I will soon be heading out for a weekend of intense research at the watering hole that inspired this Freshly Pressed post several years ago. Hope all y’all are having a great summer!
***Important Safety Tip***
Use utmost caution when interacting with Homo Sapiens Vacationus. They might look cute and cuddly, but can turn wild in an instant!
As any zoologist will tell you, the best place to observe animals in the wild is around a watering hole. When the species in question is Homo Sapiens Vacationus that means the hotel pool.
When we were on vacation last week, temperatures ranged from a low of 95 degrees to a high equivalent to the surface of the sun. This gave me ample incentive to do first-hand research at the human watering hole. Here are my field notes on the various sub-species I observed:
Kiddus Raised By Wolvus: Three siblings, approximate ages 9, 10 and 11, descended on the pool most every day. There were no parental sightings. One theory held that Mom & Dad’s idea of a fun vacation did not involve 3 preteens. They stayed in the room and kicked the kids out. Another theory was that they weren’t even staying at the hotel; that their summer-weary Mom dropped the kids off each day on her way to elsewhere.
A lifetime of fending for themselves had left these children aggressively outgoing. They had no problem approaching any and all to borrow play equipment or just to chat. The youngest horned his way into our grownup beach ball/volleyball game. We graciously let him play but immediately regretted it. Each time we hit the ball to him he tried to kill it, knocking it over everyone’s heads and out of the pool. Requests that he lighten up fell on deaf ears. After his fifth time getting out of the pool to retrieve the ball he said he was getting kind of tired and could one of us go get it the next time? Game over.
Bakus Shakus: A gaggle of bikini-clad teenage girls lay on loungers working on their tans. Every 1/2 hour or so they would rise, tie up their bikini tops and take a dip in the pool to cool off. Scant minutes later they emerged, shook off the water and went back to sunning. This ritual was eagerly observed by two other species. They were:
Dos Equus: Two teenage boys horsed around in the deep end. They seemed to be doing their best to drown one another, but were merely trying to impress the girls.
Trench Coatius Creepius: A 60-year-old man stood at the side of the pool in about 5 feet of water, not moving, with his arms spread out along the side. Dark shades hid his eyes. I could feel his gaze on me when I took off my cover-up. There’s nothing wrong with looking, but the intensity of his stare when my 20-something daughters shrugged out of their clothes activated my Creepazoid Radar. I bet this guy can be found hanging around the local high school in a trench coat in the off-season.
Eros Youngus: A 16-year-old couple played games in the shallow end. She climbed up on his shoulders and he carried her around, threatening to drop her in the water. There was a lot of squealing and clutching involved. I’m sure I wasn’t the only adult who looked at these sweet young lovers and had only one thought on her mind: should I step in before Romeo tosses Juliet right on top of one of the little kids?
Pleatherus Pleasurus: Two women “of a certain age” sat smoking and drinking in the corner. Their skin was sun-baked to the color and consistency of rawhide. They never approached the pool, but enjoyed their cocktails with increasingly loud, hoarse laughter as the afternoon (and their newest layer of pleather) baked on.
Infantus Goldenus: This pampered toddler and his doting parents carried more paraphernalia for their 1/2-hour sojourn in the pool than Stanley brought on safari, I presume. The Boy Who Would Be King was coated with sunscreen, wearing a hat and encased in a vinyl, spherical palace complete with flotation chambers, sun umbrella, and built-in tray. Captain Nemo’s ship wasn’t so water tight. Both parents hovered vigilantly to shield him lest any actual sun or water attempt to make contact.
If you’re contemplating doing some field research of your own this summer, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Those who trusted hotel room signs announcing there would be towels at the pool learned a bitter lesson. There aren’t. Always carry in your own supplies.
- Goggles. These are a must-have if going underwriter. The watering hole is usually chlorinated to the point of burning your retinas. If it isn’t, you shouldn’t be in there at all. The risk of contracting Dengue Fever from the contaminated water is just too great.
- Don’t forget the essentials: sunscreen and adult beverages.
- Making eye contact with the wildlife may be seen as a sign of aggression.
As long as you’re prepared, there’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy your encounter with Homo Sapiens Vacationus this summer. But remember this: never let them sense fear.