When I walk through the doorway to work at Miami Hills Swim and Tennis Club everyday over the summer, the next few hours are unpredictable.
Will it be a slow day or will it be crowded? Who am I working my shift with? Who am I replacing and where are they in the rotation? Will someone drown? Will someone hit their head on the diving board? (definitely my #1 fear) Is the manager on duty in a good mood? Will I leave at 9 or will we stay later to clean up?
The doorway is a giant arch and is a welcoming sight, in my opinion. I think it’s because there is no physical door, just a pathway lined with flowers, benches, and a front desk worker. There’s a certain vibe you get walking through the door that’s indescribable. It’s like a smell of chlorine combined with sunshine, laughing kids, a mist of water, sunscreen, sun-kissed, highlighted hair and skin, flip-flops, and a damp beach towel.
Right after you walk in, the manager’s office is to the right. This door is tightly shut most days because it keeps the air conditioning in. I usually open this door with even more uncertainty. I have to open it to clock in and get paid, but what is inside? Is the manager on an important phone call or meeting? Is the intimidating swim lessons teacher in there?
After opening this door, I move to the next door: the guard room. This door is usually closed in order to keep out the smell of the old towels, floors that are rarely cleaned, and a fridge that has accumulated rust. I think a fly colony lives in this room because they always buzz in my ears and theres a piece of sticky fly tape hanging from the ceiling. After walking through this door and into the room, I talk to whichever “down-guard” is in there on break and open the door of my locker to grab my whistle, water bottle, and towel. I close my locker and it makes that clanging, ringing, high pitched noise only old, rusty lockers make. Everyone has at least one complaint about the guard room, but I know we cherish it and wouldn’t want it any other way. If it was clean and tidy, it wouldn’t seem as inviting for a group of exhausted, hardworking teenagers.
After leaving the guard room, I walk through the easy-open, mesh screen door into the concession stand. This room is easily the hottest room, even though there are multiple fans going. There’s a subtle hum of the pretzel machine, ice cream freezer and “frushee” machine as you walk through the door. There is always someone working who will say hi and talk to me, usually to update me on how the day’s going. After I walk in the room, the door closes with the familiar WHAP of the old door needing new hinges and longing to be replaced. I miss that sound. It’s the sound of a place that is old and has so many memories kept inside of it, only to allow you to make new ones everyday.
After socializing for a few seconds, I go to the side room to fill up my water with ice. We have the best ice water I have ever tasted in my life. I walk into the freezer room and open the door to the ice machine. I know what kind of day it is based on how much ice is in there. Since we have the best ice, people will always ask us to fill things with ice for them. The less ice we have, the more crowed it is.
After getting my ice water, I walk through the other flapping screen door to begin my shift as a guarder of life at Miami Hills.
All of these little things and doors I pass through make Miami Hills the best place to work. I can’t wait to have this routine back everyday in a few months. Summer 2018 here I come!! 😎