Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer in the City

Growing up in the suburbs, my idea of how city residents spent their summers had been based exclusively on Lovin' Spoonful lyrics and whatever I saw on TV. Open fire hydrants were standard, viable means of cooling off for city folk. Right?

Now that I am a city dweller myself, I realize that people can use community pools, park sprinklers and their very own garden hoses to beat the heat. As an adult, I realize it is neither legal nor wise to open a fire hydrant. But, there is another urban oasis that beckoned to my kids---and I finally let them indulge!

I had been told by the tour guide on a double-decker bus that swimming in the majestic fountains of the city was perfectly legal. The guy's job was to spew off little known facts about the history of the city, so I followed his legal advice with confidence. Yes, there was a spattering of "No Swimming" signs encircling the fountain. But I figured they meant no swimming, like breast-stroke and stuff. Surely a couple of pip-squeaks splashing around in the glistening water under the close supervision of their law-abiding mother was fine, right? I had certainly seen it done by countless other children. That means it has to be legal, no?

At any rate, the kids frolicked and had fun. At one point another kid entered the fountain as well. Within thirty minutes, they were all done and so we packed up and left.

Upon returning home, I figured I would try to find out whether or not I had aided and abetted my children in any crime. I consulted the internet, called the city and pored over the city code, but found nothing indicating fountain swimming was illegal. There were plenty of instances clearly illustrating it was discouraged, but nothing saying it was against the law.

For the sake of their permanent records, I'll probably keep my kids in the pools and sprinklers from now on. But between you and me, I'm glad they got to have that fun.

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