Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Pool Incident

37 years of piss, vinegar and supreme sarcasm shot out at me through the eyes of my friend Stacy's sister Dina. I knew I shouldn't have cracked that joke about her. I can't even remember what I said anymore. It is all a blur. All I remember is the look of utter determination in her eyes, the vengeance, the low down, dirty dogma of it all... All I knew - was this: I was not going in that pool. Celebrating this country's independence day on July 3rd, my friend Stacy and her husband John had a cookout at their house. Their family reminds me of the Brad Paisley song "Two People Fell in Love". The dining room table was laden with good ol' fashioned cookout food (something I've learned to appreciate coming from a middle eastern family who fills their table with olives, hummus and taboule). There was plenty of cold beer and when I got to Stacy's I was armed with a six pack and I even allowed myself a cigarette or two - which I justified with the thought that Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin would probably have insisted on a smoke to celebrate. We sat out in the backyard in our lawn chairs with our beer, my friend Jen and I making jokes about...well everyone, really. Soon enough the men all gathered for horseshoes - a game I still don't understand the point of. If anyone would care to elaborate - please do. The only reason I even watched them was because John's delightfully handsome cousin was among the players. The conversation was lively, the friends were together and I had been laughing so hard my sides hurt. That's when Dina threw her nephew Gavin, into the pool. She'd been filling up those foam hollow "noodles" with water and whipping them at those of us sitting in chairs and brave little Gavin stepped up to the plate...only to be chased around the pool, tackled to the ground and thrown in - shoes and all. I felt the air change around me - it was on now. Anything could happen. Anyone could get thrown in. You had to be aware. You had to be on your toes. You had to be quiet and inconspicuous if you wanted to survive - two things I am not. Jamie was the 2nd victim. John's wonderfully handsome - did I mention that already? - cousin and his other cousin, Ricky spotted his sister drinking beer near the pool. She should have known. She was standing out in the middle of the backyard. Nobody was around her. She was a doe in an open field. The men made their way up to her and she stood there - no fight - no defense. In a swift motion they grabbed her by her arms and legs, lifted her up and hoisted her in. Splash. The air was unstable then. Now it was anybody's guess. The chaos was just beginning. That's when my "shut your ass up" filter in my brain failed - and I made a crack at Dina. Her words, her retorts - all of them are just incomprehensible mumbles in my head. I just saw this massive force coming at me. I knew only one thing - I was not going in that pool. She was clever. She went for my legs. I didn't let them up. I put her in a head lock and tried to keep her body from overtaking mine. She pushed me towards the deck. I sat down and she grabbed my leg. There was nothing for me to grab hold of. I knew that she was either going to pull me right off - and I'd most likely hit my head, get dragged over to the pool and subsequently thrown in with some help from the men...or she was going to throw my shoe in. Like a beacon in the night, like Superman out of the sky, like Wonder Woman's lasso - Stacy's voice appeared overhead. I heard her tell Dina not to throw me in - and I was saved... Or so I thought. I got up to go back to my lawn chair and I was hit from behind. That Dina should have been a linebacker for the Bears. Spinning around, I fell to my knees and she pulled me backward. I thought - oh god, oh god, oh god... I know, I should have been thinking up a strategy - but I was caught of guard! Then, like the parting of the red sea - the two of us just separated. It was a planned tackle. I was safe from the pool. I have a sick feeling that next time...I may not be so lucky.

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