As you may recall, last year I successfully passed the pool quiz and was deemed fit to shell out a lot of money for a pool membership at the new Modiin pool. It was a big success; in fact, it worked out swimmingly, you might say. So I was determined to get a manui (membership) again this year.
For the last month, I've been obsessively checking the pool's website, calling the number, and even making unexpected visits to the pool, hoping to find out when they would open registration. The memberships run out quickly, so I wanted to be first in line. Determined, remember?
Finally, the blessed day arrived. It was last Sunday; I remember it well. I was notified via my Modiin app and my Facebook news feed that registration was opened! I sped over, my tires making little screechy noises. I sat down, gave them my information (name, number, family members), and they said they would call me in a day or two. I remember from last year that they didn't let you fork over the money right away, so I figured it was the same deal.
And I left, satisfied. I saw with mine own two eyes that they wrote my name down on the sheet. I patiently awaited my phone call. Of course, we all know that "I'll call you back," means I won't call you back, (except for the people who want me to sign up for something or switch banks; they always call back). I therefore wasn't surprised that a week had gone by and - whaddya know - no phone call.
So I grabbed the pool by the diving board and marched into the office this past Sunday. "Just want to check that I'm still getting my membership," I said, ever so breezily. "I signed up last Sunday but never got a phone call."
The Official Pool Lady smiles ever so sweetly and says, "I'm [ed. note: not] very sorry, but if you didn't get a phone call, you didn't get a manui."
Jaw dropping is commencing, but I am sure this is a mistake. After all, I saw my name get written in official blue ink. I was one of the first names on the sheet.
I attempted breezy again. "Yes, but I was here last week, I signed up, I was one of the first ones."
"Yes, I'm [not] sorry, but a lot of people signed up. Coming first had no effect on whether you got a membership."
"But I had one last year! That should count for something!"
"On the contrary. The administration decided to give priority to families who did not get a membership lasat year."
"So, coming early didn't help, and having a manui last year only hurt my case?"
[Beaming, since I've finally cottoned on.] "Yes, exactly!"
"So how was the decision made, then?"
"Many families signed up. The administration took all the names and made [random, nonsensical and quite frankly dumb] decisions as to who would receive a manui and who would not."
[Pause. All traces of breezy are gone.]
"You can still buy a kartisiya," she adds, ever so helpfully.
I stalk out, forcefully. This is my revenge. I will not walk out nicely, oh no. I will stalk! Forcefully!
So here's the thing. The advantage of not having a manui to the Modiin pool is that we are free to play the field this summer. We can have a fling with the Maccabim pool, or a one-day stand with the pool in Kfar Daniel. We are free agents.
But here's the disadvantage. The thing I loved about having a manui--besides feeling so super-cool when I used our electronic manui hoojits to enter the pool--is that we could go whenever we wanted, and--this is important--stay however long or short we wanted. Sometimes, the amount of time we spent eating dinner and showering was equal to or greater than the time spent in the pool. But who cared? We had a manui!
This year, I'll have to count our punch-card clicks carefully. A la Elaine of Seinfeld, I'll have to decide if this day is "click-worthy." Are we really going to stay long enough to get the most swim for our click? Hey kids! Get back in the pool! You have not been in there a click's worth of time yet!
It reminds me of the famous zoo story. (Feel free to stop reading if you've heard this before.) DADZ took us kids to some run-down zoo. Not the kind that's all, "Conservation! Research! Saving animals! We do research and save animals! Yay ecosystems!" but more, "We have animals! They are in a cage! Gawk at them!"
But it didn't matter how lame the zoo was. And it was very, I can assure you. DADZ insisted that we stay until 4:30, because then we would have paid some amount of money per minute, and at that point, he calculated, the trip would have achieved worth-it-ness. (Could you guess that DADZ is an accountant?) So we hung around, picking at the grass, until DADZ announced we could finally leave.
I fear that this summer, I, too, may inflict worth-it-ness upon my children.
But here's the real question: Does our first summer of manui ruin us forevermore? Next year, are we back in the running for a manui because we didn't get one this year? Or are Donny and I going to be shuffling up to the registration desk 50 years from now, only to be denied yet again?