This morning I took my daughter to a swimming lesson at the local leisure centre. As usual, my best friend H and I went to the spectator area to see our beautiful little six-year-old selkie-girls performing mushroom floats, swimming on their backs, and venturing into the Deep End for the first time. As usual, the vending machine with the “Out of Order” notice was working perfectly, and as usual, the other vending machine - the one without an “Out of Order” notice - was out of order.
All was well with the world, until we saw him.
Now I’m not saying that every lifeguard should look like an extra from Baywatch. In fact, there are very few ideas more revolting in life than the idea of getting one of The Hoff’s curly chest hairs stuck to your soft palate during a rescue. At the same time – and at the risk of sounding politically incorrect - I don’t expect a lifeguard to be both obese AND asleep.
So, naturally, I was concerned. Any mother would be, and especially one with a diagnosed “general anxiety disorder”. (Or as my partner prefers to call it, “a bottomless pit of need”.) The only way this lifeguard was ever going to mount a successful rescue was if his vast orange body managed to displace all the pool water on contact, and only then, if he fu**ing woke up.
But of course, nothing happened. H and I sucked on our lukewarm decaff coffees from the functioning “out of order” vending machine and distracted ourselves with talk of mini apronectomies, rogue facial hairs, and (with increasing hysteria) the pros and cons of using urethral inserts during zumba lessons. We tried hard, oh so hard, to stop ourselves from staring at the human space-hopper squeezed into an unstable high chair at the edge of the pool, in defiance of the laws of gravity, and STILL asleep. Then, at the end of the half-hour lesson, we bundled our damp, happy little girls into our cars, strapped them in safely, and went home.