Okay so I’m guilty of age discrimination. Sometimes I just want the old lady to walk just a little faster so I can get my shit in the store and be out in less than say, the two hours it’s taking her. Lately I’ve been helping a friend out [she's way short staffed] and getting a few bucks myself, by lifeguarding. I worked at this same club in HS but never really had the chance [or was never bored enough] to strike up a convo with the many MANY older people who frequent the pool. It’s really sad because I now know these people have such amazing stories.
I mean one of my favorite guys John, comes in everyday and swims the exact same length in a fairly close amount of time from day to day. When I asked him about this one day, he started to tell me about being in the Army and the discipline it required. Another day we got to talking about where I went to school. Once he found out it was Savannah, he started telling me stories about being in the South when it was that sort of old genteel flavor. Then just last week, we talked about this crazy mission he had to do where they dropped him and some of his men off in the middle of the jungle [Army Rangers]. Then they were left there for about three months with only a month worth of food, so they had to hunt all these jungle animals. He showed me scars from this mission, told me about seeing his friends die, this was CRAZY!
Another one of my favorites is this German lady Erna who has traveled to probably EVERY country in this world. All you have to do is mention a place and she can go on for hours about her trip there. She does get a little moody when I forget to turn her Josh Groban cd on though.
Then there’s Bernie. Bernie insists on using the “For Classes Only” equipment even if he’s not necessarily taking the class. He’s a true charmer and I let him get his way. He’s this super tall black guy with a deep voice and huge loud laugh, who just looks like he’s gonna break out in a tap dance if I turn on the right music. He’s always listening and always smiling, no matter what.
By far the most impressive person is this Asian lady. I can’t understand anything she says, so I have yet to get her name. She’s 94 years old and moves faster than my MOM! I’m not kidding. I don’t know how she does it. She’ll take a Water Aerobics class then go swim laps for another thirty minutes. She does always carry this gallon jug of brownish unidentifiable liquid, so maybe that’s the secret. I gotta get some of that stuff.
There are tons more stories I’ve heard, but I’m just so amazed. What I used to just pass off as ANOTHER Arthritis class has turned in to me learning a ton about our history and real-life accounts of those events. Also [and this is an added bonus] old women always think you are too thin and will bake delicious treats for you so you can fatten up. I’ve probably gained fifteen pounds just from Betty’s snacks alone. I DEFINITELY recommend stopping to say hello to the next semi-cool looking old person you see. You might be surprised!