Friday, October 7, 2016

Water under the bridge.

Ah, summer at the pool...


Isn't that nice?

Not mine, but a yard I happened to pass a few weeks ago while walking the dog. I really admire the way they set it all up. When I passed by there yesterday the pool was sealed up like Tupperware for the fall.

When we got our house, I kind of wanted a pool; my wife definitely wanted one. But I knew how much trouble swimming pools are to maintain. They require daily effort, unless you hire a pool guy, and I wouldn't have been able to afford the pool, let alone the pool service. So I would have been spending time and money daily on something that we'd have used for three months out of the year. In these northern climes, you can pretty much only get in that water June through maybe part of September; the rest of the time it's like you joined the Polar Bear Club.

So the pool takes up a lot of money and yard space, and swimming pools notoriously add little value to house. And yet, if you use it, it's worth the time, trouble, and money.

Except most of the pools I see around here are not used. I've never seen a soul in many of the ones I pass regularly. Spring comes, the cover comes off; fall comes, the cover goes on. No one's been in the water. Maybe they're all flopping around like seals at midnight while I'm in bed. But I doubt it.

And no, I'm not obsessed with looking into people's pools.

I just think they're a mistake, at least in the north. Maybe in the south it's more of a thing, although even down there the water gets cold in the winter. Maybe in the north people used their swimming pools more before the ubiquity of air conditioning and the explosion of in-home entertainment.

When I was a kid we had six TV channels and no air conditioning. I think we'd have used the pool every day in the summer. Or would we?

Ultimately we human beings get used to everything good. We take things for granted, then we forget about them. Then, if we are deprived of something, even something we don't use, it's infuriating. I once heard a wealthy man, not a man who was born wealthy, say that he'd been embarrassed by his own behavior after he lost his patience when flying a regular commercial flight. Thing was, he'd gotten used to private jets and helicopters. Having to fly---the miracle of human aviation!---in a regular plane with regular people was a horrific experience for him. And then he understood why celebrities and high-level politicians begin to act like such bastards when they don't get their way---because they're used to all the good stuff and expect it all the time.

That's why stuff  does not matter, in the end. Stuff can do us in. Marie in The Jerk said, "I don't care about losing all the money. It's losing all the stuff." Because she'd become addicted to the stuff.

So, a swimming pool and people to take care of it and everything else? Fine, but I'll pass. I'm spoiled enough as it is.

Anyway, I still can't afford it.
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