool, with his hands low, his head down, and a stream of liquid shooting a few feet in front of him, falling harmlessly on the already wet pool deck. He’s probably 3 years old, totally at ease, not a care in the world.
That can’t be what I think it is. There must be a water gun involved. Maybe a sprinkler behind him creating an optical illusion. This kid is not standing a foot outside the pool peeing onto the deck.
There are a hundred people in here. If that were happening surely I wouldn’t be the only one noticing. It has to just be my angle.
No, no one else is noticing this. All the kids are playing. All the parents are staring at their phones or books or magazines. All the lifeguards are looking INTO the pool. They only notice kids running on the deck, not whizzing.
Wait! Someone noticed. The dad. Oh, man, he’s panicking. I wonder what he’s gonna do?
Its hard to make logical sense of the actions humans take when they’re in a panic. We’ve all been there. Sometimes you just react.
Standing in the pool, in a very quick and purposeful manner, the dad reaches his hand up and blocks the stream of pee, about 4 inches from the output source. I’m not sure what the intent was, but in practical terms, not much changed. While minimizing the distance traveled by the stream, it was still falling onto the wet pool deck a foot from the side of the pool. It was just now first taking a detour and squirting the dad’s palm.
I could see his animated facial attempt to convince the little boy to stop urinating while unsuccessfully trying to catch it, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying over the general cacophony of the moment.
It dawned on me how this happened.
I can’t be sure, but I’d bet money on it. I’ve been a parent long enough to flub the directions.
I can almost guarantee you that this dad had told his son repeatedly, in no uncertain terms, “DO NOT PEE IN THE POOL.” Not “let me take you to the bathroom”, not “tell me when you need to go”, just the basic instruction. Keep it simple, make it count.
The kid followed these instructions to the LETTER.
Once the flow was paused, the dad leapt from the pool, escorted his son to the fence, and let him finish in the bushes. Again, nobody noticed. Everyone at the pool is focused. Except apparently, me.
The two morals of the story are: (1) Give clear directions, and (2) Don’t look up from your phone.