Last time I was at the beach a group of waves nearly ate my grandmother! I’m telling you the ocean can be a scary place. Not only is it like jumping into a large aquarium, where you are just hoping you’re not in the same three feet as a shark or a dancing jelly fish, but waves can be evil. If you don’t believe me, just ask my poor grandmother who looked like a pogo stick bouncing up and down in the water.
As a kid, I was determined to not let this happen to me. After all I didn’t want visiting the ocean to be my life’s biggest regret. All that to say, I was thrilled when my parents told me we were going to Disney World on vacation instead of the beach. Between busy days at Magic Kingdom and Epcot, we would relax at water parks. In my mind, I thought this was great because wave pools have got to be much safer than the big old ocean. Boy was I wrong!
There I stood at the entrance of the wave pool with water swirling around my ankles. I was a skinny little twig of a kid, not much older than ten. As I tried to relax, my blonde hair carried the breeze, and seemed to wave at a little boy building a sand castle just a few feet away.
Laughing children talked to each other as frothy chlorine filled waves met the “fake” white sandy shore. Spellbound by the sparkling waterfront and the beauty of the day, I stood unaware of the wave pool’s secret plot against me. I closed my eyes picturing the blue sky, while I took in the sun’s radiant smile. I breathed in the perfumed air, as clear water wrapped itself around my ankle. Luring me to come deeper, I walked into her trap.
I was knee-deep when I decided to really go for it. I splashed forward until water curled around my waist. The waves were coming so I got ready to jump.
Before I could leap over the wave, the undertow grabbed my foot, tripped me, and pulled me under. As I was vacuumed into deeper water, my soaked hair swirled around my face. I wrestled against a wall of water, searching for a breath, but it was as if I have joined my pink bathing suit and polka-dotted beach towel in a washing machine. The waves tossed me around, and I was nearly drowned by the wave pool’s chlorinated detergent.
Still desperately needing a breath, I was sucked further into a whirl pool, tumbling, and spinning as if I am about to go down the drain of a bathtub. I was swept away by a watery tornado of bubbles until I was finally ejected into the open sky. Emerging with a piranha mouth, gasping for air I thought to myself, “Now I know these waves are trying to kill me!”
I rejoiced because I could finally breathe! Exhilarated by the fresh air, I opened my eyes to see flashes from the sun’s rays taking pictures of my misfortune. All the while, the waves clapped their hands against the shore as if to encourage the pool’s bad behavior.
Looking like a drowned rat, I tried to stand up. By then I felt like a Cheerio would look better in a bathing suit than I did, and the last thing I wanted to do is draw attention to myself. However, the wave pool was evil!
Right as I was about to maintain my balance, the pool took the liberty to release a wave with a strong 1-2 punch. I begin to picture myself in a boxing ring as the wave releases blow after blow- hurling me to and fro. As the underdog, I looked like I was fighting back, but my punches were really just flailing limbs being tossed around. By that time I was praying that I would get another breath soon, and that no one would see me bouncing on the trampoline of waves about to drown.
Water rushed up my nose as I continued to choke on water. That is when I saw him coming. He was a very large man who had been standing in front of me when the waves hit. Now most men would have been huge compared to me as a ten-year old, but this guy was an extra big man. Despite his size the wave had plowed right over him sending him directly at me.
As my eyes grew wide, I soon found myself at the very bottom of the pool with a large man sitting directly on top of me. Feeling like I had entered the twilight zone, I had no idea what to do. My chipmunk cheeks held as much air as I could, yet a ribbon of bubbles floated up from my mouth. For what seemed like an eternity, he pinned me to the bottom of the pool. His red swim trunks blanketed my small frame. I wanted to poke him, or scream “You are sitting on me.” or “I’m about to die!” But the water wouldn’t allow it. Since my bathing suit wasn’t making a very good floatation device, I nearly reached my wit’s end. I was about to decide to just give up and let myself drowned at the bottom of the pool when the waves finally relented and the man was able to stand up. I was released from my watery prison.
On that day I learned some very important lessons. 1) Wave pools are not safer than the ocean. 2) Never stand behind a big person in a wave pool it could kill you. 3) No matter how young or old never underestimate the power of a wave. My grandmother lived, and thankfully I did too.