Confessions of a Pool Crasher
#Floridawoman strikes again
I was coping well with Covid restrictions, including loneliness, events I was looking forward to being cancelled, and a variety of ailments including a bad back which meant I couldn’t take walks at the beach. My only respite was swimming.
Until I got thrown out of the pool at Century Village. That was the last straw. I’ve now officially lost it.
Let me back up here.
Until last April I lived in Century Village, a crowded 55+ community with thousands of residents in Deerfield Beach, Florida. It’s gated which means you need a bar code or a resident’s permission to get in. In the winter the place is mostly Canadian snowbirds, many of whom don’t even speak English.
I have nothing against Canadians in principle. Except I don’t like them. They are superficially polite but extremely clannish and not friendly. They stick to their own kind. It used to piss me off that the Canadians in my building would get together every day for a drink at the picnic table outside and never ask me to join them.
I moved up the road about a mile to an ungated smaller all-ages condo community. I love my new community. It’s actually pretty—white stucco with spanish tile roofs— where most Florida condo complexes are hideous beige barracks-like compounds or pretentious villas in golf communities. I have a patio on a body of water which might be a lake or drainage canal. I prefer to consider it a lake and so do the ducks, ibis, storks, herons and iguanas that hang out there. I would not want to swim in it, however. Alligators may have gotten there first.
There is a pool in this community, but it is small, without hot showers, or tables, or accessible features. You’re not supposed to eat at the pool. Worse, there are—gasp—young people at this pool. Some of them even have actual children who like to play in the pool. I do like children, but from a distance-- not in my pool where they tend to throw rubber objects and paddle around in all directions while I’m trying to do laps.
But the real reason I avoid the pool here is that I’m self-conscious of my wrinkles and flab in front of the toned and bikini-ed teens and young parents. I am more comfortable with my own kind—the un-toned and skirt-suited at Century Village.
My solution was to drive a short distance to my old pool at Century Village, which is bigger and has lanes for laps, where I could rinse off in the hot shower apres swim, munch on a sandwich and relax amongst my wrinkled and flabby peers. It was more crowded and noisier but at least everyone was chatting in a language I blessedly don’t understand. I still had the bar code on my car to get past the gate so it was easy.
Until I was outed.
I still have no idea who turned me in. it had to be a Canadian, but not one of them knows me or knew where I lived. Maybe someone who bore a grudge against me was lurking. Could it have been an associate of my former condo commando building president who hated my guts since I complained about him on social media? Of course, that was after he stalked and harassed me. He wasn’t Canadian but he was evil enough to have associates among the Quebecois Mafia (yes, there is one)
Canadians can be maniacal rule enforcers. I’d already been reprimanded by one for washing my hair in the shower despite the “no soap” sign. And while whining about being thrown out of the pool, a friend told me a story about a pool swimmer at a senior community near me which was all Canadian. She and her husband were the only year round residents in the place. During the pandemic lockdown, Florida community pools were closed. Since Canadians were blessedly stuck in Canada, she figured she could use the pool safely. As the only one there she could hardly spread the virus. She hadn’t bargained for the security camera. It was monitored from Canada by the HOA president who caught her in the pool and called her to threaten reprisals if she did it again.
So, I’m sitting peacefully at the pool in Century Village, sunning myself after my swim, when two security guards approach me. Initially, they were polite,
“Excuse me” the skinny white one addressed me. The chubby black one just glared. “Can you show me your ID card.”
“It’s in my car,” I replied.
“Can you get it for me?” he asked politely
“It’s a long way to the car. I’ll just leave,” I offered and started packing up my stuff. I knew they’d just confiscate it. I wanted to hold onto it just in case I could use it on another occasion.
He asked my name and where I lived and I knew the jig was up. I gave him my former Century Village address and of course he checked his phone and there was no one with my name living there.
How did you get in here? His tone had switched from polite to you-know-you-did-something-bad-you-naughty-girl.
I explained I still had the bar code on my car.
“I want to see that ID,” he insisted.
“I don’t actually have one,” I admitted, with a shrug.
“But you said you had it,” he sounded like a whiny kid whose mom denies she has his toy. “Your bar code wouldn’t have worked without it. I want that ID.” I don’t know why he cared. Maybe security guards got a bonus for confiscated expired ID cards.
I was surprised how humiliating it felt to have to lie to this whippersnapper who could have been my grandson.
“No, it was already confiscated,” I lied again.
He was obviously flustered because he knew he had no way to get it. A real cop might have threatened to search my car but he was no real cop.
“If we see you here again, we’ll call the police and have you arrested,” he stared menacingly at me.
That was a ridiculous threat. The police in Florida have a lot more to do than throw old ladies out of pools. They didn’t even show up for a car accident I was in because no one was injured. I wondered if the security guard hated old women. Would he have been so mean if I’d been a hot young babe in a bikini? Somehow, I doubt it.
I retrieved my belongings and headed for the exit. He followed me, where I found the other one scraping the bar code off my car.
I drove off in a rage, fantasizing revenge. I realized I’d narrowly avoided becoming a #Floridawoman. I can see the headline now: 79-year-old Florida woman arrested for pushing security guard into pool.
“I just wanted to take a swim,” she said, trying to justify her behavior. “Is that a crime?”
I'm rather new to Florida condo living - but it seems to me in my community the pool is truly well regarded and guarded! Having lived in a similar community in Arizona, the same was true there. There is always a sense of "communal ownership"!
Great. Sorry about the pool incident. There are so many pools around town. Try another one. Or the JCC has a pool - maybe you can join.