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View from poolside

“J’habite un building où il y a une piscine. Je vais me baigner une fois par semaine pour faire de l’aqua-gym. Et puis arrivent deux hommes, et ils sont déçus parce qu’il y a deux femmes – je suis avec mon amie. Ils s’en retournent. Bon, imaginons qu’ils partent, qu’ils vont voir le propriétaire, qui est très heureux d’avoir beaucoup des étudiants de McGill riches qui sont là. Et puis ils demandent: bon, on veut avoir une journée. Et puis là, dans quelques mois, c’est eux qui ont la piscine tout le temps. C’est ça, le grugeage, c’est ça dont on a peur, et c’est ça qui va arriver si on n’a pas de charte.”

- Janette Bertrand, 30 March 2014

So I have this Muslim friend, and he’s rich as most Muslims are and, like all rich Muslims in Montreal, he’s a student at McGill. He hates swimming, never goes near a pool if he can help it. “It’s the Catholics,” he says, “they let their children pee in the pool!” I cringe when he says such things, but having been raised Catholic and being a die-hard pool pee-er myself, I can hardly argue with him, can I.

The funny thing is, just the other day he was visiting an apartment building because his friend is looking to move. His friend, let’s call him Mohammed, just wants a quiet apartment close to school. The concierge insisted on showing them everything, including the pool. Neither of them like to get their shorts wet much, but they were polite and went along. Ah, nice pool. They oohed and ahhed politely and were about to go their way when something caught my friend’s eye. My friend, let’s also call him Mohammed because he’s, you know, also Muslim, thought he saw something like a yellow stream just below the water. It was getting larger and larger and larger.

In the middle of it bobbed an older woman, her face pulled tightly into a memory of a smile, scowling at him. Or was she simply concentrating on the peeing? Bobbing slowly up and down in an attempt to mix it in with the rest of the water. The Mohammeds nudged each other and were horrified. There it was, right before their eyes, a lifetime of prejudicial and, let’s face it, crazy stories, confirmed in one fell swoop! That old Catholic lady was pissing in the pool!

By then the concierge was noticing too and was embarrassed. He took the Mohammeds away but a minute or two later they returned. This time, the concierge brought his camera. He knew that lady, the one who complained every day about someone in the pool. The kids were too noisy! That lady is speaking English! The two lifeguards spoke Greek among themselves at lunchtime! The concierge discretely took a picture and they all left.

Maybe he’ll post it on Facebook, maybe he’ll post it at the pool entrance for the lifeguards to see. In any case, one thing he knew for certain: that pool needs more chlorine!

My friend doesn’t want me to go all public with this story so I won’t. I’ll just tell one or two people, or maybe start a movement. We could call it the Mohammeds Against Peeing in Pools. I think everyone could get on board with that, don’t you?

Originally posted in Rover.

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