Dearest Mr. and Mrs. Liars,
A few weeks ago when our 3 foot high pool went up, your son, David, was having a blast. He’d come over all the time, and he and Terran were like little fishies in there.
Then, quite suddenly, David didn’t want to go into our pool anymore.
“Why not, David?” I would ask.
He would not respond. The only thing he would say was, “I’m not allowed.”
“But why, David?”
“I’m not allowed.”
Of course, being that I can never let anything go, I started wondering if it was because you thought our pool was dirty. It’s not like there’s pond scum in it all the time. Just sometimes.
Is it because Terran has planters warts? Because we’ve been treating those.
What is it?
Finally, I must have badgered your son enough, that he told me, and I quote, “My dad says that I can’t go in the pool because it makes my skin brown.”
But his skin is already brown. You are Filipino. You just arrived here from the Philippines in March. Is it a cultural thing? I even googled “Filipino culture,” not wanting to be culturally insensitive. Maybe Filipino people don’t believe in swimming pools? Maybe getting browner is a sign of lower class? I don’t know. Your son never explained and you never bothered to come over and explain it yourselves. So I was left believing all sorts of things. I was even going around educating my friends and family by explaining that, “Filipino people don’t like their skin to get brown.”
Look at me giving out inaccurate information!
Because on the weekend, I discovered that you and your family not only went to the public pool, but you also spent several days at the beach. Where there is sun. And water. And where you skin can get brown. Which is why us Canadians go to the beach in the first fucken place!
So yesterday I asked David again, “David, why aren’t you allowed to play in the pool anymore?” to which he replied, “Because it makes my skin brown,” to which I replied, “Well, you went to the beach and the public pool, and those also make your skin brown.”
And just something in the way he hesitated before delivering his perfectly rehearsed line made me go, “Wait a fucken minute!” Don’t worry, I never said these exact words to your son. I do occasionally swear in front of my kids, but I would never do it in front of yours. Well, not consciously anyway.
So I said to your son, “David, go tell your parents that if you come into my pool, I will sit on the deck all afternoon watching you. I will – and it is very important you remember this next word David – I will SUPERVISE you.”
So imagine my surprise when David returned a few minutes later with his towel and a big smile.
You thought I left the children unattended while they were in the pool? Which I find interesting because I’m not rocking this great tan because I spend my summer hauled up in the house. I’m outside SUPERVISING my children when they’re in the pool.
But rather than come over, and check out the situation for yourselves, AND simply ask me the question: Are you out there with them when they’re in the pool? and save us all a lot of embarrassment…well, not me, I’m not embarrassed…well, other than the fact that I’ve been going around telling people that Filipinos don’t like to be brown…but rather than be honest with me, you would lie to me, AND teach your son to lie as well.
So now it’s awkward between us, because you lied, and now you know that I know you lied.
And now, your son can play in the pool with my son, which is terrific. But now, when he refuses the freezies and the cookies that I offer him because he doesn’t like…ummm…pure sugar! I’m left wondering: Does he really not like this stuff, or are his parents afraid I won’t perform the Heimlich if he chokes.
your neighbour who has to wave to you every day from across our driveways