I
Illustration by Tariq Kamal
 

In 2008, I took on the role of a county aquatics program coordinator at the beginning of the summer. Like most new staff members, I was ambitious and eager to prove myself. So I decided to hold five new events at various pools, including a ?dive-in? movie. I knew this event would take the most planning and preparation so I started early, determined to make it an unqualified success.

Right away, I was given a projector. I managed to hook it up to a computer and planned to show a popular animated fish movie. So far so good ? or so I thought.

A month out from the movie was when problems started happening. First, I sent out advertising to the community that stated the movie would start at 7:30 p.m. It was only after the ad had already gone out that I decided to actually do a test run of the movie.

I arrived at 5:30 p.m. to set up equipment and, after troubleshooting the hookups, all that was left was to project it in the dark. So I waited ... and waited. Apparently, it does not get dark until 8:30 in late summer in New Mexico. People with lots of free time know this. (Note to self: Send out new advertising).

When it finally got dark, all I had to do was project the movie across the lap pool and set up a screen on that side. After attempting to do this in a variety of ways, I realized this was harder than it sounded. Because of the distance across the pool and the improvised office equipment I was using, I would need a mammoth-sized screen. The best solution was projecting the movie against the pool building. But it was a heavily textured block and I would need a screen. This is also when I realized I had no sound.

Still, I wasn?t deterred. After all, I had a month to go. There was plenty of time to make the necessary preparations. So the next day, I set out to make this event work. I borrowed a 16-foot screen from one of the community centers and a large-sized amplifier. I went back at night (after 8:30 p.m. this time). Now a new problem hit me: gusts of wind sent the screen teetering and tossing. But I did find out that the amplifier worked.

OK, another battle lost, maybe. But I was sure I would win this war. The next day, I persuaded another program to purchase two sheets of plywood and some two-by-fours that I took to the site and primed white. A few lifeguards helped me assemble the plywood onto frames and fasten them to the wall for a screen that would withstand any gusts that might come up.

I had thought of everything except the unexpected.

My preparation complete, I greeted the night of the event with all the confidence of a fool. The equipment checked out. The screen stood tall and sturdy. The only problem was the light sprinkle that had begun. Undeterred, I covered the equipment. This was New Mexico, after all, where everyone joked that if you didn?t like the weather, wait 10 minutes. The rain would go away, I told myself. Then, as if Mother Nature had heard my thought, it began to rain harder until it was pouring.

Finally, I had to bring all the equipment inside and wait for the rain to stop. By now, patrons started arriving. These were the hardened pool kids who arrive day or night, sleet or rain. But even this rain was too much for them. At 9 p.m., I had to admit defeat. I was still wet, and it was still raining. And my dive-in movie would have to wait for another day.

Later, I discovered that my event, which was scheduled for late August, was right in the middle of what?s considered monsoon season in New Mexico. But I haven?t given up. I plan to offer the dive-in movie this summer in June.