It's hot. Not like regular ol' summer hot; we're talking desert-mountain in July kind of hot, sweltering in the shade and wishing on an Ice Age kind of hot. You need water—big, enveloping water, not your usual mid-afternoon cold tub soak (which is really more confusing than relaxing because it's shallow and porcelain and indoors, and there's soap scum around the rim and your scrubby sponge is all janky and matted with hair).
So, you decide to steal a swim and rumor has it that the Eldorado Hotel has a pool. Plus, said hotel is allegedly fancy and curiously tall in light of Santa Fe's three-story-only rule. This means the pool's probably swanky and awesome, as well.
So you hatch a half-baked plan to sneak in, even though you have no lay of the land, no inside contacts and no key card.
You throw your Guatemalan caftan on over your mismatched bikini—half inherited, half thrift-stored—toss your Wisdom of the Enneagram library book into a tote bag and drive downtown. You park at the Hilton, not because you're intending on scamming a swim there, but because it's close and downtown parking is annoying. (And, hey, as long as you're stealing a swim, you might as well steal a parking place.) It's Sunday–you figure you're safe.
Inside the posh Eldorado, you aimlessly wander the lobby level, failing to find any signs of a swimming pool. After passing the front desk for the third time in 10 minutes, you dart into an elevator, thinking you'd better make a move that casts you guest-like before they catch on and toss you out. Besides, the Santa Fe elevator ride is a kicky attraction in and of itself, given its rarity.
You instinctively press the 5th floor button and are delighted when you're greeted by a simple brass "pool" sign upon exiting the elevator and doubly so when an older woman wearing a semi-sheer cotton tunic over her red maillot inserts her key card into the "guests only" slot and then holds the door to the rooftop pool area open for you.
Now, by the grace of divine timing garnished with a healthy dash of chutzpah, you are now soaking in an oversized vat of chlorinated water, reading about the pitfalls of being a social five with a four wing while sitting on the steps of the Eldorado Hotel's rooftop pool.
You wonder how you'll ever recreate it; and in that heady space of wondering, you forget to enjoy the smooth, yummy water wrapping itself around your waist and the tiny wind-blown waves lapping at your elbows. Screw it, you decide. Enjoying this cool, wetness here and now is infinitely more fun than scheming a permanent Santa Fe swimming hole.
Summer pool thievery—one day, one miracle, at a time.