Escape from the Death Star!

So, I’m a bad Austinite. I’ve lived here for five years, but I’m taking my sweet time hitting all of those destinations that most tourists see within their first week here. One of those destinations happened to be Barton Springs Pool.

I had no special plans to ever visit, but late this afternoon I didn’t have the courage to open the door and stick any part of my body outside to gauge the temperature, so I checked The Fucking Weather instead, which shrieked, “102?! IT’S FUCKING HOT. (I need gloves to touch the steering wheel!)” Yeah, no kidding. So I could kiss my plans of working outside goodbye. Again. And then I paused to hurl invective with as much passion but entirely less creativity than Stephen Fry.

Sadly, this summer I’ve reached and fallen headfirst over the tipping point where I don’t even care about gardening. I’ve put my grand plans on hold and have resolved to just hunker down under the AC with my laptop and wireless connection until October and let Teh Internetz distract me (I’ll admit it: my recent Adam Lambert obsession has been very helpful in this regard). Every now and then, I’ll force myself off the couch to turn on a soaker hose long enough to keep my trees from dying.
But today, I just couldn’t take my Austin Summer Coping Routine any longer. I had to get outside before I went nuts. And it turned out that Barton Springs Pool is open until 10 in the summer, perfect for people like me who are practically flammable. Also, did I mention that the pool is always 68F? Let me tell you, it seems even colder when the air is still nearly a hundred degrees when you wade in there. Also, while I knew the pool was fed by a natural spring, I had no idea that it was so slimy. This was particularly challenging considering that I’m a giant wuss and wanted to work my way into the water at my own (glacial) pace, but it was a constant stuggle to keep from falling down as the slimy rock floor of the pool sloped unpredictably. Eventually, I just gave up and went with it. The swearing involved was therapeutic, and I enjoyed feeling smug about paddling around in a bikini while some dude was doing laps in a full wetsuit.
The pool at night. Witness the vampires of Austin. And the smart people, since apparently admission is free after 9 PM.

Once I was throughly chilled, I found that it’s incredibly satisfying to sit on a towel on the hill and watch people swim. The hot air actually feels wonderful when you’re sitting there in a wet swimsuit watching some chick in a lime green ‘fro jump off the diving board.

Also keeping Austin weird was some random guy who stood up on the hill and gave an impromptu yodeling demonstration, to enthusiastic applause. Sadly, it was too dark to get a picture, but public opinion said he was good. For a yodeler. I lounged around for half an hour drying off and testing out the night settings on my camera. I got a lot of pictures of ghosts hovering above the diving board and spectral presences haunting the pool.
On the way out, my friend overheard a lifeguard telling someone about how they’d found a giant riding lawnmower in the pool last Thursday. It’s nice to see that, by comparison, I’m keeping my cool and dealing with this hellish summer rather well.

About The Gardener of Good & Evil

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12 Responses to Escape from the Death Star!

  1. Iris says:

    I LOVE the weather website! I haven't been to Barton Springs in many years, although I've lived here for more than 25 years. Thanks for reminding me to try it out again: the heat has fried my brain.

  2. katina says:

    Yeah, the lawn mower in the pool. That was fun. I guess the guy mowing the lawn lost control and slid down the incline and into the pool. They had to close it down for the day to make sure they cleaned all the oil and what have you out of the pool.

  3. ESP says:

    Hi Lori.
    Hilarious post!
    Hilarious weather site!

    You had me laughing out loud to the aggrivation of my wife who was intently, and ironically watching the latest “True Blood” episode.

    Barton Springs? Wow, you are tough, Deep Eddy is about as much as I can endure, although it does lack the yodeling / vampire aspect.

    Very funny.

  4. Lori says:

    Iris – Seriously, that's my go-to website for weather these days. I can't say it's over 100 degrees without inserting blistering invective in there somewhere. And yes, I can't recommend Barton Springs Pool enough when it's this hot, and at night it's especially nice.

    Katina – I'm surprised that it didn't happen sooner, actually. When we were drying off on the hill, my friend and I invented the physical and mental discipline of “roll-ya,” a yoga-like activity practiced while trying not to fall down the hill.

    ESP – Heeeeyyy, ESP! I have to admit that part of my ennui has extended to neglecting the world of gardening blogs, so I must soon visit the Patch and see what you've been up to.

    I've never visited Deep Eddy, but I have to say that after spending some quality time in Barton Springs, I felt like the human equivalent of a frosty margarita, kind of numb and tingly at the same time. I suspect that was true for most of us, considering how much we enjoyed the yodeling. Did I mention that the yodeler was wearing khakis? Makes it even better, doesn't it? ;D

  5. Bob says:

    It bothers me how the C.o A. talks about how clean the pool is but there was no slime in there when I was a kid. And you know what makes slime grow. I'm glad you enjoyed your swim though.

  6. Pam/Digging says:

    Deep Eddy is my favorite Austin pool, especially with little kids, and is nice and cool as a pool should be. But there's nothing like Barton Springs to remind you why Austin is special. I don't go often (my kids don't like water that cold), but what a neat place it is. I've jumped off that diving board too, though not in a green 'fro.

  7. Peter says:

    My first (and only) time at Barton Springs, I was mocked into jumping in rather than easing into the 68F water and slowly acclimating to the temperature. A few minutes later I nearly inhaled a clump of algae.

    I've not been back.

    (The place has a great vibe, though.)

  8. Been there in the daytime with out-of-town family and the cooling effect did last for awhile. It looks like great fun, Lori, but that slippery slime is too scary for me!


  9. Diana says:

    Lori — so glad you have checked this rite of Austin passage off your list. People watching at Barton Springs was a must-do when I was a teenager/college student. Swimming in that *&^%*# cold water — not so much. Even the death star doesn't make 68 degree water appealing to me. I've never tried it at night, though and love your pictures. It almost looks … dare I say it … cool.

  10. EAL says:

    Fabulous! I don't ever envy Texas weather, but that pool sounds awesome.

  11. randomizeme says:

    Hey, cool pics! Made me want to take a dip myself… except it's too cold where I am 🙂

  12. Sylvana says:

    Funny post! I will be bookmarking that weather site. I see that you are from Northeastern Wisconsin; I grew up in Northeastern Wisconsin. Like way Northeastern. I bet the weather in Austin was quite an eye-opener!

    (got here from Cobrahead's blog, weird:)

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