Normalcy is taken for granted, I suppose.
At my old pool, it was expected that toys would often linger in the deep recesses of the water, leftover from hours of toddler swim lessons or lifeguard games. But at the new pool, apparently toys are a source of wonder. Of excitement. Of, dare I say, conversation.
This morning, there were little orange toy toads at the bottom of each lane, their buggy eyes gazing up at us as we hit flip turns on the north side of the pool. I thought of Richard, and how if this was my old pool, we’d be tossing the toads to one another, enjoying diving for them and sneaking them into each other’s lane. Not a soul touched the critters here, though, so I just assumed no one had as playful a spirit as Rich.
I may have been wrong.
Post swim, I was toweling off in the locker room as three other women were in various states of undress.
“Did you see the toads at the start of each lane?” one said excitedly, zipping her comb through her hair.
“Yes! Wasn’t that something?” Another replied.
“I almost dove down to pick on up,” confessed another. “But I wasn’t sure if I should.”
I had to ask why this was such a hot talk topic.
“This has never happened before,” the first woman told me. “There have never been toys in the water.”
At that moment, I wondered if Rich had somehow found me at my new pool, and was trying to communicate with me via tiny toys. Ridiculous, I know. But how else could I explain the sudden appearance of the toads? Even the lifeguards were puzzled by them, I learned. I told the ladies of the reindeer games we had played at my old pool, but everyone seemed more interested in discussing the placement of the rubber amphibians than anything else.
“Right there at the start of each lane,” they kept saying. “It looked very deliberate.”
Deliberately dropping toads in the pool? Either someone has way too much time on their hands in this town, or someone has a wicked fun sense about them. I know I should not get used to the toys, if they are an abnormality. Still though, it would be nice to think some things remain the same across city pool lines.