Sunday, 30 August 2009

Life's a lido

Tucked into a quiet corner of Tooting Common is a beautiful, sprawling mass of life and Britishness; dads reading sports pages, mums reading fashion pages, babies sleeeping, kids screaming, teenagers checking each other out, grown-ups checking out teenagers they probably shouldn't be, dropped ice creams melting into cartons of chips, cans of Stella snuck past lackadaisical security guards. It's all there.

A family flies past, leaping one by one off the side of the pool, each striking a diffferent pose in mid-air before crashing into the water; slim kids diving, fat kids bellyflopping, Luca taking in the scene with cool indifference.
On the way there I explained to Mum why the country was so gripped by a fear of England not winning the Ashes, despite being in a position where it is almost impossible to lose. I know precious little about cricket, but I don't want to miss anything, so I kept checking the score on my phone. Mum was unmoved.

We found a spot next to another young family. They looked cool. We remembered when we might have conceivably looked cool, then we noticed a pram behind them, from which they eventually pulled a screaming one-year-old. Excellent.

In between increasingly frantic attempts to calm the angry baby, he was explaining to his wife that Australia needed to score more runs than any team ever has in a second innings.

"So how can England lose?" she asks tiredly.

"It's England. They always find a way to lose."

A few hours later another dad, flanked by rampaging toddler and weirdly thoughtful eight-year-old, is staring dreamily at his phone and explaining to his family that England really have won the Ashes. They don't care.

On the way home I go to the shop to get the Guardian and milk. There's two people ahead of me in the queue, and they are both buying the Guardian and milk.

When I was younger, I fancied I was bit different from the rest, a bit special, that life should and could have more glory in store for me than most. Years later, with my new family in a sun-soaked lido, I realise that we're essentially all the same.

1 comment:

  1. Ohh I do love a good Lido. Not quite the summer holiday in the sun that I wanted this year, but there's a recession on, so it'll have to do.