Today’s featured Corner Bench is no bench. Instead, I’m kicking back in a reclining lounge chair next to a pool shaped like the rim of a martini glass. Considering it’s my week off between guiding trips in Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce, I decided I needed one leisurely day; one day of not carrying a backpack or fixing blisters; one day of not driving the car and fighting Phoenix traffic; one day of not hating the 110-plus-degrees-heat but rather embracing it and doing as the rich do: finding a pool and indulging.
Though tempting and potentially free, I didn’t settle for surreptitiously poaching one of the cheaper hotel pools.
After a quick Google search for Best Pools in Scottsdale I stumbled onto a post by the AZ Spa Girls site. Surely they know What’s Hot, I thought. According to these chicks, the best pool for ‘people gawking’ is the “Oh Pool at Hotel Valley Ho, where on any given day you’ll find an eclectic mix of folks floating around.”
Since none of my girlfriends are free today, I decided people watching would be the perfect remedy for keeping Joy still enough to enjoy relaxing by a pool. And so I’ve wholeheartedly justified that a $65 pedicure is totally worth it for access to the pool at this vintage boutique hotel.
I showed up around 11 o’clock, the asphalt temps already over 100 degrees and climbing. No one was here so I picked the loungiest-looking pair of cushioned chairs replete with a big umbrella providing ample shade. I put my stuff down, peeled down to my bathing costume and eased into the cool water.
Moments later, another character appeared and, lo and behold, pranced right to my realm past all of the other 150 open chairs scattered around the pool platform. The sixty-something-year-old lady is in fine Scottsdale form (ie, physically fit for her age and clearly taking advantage of medically/technologically advances to help encourage parts of the body that might otherwise succumb to gravity). I watched as Mrs. Robinson paraded over and placed her stuff on the other side of the two-person setup like a lioness reclaiming her territory. She proceeded to drop the umbrella (bye, bye, shade) and scootch onto her yellow towel to lather oil on her leathery skin. But she’s eclectic, right, so how could I be mad? Besides, total immersion in water has the amazing effect of reducing the stress of bothersome trivialities and restoring a peaceful center.
So I moved to one of the other hundred open chairs around the pool. No big deal. I sipped ice water brought by one of the girls attending us rich folk. As 11 o’clock faded to the afternoon, people started fanning in and the gawking the AZ Spa Girls mentioned in their post came to life. There’s the group of good-looking, polished, gay British boys glued to the first game of the World Cup at the Oh bar, the little girl who just threw up pool water next to my chair and the Latino man trying his hardest with techno from his iPhone to drown out the fantastic mix of tunes playing on the common Oh radio. The rest of the crowd of 20 is a mix of gabbing, tan girls and a handful of younger couples sipping cans of Modelo pulled from buckets of ice quickly melting by their chairs.
Every now and then I have to adjust the location of my Corner Bench so it’s in the shade and out of the inferno pressing down on this town that serves as our second home. All it takes is one soul-reviving dip underwater to forget how much I miss Durango and summer mountain breezes. Speaking of, one of the blue floaties is free. Cannonball, as the AZ Spa Girls say with a million exclamation points.