Smile Politely

The Unwritten Rules of the Pool

I went to Sholem Aquatic Center yesterday to enjoy the water and the sun on my day off. Sholem must be the place to be this summer because usually when I go there it is crowded and I can never find an empty poolside chair or an inner tube for the lazy river.

But this day I was lucky and found an empty chair. I plopped down my towel and flip-flops and reclined for a few minutes to enjoy the sunshine.

The chair next to me had a couple of pairs of flip-flops on it. In case you are unfamiliar with the unwritten rules of the pool, when you see peoples’ belongings on a pool chair, it means that that chair is taken. By putting something on a chair you “save” it so no one else can sit there.

So while I was lying there baking in the sun with my eyes closed, enjoying the wonderful summertime sounds of kids laughing and splashing, my serenity was interrupted by the annoying, metallic, scraping sound of someone sliding a pool chair across the deck. I opened my eyes half-way and saw a blurry figure pulling away the chair that was next to me.

A little while later, a woman and her kids came to where the chair used to be. She made some kind of disgusted comment about how someone threw her things on the floor and took her chair.

The unwritten rules of the pool had been violated.

What I would like to know is how do all of you readers feel about these unwritten rules of the pool? I admit, I’m kind of on the fence regarding this issue. On the one hand, I don’t like it when I want to lie in the sun for a while but I can’t find a place to recline because everyone is using the poolchairs as if they were lockers. But on the other hand, once I find a chair and want to jump in the pool for a while, I want to make sure I still have a chair when I get out.

So what’s the solution?

Do you agree with these social mores of the swimming pool that say it is OK to save a chair for indefinite lengths of time when you aren’t even using it and while other people actually want to sit down? Have you ever had your belongings removed from a chair you saved and if so, what did you do about it?

Or maybe you yourself have knocked other folks’ stuff on the ground in order to take their chair and if so, what’s your rationale for doing so?

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