It’s here!! The scorching sun, the baking pavement, even the sultry humidity. ... I am thrilled that the 2013 summer solstice has finally arrived.
Yep, I love, love, LOVE summertime. I’m the kind of person who, when asked if I would rather be really cold or really hot, my answer is always a resounding, H-O-T. The argument that you can put on more clothes when you’re cold but you can only take so many off when you’re hot does not fly with me. In the dead of winter, THERE ARE JUST NOT ENOUGH CLOTHES.
I do have to admit that last year, when temps hovered around 105+ degrees for weeks at a time, that was a bit much even for me. But this summer is shaping up to be flawless for this here beach baby.
Unfortunately, the only “beach” I’ll see during my first summer as an entrepreneur is made of concrete. Fortunately, I’m a member at Lakeside Swim Club, so I think I’ll be able to make do.
As I sat along the rock wall outside Lakeside at 9:30 Saturday morning, patiently waiting for the pool to open at 10, I struck up a conversation with two longtime members. It started out as a catty exchange about the jerk who had just tried to skip line ahead of us, but we wound around to how intangibly special Lakeside is to us and so many other members.
A woman in an SUV drove past us loyalists in line before the pool opens (you have to get there early on the weekends or you won’t get a deck chair), and she appeared to be laughing and shaking her head, as if to say, “Bunch of idiots. It’s a pool.”
This perceived ridicule prompted the ladies seated to my left to vocally defend Lakeside, although to whom I have no idea. The only listeners around them were fellow choir members, including myself. One of the defenders was insistent that Lakeside needs T-shirts, adorned with the slogan, “Lakeside: It’s more than just a pool.”
I don’t know if I would actually wear one myself, but the slogan is definitely legit.
I’ve been going to Lakeside as a guest since I was a kid. It has always been the Holy Grail of swimming holes in Louisville, in my opinion.
First of all, it’s huge. Two lap pools, a baby pool, two main family pool areas and a rafts-only area. Not to mention a nice snack bar, fitness facilities and varying poolside lounge areas in both sun and shade. The pool was built into an old rock quarry, and the overall look of the facility has maintained the quarry’s integrity. It is clean and serene – a great place for families, and an oasis for grown folk.
For the uneducated, Lakeside is a members-only joint. If you are not a member or do not have a sanctioned guest pass, you do not get in the front gate. I have been known to affectionately refer to the gate keepers at Lakeside as the Pool Nazis. It's like they are guards at the Berlin Wall. For realz.
To become a certificate member, you have to live in the designated area immediately surrounding the pool, in the Lakeside neighborhood. To become an associate member – these members can live virtually anywhere in the city – you have to find a certificate member who will “sponsor” you. Three years ago, I found such a kind soul, and I have been an associate member ever since.
Annual dues are very reasonable, but that first year’s initiation fee is quite the chunk of change. Totally worth it, though. By the time I found my sponsor after years of searching, I was ready to sell my firstborn to get in. True story.
People I talk to who have never been to Lakeside just do not get its allure. But those who have been, and are not yet members, ask me ALL THE TIME if I know anyone who can sponsor them. It is an in-demand membership among hundreds of Louisvillians.
Being a lover of summer, of both sun and cooling waters, Lakeside has turned out to be the single best gift I have ever given myself. Having unlimited access to such an idyllic haven within walking distance of my house (I live just outside the “certificate member” quadrant, which was an endless source of frustration for several years) is a fine substitute for the beach vacation I won’t be getting this year.
Working for myself from home on perfect pool days with Lakeside just up the street is going to be an exercise in self-discipline for the next 10 weeks, I can already tell. But having the luxury to knock off at 2 o’clock, float on a raft until 4, then go back to finish up a lingering project after dinner is friggin’ priceless. I did that this past week on Tuesday afternoon. After feeling guilty for about two minutes, I relaxed into it and thought, “How lucky am I?? This ROCKS.”
The raft area at Lakeside is better than sex and chocolate, let me just tell ya. Those quiet waters (well, mostly quiet; every now and then you come across some chatty bitches who just will NOT shut up) provide a truly divine way to lock down the real world and cool my body and my brain under the hot June sun.
I don't know if I can effectively convey what makes Lakeside so special; it just IS. It's kind of like that Jeep thing – if you are not part of the Lakeside culture, you probably wouldn't understand. Not trying to sound like pool snob here, just speaking the truth.
Anyhoo, I am so excited that my new career as a freelance writer and media consultant is going to afford me the opportunity to enjoy Lakeside to the fullest this year. Really, that's just one of many benefits I'm reaping from venturing out on my own.
Being self-employed is still a little scary and daunting at times, but the positives far outweigh the fear so far.
Yeah, I am pretty damn sure that this is going to be the best summer EVER.
So, who wants to come with me to the pool?
About Amy Higgs
A former newspaper columnist, Amy takes her random, slice-of-life stories to the web. After 10 years, she's still just saying.