I don’t usually like to state the obvious, but y’all, it’s hot. Like, it’s so hot I think Al Gore might be onto something. Not really, but as I write this at 6:54 pm, it’s 106 degrees. In June. August isn’t looking good for making it home with unmelted ice cream from the grocery store. Or electric bills. Or walking to the mailbox without breaking a sweat. Or not living in Alaska.
When it’s this hot for long periods of time, backyard swimming pools start to feel more like bath water. What you need is a larger body of water. Like, say, what you might find at a water park. Yep, it’s a hot List Wednesday.
Just a few water park observations:
The Lazy River isn’t very lazy at all. It pulls you in with the idea of laziness. Surely only lazy people, much like myself, would enter such a thing. But no. Not 30 seconds after you’ve firmly planted your backside in the middle of an inner-tube, here comes a pack of 11-year-old boys racing freestyle. They think they’re swimming smoothly and unnoticed around the inner tubers, much like you might imagine Michael Phelps would swim freestyle through the Lazy River, only they don’t have that kick part down quite yet. You might be able to get your shin out of the way in time, but you don’t, because you’re a lazy person trapped in an inner-tube.
Not long after those shin-kickers pass you, you become so fascinated with the teenage couple making out up ahead that you almost forget your pain. You try not to stare, but come on, it’s really impressive. They’re not in tubes, they’re on foot, and they’re moving expertly with the flow of inner-tube traffic. It must be very difficult to multitask that way in such a strong current. Also, I’m fairly certain there’s a lot of urine in the lazy river. It seems like that might take some of the romance out of the whole experience. That is some kind of uncanny focus those two have…
While you’re pondering the physics of making out in a strong water current, you notice that other lazy people in inner-tubes are somehow passing by you. If you’re like me, this makes you anxious. It bothers me when people pass me in the Lazy River – especially when I’m being passed by people who must be heavier than I am. Just who do they think they are? And how in the world are they passing you? Shouldn’t lighter objects float faster along the river’s current? You work your way over to the side and give yourself a good shove off the wall to speed things up. You pass those Lazy River losers and regain your position in the lead, just in time to notice that you missed the exit point. Now you’re trapped in the Lazy River circle of life.
Let’s talk about the rides. There’s a lot going on in water slide lines. It’s kind of like a singles bar for teenagers. The line for the Hawaiian Half-pipe is where those two who were making out in the Lazy River first met a couple of hours ago. On top of that, you have to lug a tube or mat up several flights of stairs. And you’re lazy, remember? To make it even more taxing, the people behind you in line constantly shove you in the backside with their tubes, like it’s your fault the line isn’t moving faster. Back off, people!
Your evil eye must have worked, because they do back off slightly, but then you realize you’re standing in a long line of people, in your swimsuit. It’s a bit awkward. You can’t look straight ahead, because there’s a person on the step above you, and his/her backside is pretty much directly at eye level. This means that your backside is at someone else’s eye level. So you turn and feign interesting conversation with the people behind you.
As you do, you have to admit, the feeling of superiority you get from being higher up than the people behind you is nice, especially when you notice that you’re in line ahead of those people who tried to beat you in the Lazy River race. Also, it’s a nice vantage point up there to look down on all the little people below…right up until the part when you spot some guy digging through your bag that you left under your lounge chair. And from where you stand, there’s not a dern thing you can do about it.
They don’t always tell you what you need to know on those rides. Maybe it would help if they renamed some of them. For instance, The Torpedo should probably be called The Wedgie. I’m just saying that it’s important information to pass along if the ride has a surface like a cheese grater. If you knew that, you would lift your rear end and wouldn’t be compelled to shout, “Owwww! owwww! My butt! My butt!” and end the ride with everyone laughing at you as your 13-year-old daughter vows to never ever ride a water slide with you again. Hypothetically speaking.
Here’s a good idea, let’s simulate a tsunami and call it The Wave Pool. Kids will love it! – Except maybe for a dimly lit inner city street at 3 am on a Saturday night, lined with bars playing music so loud that you can’t hear the gunshots, the wave pool is perhaps the most nerve-wracking place on the planet for parents of small children.Who would take their child to the ocean, give him an inner tube when there’s a storm surge and say, “Okay, Billy, have fun. But be careful out there. Those are some big waves.” No one.
Also, there is a lot of urine in there. And people making out.
If I were a lifeguard at a water park…I’d be blowing my whistle all day long. I’d come home from work saying, “It was a good day. No one got hurt, unless you count that lady who took one in the shin in the Lazy River. But my cheeks really hurt from all the whistle-blowing. While I was standing there today, I decided I want to take off a couple of weeks so we can go on a road trip this summer. I was thinking Alaska….”