The pool was never crowded and it was always well-staffed by attendants who brought chilled bottles of water and any drinks or food that you'd like to order from the snack menu. We ate nachos and quesadillas for lunch a couple of days, I fell in love with their lemonade (which was more like a sparkling limeade) and David discovered his new favorite girly-beverage: The Miami Vice (half pina colada, half strawberry daquiri).
I have to say, though, it was weird for me to be the girl in the lounge chair being offered cool towels, fruit kebabs, and fresh bottles of water.
It was weird because it was Christmas and totally not like Christmas, of course. It was weird because I was desperately sad and missing Eliza but also grateful to be lying in the sunshine. It was weird because we have never taken a vacation that wasn't full of sight-seeing and scheduled-to-the-minute self-imposed itineraries.
It was weird because, once upon a time, I was not the girl in the lounge chair. I was the pool attendant.
I wanted to tell them that I sympathize with how heavy that bin full of wet towels is at the end of the day, and how you have to be careful as you push it to the laundry because if it gets a lot of momentum, there's no stopping it from careening off the sidewalk.
I wanted to tell them that I know it's not easy to balance a frozen drink in a plastic cup with a stem, because I definitely poured a banana cabana all over an old guy's feet my first day on the job.
I wanted to tell them that they deserve every dollar they make out there in the sun, waiting hand and foot on people who barely look up from the electronic reading devices.
Because I KNOW what it's like to be on the other side of that tray of nachos.
My friend Natalie and I decided one summer in college that it would be fun to spend the summer in Arizona. My aunt invited us (at least, I don't think we invited ourselves, but it is entirely possible) to stay with her, and we scored jobs at the Four Seasons resort that was about two minutes from her house. It was gorgeous, and we thought working at the pool would be fun!
So yes, the scenery was lovely. The job was... well, here's a fun fact: when you work outside all day and the temperature is 112 degrees Fahrenheit, you can drink all the water you want and barely have to pee because you just sweat it out. Also: When you have to wear all white shoes and you find all white shoes so unbearably uncool that you buy the cheapest pair of Keds possible and then you're on your feet walking on hot cement for seven hours a day, your feet will freaking hurt.
We weren't twenty-one yet, and we didn't know anybody else in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. We shared Natalie's little car (a Toyota Echo named Eddie) and we spent almost all of our hard-earned wages at Fashion Square mall, buying shorts from Express and shirts from The Limited. Fashion was our outlet, you see, because the six days a week that we were hard at work, we were stuck wearing this:
|Yes, it really was THAT hideous.|
|Natalie just might kill me for this.|
|Should I have gotten an internship instead? What am I doing with my life? Why am I wearing this heinous outfit? What if I see someone I know?|
We dealt with wealthy, privileged, crazy customers. The woman who had alarming rock-hard, softball-sized breasts and asked Natalie if it would be a problem if she sunbathed topless.
Natalie (blushing): Uh, I'll have to ask my manager!
(His answer: As long as there aren't any kids around, and none of the other guests complain.)
The woman who asked me if it would be all right if her dachshund swam in the pool with her.
Me: I'm sorry, we just can't allow animals in the pool. It's against hotel policy.
Dog Lady: But he is a very clean dog! And he loves to swim! Am I just supposed to leave him in the room and swim without him?
Me: Um, well, why I don't have you talk to my manager.
(His answer: No dogs in the pool, but we can arrange for someone from the daycare facility to stay with your dog if you don't want him to be alone.)
The family who let their kid poop in the kiddie pool, and then just left without saying anything, leaving poop nuggets floating. (I had to call the Engineering Department rather than Housekeeping to deal with this issue as it was a Sanitary Problem Requiring Chemicals).
Me: Hello, Engineering. We have, uh, a problem at the kiddie pool. Involving poop.
Engineering: Are you kidding me?
Me: I wish.
And then there was the week that the entire resort was rented out to an Australian bank. Some kind of working holiday for their employees. The resort went bonkers, stocking up on Fosters (you know, because it's Australian for beer?). The Aussies didn't want Fosters. They wanted Corona. Or Dos Equis. They drank all the Corona in the resort, and someone had to call for a special delivery of More Corona for the Aussies. (And these people loved to drink. You know what they did not love to do? TIP. Is tipping not part of Australian culture? Someone clue me in on this. All I know is that we pounded the pavement, serving Coronas and refilling water and nobody wanted to give us any cash for it.
In addition to drinking Corona, the Australians wanted to wear Speedos. Talk about a culture shock for a couple of Midwestern American girls. Almost all the Australian bank employees were men, middle-aged and paunchy, and the first day that Natalie and I looked up from our crossword puzzles to see a bunch of dudes wearing Speedos and strutting around the pool... Well, there was LOTS of giggling.
They were very friendly, though, jolly and joking around, and always calling us "Princess" or "Love" when they wanted us to fetch them another beer (which was constantly). I remember Natalie speed-walking over to me with a panicked look on her face. The old man with the white beard and the big belly and the Speedo with the British flag on the front and back? He had just asked if Natalie would "be a love" and rub sunscreen on his hairy back. (I can't remember if she did it or not...)
Oh, those were some times.
|The outfit is worse with the hat, but at least we are more disguised as we offer guests ice water with citrus? Evian spritzer?|
In some ways, it was really the most absurd job ever.
|Natalie is happy to serve you a complimentary fruit kebab. Or seven, if you're that one dude.|
|As Natalie demonstrates, we were tempted many times to just jump in that water.|