What I'm really thinking: The lifeguard

When you're walking round a pool for eight hours a day, you think about everything. You worry that the floor is giving you athlete's foot, or you calculate the number of tiles poolside, to pass the time. While doing this thinking, you have to keep counting heads, to make sure everyone's still above water – sometimes I remember how many people are in each lane as a telephone number.

People regress to childhood in a pool – they come up and tell me that a person in their lane is splashing or going too fast, like telling the teacher. I try not to get too involved.

I hate using my whistle. If you don't whistle loud enough, it's embarrassing. But not as embarrassing as when I dropped my whistle in the pool (you have to hold it in your hands, as it's deemed too dangerous to have around your neck). I also hate it when customers walk through the changing rooms in muddy shoes. Obviously, having to rescue someone is a bad part of the job, too.

But the thing I dread is swimming galas: the kids get so nervous, they have been known to throw up. I just pray they'll get to the side in time. I also dread having to tell people that their white swimwear has gone see-through, that they can't wear thong bikini bottoms or that they aren't a good enough swimmer to be in the deep end.

The music's pretty annoying, too – there are only so many times you can listen to the latest Alexandra Burke song. Sometimes I dream about my ideal job: being a pool DJ.

• Tell us what you're really thinking at mind@guardian.co.uk

Thanks to guardian.co.uk who have provided this article. View the original here.


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