I got to the pool at 10:30 a.m. yesterday. By 11, spots were being reserved, coolers were being set up strategically underneath the cover of shrubbery, and pillboxes littered the side of the pool. The Beats Pill, sometimes referred to as a “pillbox,” is a wireless speaker small enough to carry inside of a purse or backpack. When one party has a pillbox at the pool, it can be glorious, but it can also be a total disaster. This all depends on who the DJ is. And if there is more than one person with a portable speaker, I would just suggest packing your shit up and leaving.
Pools are a thing here in Texas. In the Midwest, the swimming pool is certainly a popular destination, but I also had the privilege of growing up in Michigan. This means that I was never more than a few hours’ drive away from Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, or one of the million other gorgeous lakes that litter both sides of the state. I’ve always preferred the beach to the pool — one, because Michigan has some of the best beaches and lakes in the entire world, but also because I love the sand. Volleyball, spikeball, frisbee — you name a game that we can play on the sand and I’ll fucking play it. You can’t typically play these games next to a pool. But whatever, I get it. Not every state in this country can be as eclectic and ever-changing as the Mitten State.
In Austin, if your apartment building doesn’t have a pool, chances are you have multiple friends that have access to one. This means when the weekend hits and it’s 105 degrees outside, you’re hitting someone up so you can sip Miller Lites poolside. And yeah, I guess if we’re getting technical here, you can throw a towel and some beer in a bag and go to Barton Springs, but that takes a lot of planning and effort. There is also a line about a mile long every Saturday to get into this spring, and if you think I’m going to stand in line to swim anywhere you’re out of your goddamn mind.
If you’re made of money or just have some really wealthy friends, you might even have a private pool, situated in a backyard that you’re able to swim in with reckless abandon. I do not have the privilege of knowing anyone with their own backyard bungalow. On the weekends here, if I feel like getting some sun, I either need to bother someone who will let me onto their pool deck or I have to sneak into one on my own accord.
This precarious situation I find myself in every weekend is due to the increasingly frustrating fact that my apartment complex’s pool is not yet ready to swim in. Luckily, I have experience sneaking into pools. I’ve done it in cities all over this great nation, and I happen to live next door to an incredibly upscale apartment building that has an infinity pool overlooking a Whataburger and some low-rent office buildings. Why the architects of this place didn’t build the pool facing downtown Austin escapes me, but that’s not really important. I try and get over to this pool at least once a week. They have free lemon water, two very large grills, and a guy working “security” downstairs who I am now convinced knows that I do not live in the building. My only complaint is one that I know plagues pool decks all over the world on a daily basis. It is the overabundance of speakers being played at max volume. The market, as they say, has become saturated.
Yesterday, I was in the unfortunate position of being a listener. I had no choice but to submit myself to whatever the owners of the pillboxes wanted to listen to. We had a couple who was playing nothing but Kenny Chesney. We had two guys in their mid-20s playing EDM. We had three women way past their prime listening to Rihanna and drinking rosé like Monday morning wasn’t just a half a day away.
All of these genres, while great on their own, were not very pleasant all at once. Each party tried to drown out the other by turning up the volume on their pillboxes or creating makeshift amplifiers out of plastic cups and anything else they could get their paws on. I thought we lived in a society, you guys. A place full of giving and taking. If someone already has a speaker on the pool deck just let them have the floor. Put up with their music and ask if you guys can switch off on music duties in an hour. Isn’t that better than barely being able to hear your music because “This Is What You Came For” is drowning out your Dave Matthews’ Live From Central Park album? You’re no longer listening to music when there are three different speakers playing wildly different music. It’s a hodgepodge of nonsensical noise at that point.
I’m lucky to have such a nice pool situated less than 100 yards from my apartment. The water is always set at a very nice temperature, the security is incredibly lax, and I can usually sit there and read a book with limited interruption. But the excessive use of portable speakers has to end. One pillbox per pool is what I propose. I think that’s one thing even Trump and Clinton can both agree on. .