Sunblock, sweat and chlorine make up the perfume that follows Lifeguards and Swim Instructors around wherever they go. Even if it's only a seasonal job, it stays. I'm pretty sure that I still smell like chlorine and Banana Boat every time I shower. It's a happy scent, and nostalgic; it brings back memories of endless summer days with hair drifting in the afternoon breeze and the sounds of children laughing and jumping into the pool.
Or, you know, the sound of them screaming for no reason, a whistle blowing in warning, and frustrated sighs from lifeguards attempting to keep little tater-tots from jumping into the deep end.
If you have been a Lifeguard or Swim Instructor at a pool or water park, you have almost certainly experienced these:
1. Children walking three steps until they think you're not looking, then sprinting.
Me: *Blows whistle* "No running!"
Kid: "Aww, how did you even see me?!"
Me: "I'm magic."
Also you were still 5 feet away from me, so...
2. "Let's see who can hold their breath the longest!"
Let's not and say we did, okay?
3. Kids running anyway, even after a warning, and falling and getting hurt.
Me, internally: Okay, don't let those puppy eyes get to you. You *told* them not to run, and they did. Just bandage it up, and send them on their way.
Kid: *pouts* *gives puppy dog eyes* *whimpers*
Me: "Aww, it's okay, cutie! We'll get you all fixed up! Accidents happen! What a cute lil kiddo."
4. The "I'm going to try and step off the stairs even though I can't swim" game.
Me: "Okay, Brookie Two's! Let's back up so we don't accidentally fall off, okay? I may be a lifeguard but I don't want to take chances!
Trouble Maker: "Hahaha, but it would be so funny to see you save us!"
Later, TM *steps off edge* *panics, realizes he can't swim*
Me: *rolls eyes* *brings him safely back to stairs* "Well? Why did you do that? You know you can't swim yet!"
TM: "W-well I just, I thought I could, and then, but you saved me!"
4. "If I drown you have to give me mouth-to-mouth. Nice!"
Just... ew. Please, go flirt with someone your own age.
5. Code brown.
It means exactly what you think it means.
6. "Can I *please* do a backflip off the diving board?"
No. The answer is always no. No amount of pouting will help you this time, bud.
7. "It's cold, can we cancel lessons?"
I wish, kid, I really do. Be thankful that you get to go home after this, I have 5 more sets of lessons!
8. Little kid: *giggles* I just peed. It's *warm*.
How can something so cute do something so nasty? I will never know.
9. The permanent tan lines.
I still have a circle on my back from my lifeguard and swim instructor days. No amount of intentional tanning can destroy it!
10. Lifeguarding or teaching in the rain.
If you work at an indoor pool or water park, consider yourself lucky. Standing out in the pouring rain because three bored teenagers decided to show up is awful. So is watching your cute little nuggets shiver and try their best to do the lesson even though it's physically hard.
11. All the bloody noses.
At least one per shift. I don't know what it is, but someone always hits the water a little too hard, or dives a little too deep, and manages to interrupt my break with a bloody nose.
12. "Tread for five minutes with your hands above your head.
And other fun tests and trials. No thanks.
13. Forgetting your sunglasses and coming to terms with the fact that you'll be blind at the end of the shift.
14. Trying (and failing) to teach children how to do the butterfly.
Here, watch me look like a drowning moth, then mimic me. You'll never use this stroke unless you join the swim team, but let's do it anyway.
So, do you want to work at a pool yet? Besides the gross and annoying things, it's by far the most enjoyable job I've had. I'll take the sunburns and screaming if it means chillin' in the sun with friends and teaching adorable children that they can float.