July 09, 2012
Common Senseless, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 28
I'm thinking of starting a Common Sense Bank: Folks can call me anytime, and I absolutely do mean anytime, especially between 10 PM and 5 AM when most un-common-sense incidents occur. Yeah, I’ll almost always answer the phone, because I’m awake anyway, and will accordingly advise how to approach any problem with common sense - for a fee of course. Case in point:
I arrived at the pool ready for my nightly oasis to wash away the ridiculousness of the day. As I’m staking out my chair, I notice something in the water, and that nobody else is in the water. There are three guys and a girl in the hot tub, and there are two guys throwing a football over the pool, but no one is in it. I don’t wear my glasses to swim so in my limited squinty eye-sight, the floating thing seems to be a chipmunk. I scoot around to the other side of the deck where I can get a closer look and discover it is not a rodent, but rather a deceased baby duck. It looks as if his neck is broken, and he is definitely dead and bloated.
First common sense thought I have is to grab the strainer and skim him out. However, the strainer isn’t anywhere obvious, and I realize I and another swimmer-with-intent are curiously alone with the situation now. I decide to call maintenance to alert them of the problem.
Me: Hello, Maintenance Answering Service? I'm calling to report there's a dead duck in the pool.
Answering Svc: A dead duck? Well, I suppose I can take that message or you can call back tomorrow.
Me: (I pause because I’m momentarily stumped by the suggestion I call back tomorrow.) Um, please take the message, it’s important. Thanks.
So, the two of us are now debating the dead duck. If we can find a way to scoop it out, without getting into the water ourselves, and then we both leave the pool area, no one will be aware that it was ever there, which will lead to others possibly swimming in dead duck water. If we leave the little guy in there, contamination multiplies, and I’m thinking that would become a health department issue. Mama duck has flown in by now. Swooping low a few times and then braving the water. She keeps putting her billed snout in the water and scooping up and blowing water out of her nose rather violently.
Out of nowhere, a youngster cannonballs into the shallow end of the pool. I didn’t hear him coming and there is no one else with him. I jump up and explain to the little thrasher that he should probably get out of the pool right now, due to the dead duck. That elicits a blood-curdling scream, more thrashing about to get out of the pool, and when he finally achieves that, he heads out, presumably home. I no longer see the duckling and surmise that waves have moved him into one of the intake ports. To confirm, I remove the cover and peer in, and there he is. In the process of putting the cover back in place an adult apparently in charge of the thrasher stomps in with two other kids. “I don’t see any duck,” he says to me. I explain about the thrashing and the waves and the port. So, the brilliant I’m-hoping-he’s-not-the-father tells the three children to go play in too-nuclear-for-even-me hot tub. The hot tub. Again, I am stumped by the stupidity, but he already seems belligerent and me suggesting his children might have their skin burned or boiled off seems like a bad idea. Instead, I try the answering service, again.
Me: I called earlier about the dead duck in the pool. I really think you should call someone tonight.
Answering Svc: A dead duck? That's not on the list of approved emergencies I'm authorized to call about.
Me: I imagine it's not, however...
I proceed to outline why it's not a good idea to let dead duck muck in a community pool overnight, and explain the unaccompanied child factor and mention the health department might be interested in this.
The answering services agrees to make the call.
I then spend the next 20 minutes encouraging more unaccompanied minors not to use the pool. Pool rules state children must be accompanied by parent. Oh, and there's no diving or jumping into the pool, either. I can only attribute this lack-of-common-sense to a faulty gene pool.
What sort of parent sends their child to a known un-life-guarded pool without supervision? So, maybe, their apt overlooks the pool so they think they can keep an eye on them. However, if something goes wrong, they won’t be poolside to drag their unresponsive child out of the water. I, or some other sucker with common sense, would be left do it for them. Because most likely, even though these are not our kids, we’re paying attention because feel a little responsible for their welfare, which would probably end up getting sued for something.
Two young ladies who reminded me of my village days in NYC shuffle in, so I intercept them with my now standard warning about not getting into the water with a dead duck. “Yuck!" one of them exclaims, as they proceed to wander to the far side of the pool, plop down on the edge and dangle their legs in the water while playing with the circulation jets. Ok, so they don’t remind me of me as a teenager, especially after one of them squeals, “Oh, look! I can see the dead duck from here!” Amid all this, there were in fact two very respectful children who appreciated my advice – strangely they were the same ones who couldn’t figure out how to get out of the way of swimmers in the swim lane on a previous night. I will admit they had a rather apprehensive look when I approached them as they were de-shorting and de-shoeing. However, they thanked me very much, put their shoes and shorts back on and left.
I follow their suit and leave this group of people with unfounded high hopes that they can competently pass the information on to others. Two more teenage girls giggled in as I was headed out, and I believe they were appropriately horrified by my news. But then, again, I thought the other two girls were horrified, too, and look what happened there.
On the way back to my expensive apartment (nope, not over that, yet) maintenance returns my call, and informs me that there should be enough chemicals in the pool to make it still ok for swimming. I don’t go there but I’m thinking, sure, but if a part floats around and some kid plays with it or eats it or its bloated body bursts in the circulation bay and it now spewing dead duck pieces all over, when the circulation jets are turned off overnight and the brew steeps and breeds bacteria… maybe I worry too much. Or maybe nobody else worries enough.
Posted by jaselin at July 9, 2012 04:53 PM