DMIL has developed an interest in senior citizen aquatics. Since she doesn’t drive I’ve been providing transportation. Since she doesn’t swim either, (and eye-witnesses have tattled that she has supposedly almost drowned twice) I’ve taken to suiting up and hopping in the pool with her just to keep an eye on things. I don’t join the class though. It’s too boring. All they do is walk back and forth in the shallow end waving their arms in rhythm to the music. No, I find myself gravitating to the rabble rousers at the back who basically ignore all the teacher’s instructions and spend their time having water fights, racing to the edge of the pool, and singing real loud and off key just to hear the echo of their voices. I alternate between giggling at them and scolding, “You kids better quit that misbehaving before the teacher gets upset” ("kids" said in spite of the fact that not a single person in the class, including the instructor, isn’t old enough to be my parent). It is to no avail though. They seem quite gleeful about their evil influence on me.
Usually the piped in music is some kind of golden oldies or swing tunes-something to appeal to the geriatric set. But today, they were playing what I call “noise with a beat”. Not really even music at all. Since so many of them were muttering and complaining about it, I suggested to one sweet-looking, silver-haired grandma that she go ask to have it changed to something decent. “H*ll no”, She responded. “I’m already on the sh*t list.”
By the time I finished choking on pool water over that reply, a new song came over the loud speaker, and shortly we were enjoying the beautiful strains of “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” The effect on the trouble makers was astounding. They quit the mischief-making on the spot and listened contemplatively. “What?” I demanded. “That’s Ray Charles”, one of them explained. “He isn’t with us anymore”, confided the potty-mouth. “He sure had a voice”, commented a gentlemanly old codger wistfully.
I hope to never be in the situation of having to organize and keep in line a bunch of feisty retirees during a water exercise class. But just in case, I got the Ray Charles ready to go.