because my certification has not actually expired yet, i could have done what they call a challenge, which is basically just skipping training and going straight to taking the test. problem is, the challenge day happens after all three two-week class sessions are over, so if i take the challenge and don't pass, i'm pretty much SOL because there's no more training until next year. that's why i decided to take the class.
pre-class discussion is mostly comprised of driving privilege status. "are you 15?" "yeah..." "got your permit?" "yeah. i love that thing." "yeah..." pretty sure all my classmates are 15. also pretty sure they have good mommies because they all brought snacks and sweatshirts. i pretty much starve and freeze from 10:30-2pm.
today we do the pre-test: swim 300 meters, tread water two minutes using only legs, and the brick test.
three years ago, i killed it in the 300 meter swim, finished ahead of most of my classmates. today... well, i don't finish last. i choose to believe my classmates are more fit this time (as opposed to: i am less so).
the treading water is no problem for me. tuck hands under arms and spin in circles, chat up my classmates, etc. it's funny to be a peer to kids because even the ones strong enough to tread water up, down, and backwards are treading quietly in place watching the instructor. c'mon, guys! spin around! they are having none any of it. pffth. stupid obedient children.
these first two parts go okay, but then, they are simple. the brick test is by far the hardest part. it goes like this:
-- instructor tosses vinyl-covered brick into 9ft deep water.
-- trainee swims approx 50 meters to brick and retrieves it from bottom.
-- trainee swims back on to start, on their back, holding brick with both hands at chest level.
-- all this has to be completed in a minute, forty seconds.
three years ago, either we could use goggles for this part, or i just got lucky when i dove for the brick. this time we definitely could not use goggles, and add to the innate pressure of the test the fact that i wear contacts, and i am basically just really uptight about the whole thing.
i volunteer as quickly as i can. second or third, i think.
instructor drops two bricks at the far end of side-by-side lanes. a 15-year old in a bikini (who wears a bikini to lifeguard training??) and i dive in and swim to the neighborhood of the bricks. i locate the brick (challenging, since the brick is black and the tiled lane lines are black), take a breath and go under.
HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM.
i don't reach the bottom!! well, shit. great job, ace. now i am in a bit of a panic over wasted time and i've lost sight of the brick. take a breath and go down again and i can tell i have no idea where the damn brick is. to hell with it, i am opening my eyes! i don't care if my contacts float out, i have got to find this thing, i will not fail!
so i open my eyes and it's really blurry and i am like, great, contacts already out, but at the same time, i see the brick. it's really, really hard to get down there to it, but i retrieve it. thank god.
back on the surface, i kick, kick, kick. swimming back, thinking time is just ticking away... until finally, i am at the side. alls i have to do now is put the brick on the poolside and climb out. just... put... brick... on...
yes, that's me, yelling semi-profanities in a completely non-professional lifeguard trainee manner, as my brick sinks to the bottom of the pool. i am thinking that i'm going to have to start over. the instructor laughs. "just get it." i get it, put it on poolside, and climb out.
"did i pass?"
"yes, you passed."
and, as a bonus, my contacts stayed in my eyes!
monday, wednesday, and saturday for the next two weeks, i'll be at the natatorium going through lifeguard training. i am quite hopeful i will pass the class and am looking forward to once again being eligible to wear a gift descartes gave me three years ago. it's a stellar bright red hoodie emblazoned in white: LIFEGUARD.
|this is what my sweatshirt looks like. |
(this is not me.)