The “Community” in Community Pool: What Kid Trespassers Taught Me

It was perfect Seattle sunshine and perfect to take part in our ungodly high rent and use the shit out of our gated community’s amenities. Coinciding with Gym Hottie’s day off, we took a family dip in the apartment pool. There are plenty of other nice perks living here: a full-sized basketball court, what some may call a “workout” room, and the office managers leave out cookies on the daily. The pool area though, hands down, is the finest feature. In addition to the heated pool is a jetted jacuzzi tub. Yep, for a hefty monthly rent, we’re livin’ the life.

half Lao kids swimming in pool.jpg

I’m engaged in my usual playground conversation with “Abuela” who always brings her two young grandsons. We get into a discussion of the housing market in the Seattle area and how our resident rent here is far more than most mortgages. We defend the markup by justifying its many nice features such as the gates and the pool. We later come to share common testimony that the residents of our community aren’t the only ones who utilize it. Abuela said that she knows people from surrounding apartments come to our community to swim. She was more worried that they were unsanitary and that we “don’t know where they’ve been.” Granted, we don’t know where our fellow residents have been but I understand her frustration.

I, myself, have seen two kids walk across the street up to our community gates to go swimming. These fools didn’t even bother to go undercover; their asses dressed in their swim trunks and everything! I shared this with GH and he was annoyed because he “pays good money” to live here. I first agreed with both him and Abuela but I then reassessed. I thought long about the kids that walked to our place. Long enough to remember where they were walking from and why they would take that risk at being kicked out. It takes a village and these kids are a part of my “village,” even from opposite sides of the street. I would much rather have those two kids swimming in our pool than involved in undesirable activity elsewhere. I prefer them engaging with kids in our pool than influential people on the streets. Their general presence doesn’t do immediate harm to anybody because the community authorities are even none the wiser. My agreement switched from a privilege to genuine concern for the trespassers because there is no lifeguard on duty. I would hope that my children will take the time to reassess community when they face a dilemma like this. I want them to step off a place of privilege and see the whole community and how to react within the community beyond zoning codes and electric gates.

How would you feel if something you paid for was used by somebody else? Why do you feel that way?

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16 thoughts on “The “Community” in Community Pool: What Kid Trespassers Taught Me

  1. In a situation like yours I’d likely be annoyed at first and then check myself. If the kids aren’t causing trouble? Let them be. Like you said I too would rather them playing in a pool than out getting into trouble.

  2. Gir! I Iove how honest you are. It’s awesome! I agree, it takes a village. Coming from an immigrant family, I often wonder if I can ever give my guy some of the ‘village’ feeling I had growing up in my immigrant community. Regarding swimming, I can’t really swim so each time I think about my little guy one day in a pool, I sweat and my heart starts to beat quickly and hard. I tell myself every summer I will learn but put it off. This summer-I will TRY to prioritize becoming a stronger swimmer. That statement is such a cop out :/

    On another note, my family is visiting Seattle for the first time in a few weeks! Any tips?

    • I grew up with many people around too! It was such a secure feeling knowing if something were to ever happen, my family wouldn’t have to worry about shelter, food, comfort. It’s definitely hard where we live in Seattle and my and GH’s folks are far.

      Seattle must-sees are the Great Wheel, and pretty much anything down by Pike Place Market. Let me know what you come up with, still trying to explore.

  3. I love swimming so much and want people to be able to share that same love. So if they are respectful and into swimming you’re right, it gives them something WAY more constructive than roaming the streets. And, it’s not their fault that their parents moved into the place across the street.

    But I think it’s about respect. For example, at the play areas in the mall…I have ZERO problem when kids older than 8 or taller than the sign play there with my kid or their siblings. It’s when maniac 9 year olds doing parkour tricks off the kiddy slide happens that I’m like “um, my toddler is here yo,” and get annoyed.

  4. the kids are so precious!!!!!! Rachel is growing by leaps and bounds..I want to squeeze them both very soon…Poppy’s last chemo is Thursday, so hopefully soon!!

  5. Love this post! Wise words, and yes, I’d be annoyed at first, but then I’d reflect as you did. Better in your pool than robbing stereos from your cars, or whatever other shenanigans.

    • Once, when our windows were broken from the motor not working, it had to be left down until parts came in. I then noticed our car had been rummaged through and a checkbook and stereo were left but handful of loose change was missing. They obviously felt like they needed it and definitely more than I do.

  6. Hmm, that’s a hard one. On the one hand, I don’t like moochers, and I wouldn’t let my kids do that. On the other hand, it’s not really the right spirit to punish kids fr wanting to have good fun. I hate to admit it, but I’d probably be more annoyed. I’d probably need an attitude check. :-/

  7. I will admit that I have been a pool crasher on many a few occasions. As an adult, no less. My mom snuck us in to a fancy shmancy hotel pool once (awesome) and another time, at 8.5 months pregnant (in August heat in California) my friends and I snuck into (waltzed right into, actually) the apartment pool next door. I’d like to say I gave 2 shits on either occasion but honestly I just didn’t. Especially when the apartment manager yelled at me taking up space in the pool. “IM JUST AS FAT AS YOUR TENANTS, ASSHOLE!”
    I wasn’t a pleasant preggo.

  8. I’m not sure that I would have even noticed unauthorized pool users. Maybe I’m just not that tuned in or perceptive. Even if I saw them on the street in swimsuits & walking into the apartment complex, I would have thought they had just been running an errand or ran to the corner store for candy and they lived there. I mean, this is all speculation on your part, right? You didn’t ask them or talk to them at all, right? But, even if they are trespassers and I had noticed them, I don’t think I would have come to your enlightened outlook on the matter. Kudos for that. I feel like it made me a better person in a little way because of this post. Thank you!

    • I certainly know the two kids walk from up the complex directly across the street because we live in a cluster of apartment buildings, with the nearest store 2 miles away near heavy highway traffic. I would never assume anything but when I know that they walked from the comes across the street as I was at the intersection joining all four complexes on each corner, I know they are not tenants who ‘maybe went to get candy’ with their swim towels and trunks, shirtless. I understand what your perspective is but it’s not mine.

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