Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Escape from the Death Star!

So, I'm a bad Austinite. I've lived here for five years, but I'm taking my sweet time hitting all of those destinations that most tourists see within their first week here. One of those destinations happened to be Barton Springs Pool.

I had no special plans to ever visit, but late this afternoon I didn't have the courage to open the door and stick any part of my body outside to gauge the temperature, so I checked The Fucking Weather instead, which shrieked, "102?! IT'S FUCKING HOT. (I need gloves to touch the steering wheel!)" Yeah, no kidding. So I could kiss my plans of working outside goodbye. Again. And then I paused to hurl invective with as much passion but entirely less creativity than Stephen Fry.

Sadly, this summer I've reached and fallen headfirst over the tipping point where I don't even care about gardening. I've put my grand plans on hold and have resolved to just hunker down under the AC with my laptop and wireless connection until October and let Teh Internetz distract me (I'll admit it: my recent Adam Lambert obsession has been very helpful in this regard). Every now and then, I'll force myself off the couch to turn on a soaker hose long enough to keep my trees from dying.

But today, I just couldn't take my Austin Summer Coping Routine any longer. I had to get outside before I went nuts. And it turned out that Barton Springs Pool is open until 10 in the summer, perfect for people like me who are practically flammable. Also, did I mention that the pool is always 68F? Let me tell you, it seems even colder when the air is still nearly a hundred degrees when you wade in there. Also, while I knew the pool was fed by a natural spring, I had no idea that it was so slimy. This was particularly challenging considering that I'm a giant wuss and wanted to work my way into the water at my own (glacial) pace, but it was a constant stuggle to keep from falling down as the slimy rock floor of the pool sloped unpredictably. Eventually, I just gave up and went with it. The swearing involved was therapeutic, and I enjoyed feeling smug about paddling around in a bikini while some dude was doing laps in a full wetsuit.

The pool at night. Witness the vampires of Austin. And the smart people, since apparently admission is free after 9 PM.

Once I was throughly chilled, I found that it's incredibly satisfying to sit on a towel on the hill and watch people swim. The hot air actually feels wonderful when you're sitting there in a wet swimsuit watching some chick in a lime green 'fro jump off the diving board.

Also keeping Austin weird was some random guy who stood up on the hill and gave an impromptu yodeling demonstration, to enthusiastic applause. Sadly, it was too dark to get a picture, but public opinion said he was good. For a yodeler. I lounged around for half an hour drying off and testing out the night settings on my camera. I got a lot of pictures of ghosts hovering above the diving board and spectral presences haunting the pool.

On the way out, my friend overheard a lifeguard telling someone about how they'd found a giant riding lawnmower in the pool last Thursday. It's nice to see that, by comparison, I'm keeping my cool and dealing with this hellish summer rather well.