Pining for the Moon

Today I belted out Night Swimming while driving around the 'burbs of AZ. I was immediately transported back in time to being a teenage lifeguard at the D.C. Pool. As a kid I never went to summer camp. Just to the pool. Every. Single. Goddamn day of summer break. And then in my teens, I worked at that same pool. It was such an innocent and precious time. Then again I'm a bit addicted to nostalgia so I probably romanticize it a tad.

The lyric "I'm pining for the moon" caught my attention, nearly bringing tears to my eyes. If there's anything that could describe my current mood it'd be Pining for the Moon. I'm not even sure why. That's the thing about pining, it describes a thing that's just-out-of-reach. The moon has always been a bit of a mystery to me, so maybe that's why I'm pining for it. The mystery of the moon relates to this whole theory that lunar cycles and menstrual cycles are said to be synced. There's lots of lore around the moon and its cycles in the spiritual worlds in which I play. Sometimes I even do moon-related rituals. I guess on some level I just do them because that's what people in my spiritual circles do. But honestly, I just don't know much about the moon. I let it be a mystery. A thing that's out of reach. Maybe on some level it represents my own femininity (which is perpetually just out of my reach). 

As an aside, Night Swimming came out on Automatic for the People by REM in 1992. I worked at the D.C. Pool from 2000 - 2003. Therefore, when that song was played while us lifeguards were literally night swimming after hours, it was an unfamiliar song to me. Back then we couldn't stream songs. I don't even think I knew who sang it, so I couldn't go buy the CD. It took me another couple years before I heard it again and I was immediately brought to tears. It still pings the memory of swimming in the pool I grew up going to day-in-and-day-out. 

And now I'm back in nostalgia. Those memories from the D.C. Pool  are so prolific that it seems as if 1 in 10 of my stored memories happened at, or en route to, the D.C. Pool. Riding my bike to and from the pool was like a whole production of its own. If there was one word that could sum up that time in my life, it'd be a screaming lifeguard yelling "WALK!" at a kid who was running full speed on wet concrete. I was both the kid and the lifeguard, depending on the era. Note: that reference probably means nothing unless you were a lifeguard at an outdoor pool that detested when kids run. You see lifeguards have to deal with a lot of blood on the job and we are constantly trying to avoid seeing a kid crack their skull open. Hence yelling WALK at them on repeat.

Please be warned that I'm not going to poignantly land this plane, you guys. I'm just writing for the sake of writing at this point. Vomiting out my thoughts if you will. And I think I have one last thought to get out. How do my untouched femininity and my love for chlorinated bodies of water connect? 

Do you ever feel like childhood was ripped from you without consent? I do. And for some reason my memories from the, they are the shit. The good kinda shit. The pool gave me such a release. It represented freedom. I cannot remember ever getting bored. Then, one day, it was like...over. Childhood was over. But I found a workaround. I clung to the last shreds of childhood in my lifeguarding days. We still played. We still had fun. It was still rarely boring (well, maybe a little boring, especially if it'd been a while since anyone cracked their skull open on the wet concrete). And then there was the Night Swimming...


Eventually it was all gone. Like truly gone gone. The old D.C. Pool has been filled in and is a parking lot for the new water park that was built next door. I was even asked to volunteer on some special task force that raised funds for the new pool. And I said yes! There's never a great sendoff for a childhood playground, but that was the best I could muster.

I've not yet made the connection between chlorinated bodies of water and my untouched femininity. The plane has not landed. That's what nostalgia will do for me . . . it's a little druglike. 


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