Waiting at the Natatorium
January 23, 2020
The worst thing about waiting for the kids to finish swim practice is that it's so hard to do anything but wait.
A lot of days, my first choice would be to take a nap. I've managed a few, but there's an almost constant clomp of kids mvoing in and out. Practice times are staggered between the different groups of kids. and it takes a while between the time I get there and the time when things calm down.
There are daily reunions of kids that go to different schools, all with news to share. There's the steady vibration dropping bags, pulling off shoes, kicking shoes back on to wet feet. On dry workout days, there are more interludes for hurried stripping of outerwear and then rushing back to swim lanes. It's even hard to sit and read, much less try to fall asleep.
Audiobooks work okay, but what I really like to do is to make up names and stories about the kids and parents that I see coming and going. And if I'm really being honest, I'm not creative enough to make up stories -- I just mentally file them into the tropes from John Hughs movies.
There's one young kid, waiting for an even younger sister, who is never without his small, purple LSU football. I want to ask him to throw it around, but he's been taught not to talk to strangers, and I'm too worried about seeming like a weirdo, so we both just sit, bored and quiet.
By 5:45 or so, eveyone who is swimming is usually at their practice, leaving four or five parents plus a couple of siblings spread out in the bleachers. You can start to hear the echoey pop music playing through the natatorium speakers, probabbly from one of the coach's phones. I wonder if I could catch a quick nap.