October 5, 2009

The True Boys and Girls of Summer

Lifeguard tower 4 at the foot of Brighton Street, Ocean Beach. 1997.

Himself: Found an Exacto carving set at the swapmeet for two bucks, and talked a seller down from fifty to thirty on two watercolors…..the frames are worth 150 each. The budget is still fine as are the savings. Played games in the afternoon and did service work later at a meeting.

Herself: Walked slowly. Wanted the frames. Bought three quilting books and a cookbook at the swapmeet. Began dumping stuff off this hard drive but ended up confused. Helped put out trashcans and take them in later.

Reading: A J. Kellerman where the good guys are arguing. My tolerance for anger and negativity in any form seems to be growing. Stress reaction, I presume.

Balance: Being able to sit and read all by myself for half an hour.

The days grow shorter again. I have a few moments to sit and read out in the car before the meeting, but the sun sets before I have many pages read. I laugh at myself. Our endless summer is almost over.

The new lifeguard towers still sit out along on the city beaches. Towers like old Number 4 were given to the Tijuana Lifeguard service, but were held at the border for months until the politics were shuffled around enough for politics.

Lifeguard training began last week for the next year’s season. These hopefuls must complete a swim in a certain amount of time then undergo 80 hours of training at a local college campus. They used to train at the OB and MB towers.

Those who pass the course have a good chance of getting hired as seasonal guards. If they are exceptional guards, there is a tiny chance they can be picked up for year round work if an opening appears. If they are strong ocean swimmers, they go to the ocean towers. If they are good, but not good enough to battle tall surf, they are sent to a tower along the edge of mission bay.

Once a year lifeguards from around the world get together for a competition. Long, long ago and far away, the Ocean Beach lifeguards won the San Diego Lifeguard Relays. Rowing, running, pulling, working in tandem on various relays, the excitement hung in the air like crème fraiche that year. Here they are caught pulling the landline, and later caught so proudly posing for the newspaper in front of old Unit Number One.

They really are the true boys and girls of summer.

1 comment:

  1. Your post makes me feel very nostalgic, even though I was never part of such a scene.


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George coming down Peter’s hall that’s lined with wood and artifacts from wonderful ocean liners of the past .             We ...