Two Days in Tucson – Arizona

So far, the theme of this summer has been cold. Part of this I expected; after all, I did travel to Iceland. I was expecting the cold there, but I wasn’t expecting to participate in the coldest summer in thirty years. When I finally arrived back in the United States, I was expecting the warmer weather that is normally associated with this time of year, but I landed in the Pacific Northwest which was experiencing the wettest and coolest summer they have had in recent history. I was walking around in jeans and hoodies for the week that I was there, hoping that some day I would be able to switch over to shorts and spend some time at the pool. I finally got fed up with all of it, and decided to hop on a plane and fly down to Tucson, Arizona where I knew that I would find some sun.

So I might have misled you. The trip was not as spontaneous as I made it seem. It was part of the greater plan this summer as I hop all over the place. Two friends of mine were retying the knot, literally because they are both rock climbers and they made it part of the ceremony, because they had gotten married during Covid lockdown, and they wanted to have a more traditional ceremony with their friends. Of course I went down there to participate in this celebration. I would add pictures of the event because it was a big reunion with a bunch of people I used to work with in South Korea, but due to privacy reasons, I have decided to not share them with you.

That still does not mean that flying down to Arizona is not what I needed this summer. This time of the year is a thawing period for teachers and students alike, and I had not had those moments where I could let the sun do its work. Yes, it was extremely hot down there like you would expect from Arizona during this time of the year, but instead of running to air-conditioning to stay comfortable, because of my recent experiences with the weather, I embraced the heat.

A lot of my time down there was spent attending wedding events, so I do not have a lot to talk about outside of those moments, but I did have some time to wander around the University of Arizona campus and the area surrounding it. I have always found it strange to be on a college campus during the summer months because they do not have the energy that you can find during the school year. It is a beautiful campus though, and if I was ever going to make a movie about an evil dean that is not giving a group of misguided youth their fair shake, I would think about filming it here during the summer. Otherwise, I got to enjoy the great restaurants around the campus, and got that much needed vitamin D for the first time this summer. It made me feel that slower pace I have been looking for all summer, and it was great.

I know that it was a quick trip, and I was able to bring some of that sun back with me to Oregon, and they are starting to experience the same type of summer that I have been looking for as well. I hope that you are getting the same kind of summer as well, and it is allowing you to shed the problems and worries that we collect during the colder months out of the year, and you are allowed to go out and enjoy the outdoors a little more right now. Maybe what all of us need is a couple of days down in Tucson to get that feeling going for each of us. I know it was what got me in the summer mood for this first time this year.

The Neighborhood Pool

In the land without air conditioning, many people are asking themselves how to stay cool during this period of unprecedented heat. If have heard some unique solutions to that problem, some of which I am sure worked and some that might still be in the developmental stage. Some people would sleep with ice packs wrapped around a towel and resting on their necks. Some people would stand in front of the open freezer, or if they were lucky enough to be at a place that had them, would spend time in a walk-in cooler. Some people would run over to the faucet in their kitchen every once in a while to run the head underneath the cool running water. The main thing that everybody in the Pacific Northwest had in common the last couple of days has been that they have been looking for a way to beat the heat.

One of the most obvious ones has been the neighborhood pool. It is a staple that can be found in many of the communities across America, and it is on days like these ones that it really brings the community together. All of the neighbors can come to this place to shed their work clothes for a more casual approach, relax in the shade with the good company of neighbors or a book, and cool off in the water with family or friends. All pretensions seem to melt away at this place, and people can really just enjoy themselves. The place is made for relaxation, and becomes hard to do anything else while being there.

Growing up, this is where I would spend most of my days during the summer. Both my mother and father worked, and they did not want anybody at our house while they were away. They did allow us to go to the pool though and we would arrange to meet all of our friends over there during the day. I know now that it was because we could be supervised while we were there, but I look at how the herds of children move around the pools now and think back to those days when I was among their numbers. It amazes me how we could be easily entertained all summer long by diving after different things we would throw in the deep end, or show off our skills by jumping and eventually diving off the diving boards, or playing intricate games of keep away with all of the other kids in the neighborhood. They have become some of my favorite childhood memories.

The pool that we went to had ten minutes at the end of every hour designated for adult swims. It was basically a time during every hour where nobody would be in the pool and we always wondered why they would do this if nobody took advantage of it. I wonder if it is still a thing at some pools because I have not run into it for years, and I still can’t think of what the purpose of this time was. Even though I would complain about it as a kid, I still enjoyed those ten minutes every hour. It was a time where we get our drenched bodies out of the water and lay down directly on the hot concrete around the pool. That heat always felt so good on the skin, and I remember enjoying the way it would dry me off after a good hour of swimming.

The Snack Shack was also a favorite of ours. We would scrape together our nickels, dimes, and quarters, and bring them with us every time we went to the pool so we could spend it on candy. A snickers bar got quickly devoured; whereas, a box of nerds became a treasure that we would slowly share with everybody else in the group as we experimented with the combinations of all the different fruit flavors. It is probably where I developed the sweet tooth that I still have today.

I may not be as active when I go to the pool anymore, but I still enjoy going. I’ll hop in every once in awhile to cool down while trying to find a corner where I can talk with my wife while avoiding all the kids that are around. (Maybe that is what adult swim is for.) Most of the time, you will find me in the shade with a good book, and of course, I will always find a reason to visit the Snack Shack if they have one. Nothing exciting every happens at the neighborhood pool, but that does not mean that I still don’t get excited to go to it when I have a chance. I am glad that I had one growing up, and if you find that you have one in your neighborhood, you might want to think about checking it out a couple times this summer, just to see what they are all about.