When I arrived at the natatorium this morning, I looked forward to a leisurely trip in the Lazy River moving water section of the pool, as Saturday morning is "adult swim", and the Lazy River lacks caroming youth at that time.
In the large shallow pool, though, dozens upon dozens of moms and dads with little infants were waltzing one another around the shallow pool--I suppose it was not a literal waltz, although that has a nice Harry Potter image to it. Instead, I mean that they were all walking their infants while holding them just in the water, making a cooing murmur as they reassured them, like so many doves.
I was enjoying the solitary circling of the adjacent river, coos and murmurs in the background, when the moderator of the infant swim class apparently announced that it was time for all to move over to the Lazy River. I found myself behind a young man of between one and three, who expressed in unmistakeable tones of tears his dissatisfaction with the arrangements. His father, of a less sensitive make, exhorted the young tad with questions about whether said young tad intended to be a "crybaby". I reflected on the fact that while I frequently feel that modern children should be taught perspective (and chess), and largely "get over it" all, the "crybaby" method of expressing this view does not appeal to me.
Ultimately, I got used to a kind of rhythm of floating in line behind a scourge of infants, and enjoyed the laps about until they adjourned to more pressing business.
I went to the video store and rented two DVDs. Ahead of me in line were a mother and two children. One of those toddlers, perhaps four, threw a foot-stamping temper tantrum over the withholding of some key benefit of living. The mother adopted an "ignore the problem" laissez faire approach, which also did not appeal to me.
I am better at raising pet rocks than at child rearing theories.
In today's mail, I received back a set of poems I had submitted to a poetry contest a few months ago. I had known already that someone else had won. Along with the poems, the contest sponsor fellow wrote me a nice handwritten note. He said that:
"The reader of your manuscript thoroughly enjoyed it. She thought it 'lovely, clear, expressing all facets of life. I kept turning the page, read through it twice. It's that good' ".
He went on to say I made that reader's semi-finalist list, but did not win. I never understand why those nineteenth century folks needed patent remedy tonics, when a word of unexpected praise does such a wonderful job at reviving the troops.
Best of all, I have a contest-ready manuscript back in my hands again. It's largely poetry I've composed here on LiveJournal. I must get a new issue of Poets and Writers and put it back into play. Contests are long shots, to me, but it's a good way to subsidize small presses, similar to a good, long cake walk for the soul.