The motel I stayed at this week had a pool. I actually brought my old swim trunks, but didn't have the opportunity (or courage) to get in the pool. There were a lot of soldiers and their young wives staying at the motel for some reason. And they were "rough-housing" (a term my mother used to use) and playing a lot of "grab-ass" (a term my mother never used), and they were having lots of fun, so I didn't want to spoil it for them by wandering into the pool area with my gray chest hairs and cigarettes. So I sat at an umbrella table slightly back from the swimming pool and smoked my Salem Silver Box cigarettes and finished reading This Just In, What I Couldn't Tell You on TV by Bob Schieffer, the first two thirds of which was pretty interesting. I was reading Bob's book, because I'd found the first two thirds of Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation so fascinating. Both these guys tended to wade (speaking of swimming pools) into the realm of politics in the final thirds of their stories, and that's kind of dull to me (as you by now realize). Before Brokaw's book, I had read David Henderson's 'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky, the story of Jimi Hendrix, which is kind of a downer, because as you're reading you just want to cry out, "Stop swallowing all those freaking drugs!" Alas, I realize I cannot imagine Jimi growing into middle age. And before that I made it part way through a really dull book called Looking at Life (edited by Erika Doss), which takes a way too serious and overly academic look at the sociological significance of Life magazine's history. How they managed to make that story boring I don't know. And somewhere in that mess, I read the truly excellent The Brotherhoods by Guy Lawson and William Oldham. It's sort of a companion piece to Jimmy Breslin's The Good Rat, which I mentioned earlier. No, so, anyway, I finished Bob Schieffer's book a day early and bought a crossword puzzle book to tide me over (so I'd look like I was actually doing something out there besides studying the bikini beauties around the pool). It wasn't as bad as a TV Guide crossword ("Television," two letters), but they seemed to use Ida Lupino's first name in at least half the puzzles, and the thing soon lost its charm.
The management's Swimming Pool Rules were posted on the gate, and they constituted a short novel by themselves. Everybody seemed to be ignoring the "No Glass Containers in the Pool Area" rule, and no one seemed to care. The pool was smaller than the one I have pictured here, and it had no diving board, being that diving board injuries expose the motel management to all sorts of liability these days. And two husky-type 30-something guys tossed a football around and checked out all the chicks. And the young soldiers' even younger wives (I'm talking 18 years old here) were ignoring the football guys and me, which hurt the jocks' feelings but not mine. And the girls were wearing bikini bottoms, not thongs, which was fine with me. But they all had on flip-flops, which I don't really like. And everybody (except the football dudes) seemed to have a good time. But what really caught my eye was a late-20s woman in shorts, who took off her little sneakers and then slipped off her tiny socks and crossed her bare ankles and put them up on a cabana chair and cracked open a book and then lit a freakin cigarette. She was the starlet of the pool scene in my mind. But that's just me. Let me know what you're reading this week, even if you aren't reading around a pool.
(Another clear violation of the rules.)