"Because you're wearing a t-shirt," was his answer. He blew his whistle again.
Apparently, standing in two inches of water is a high crime if you are in swim trunks, a rubber bathing cap, and a dreaded t-shirt.
I asked the kid why? He started laughing. I asked the other kid why? He said..."No!" Then blew his whistle at me again. The other boy started laughing. I asked what the rule was and I got a long list of rules in Chinese. I asked why are these rules? They said, "Because it is a rule." Then he blew his whistle again as if an exclamation point. I looked at this kid and said, "So, YOU can stand in the water in a t-shirt and without a rubber bathing cap with YOUR hair to YOUR shoulders, that's o.k., but I can't." The boy said, "Yes, because I am a life guard." Then he blew his whistle again, emphatically.
So I looked around, lots of people were wearing t-shirts and long sleeve swim shirts...this is tropics after all, it was over 100 degrees. I pointed out to the life guards, (now there were five of them, none in bathing caps, all wearing whistles) that many of the patrons were wearing shirts in the pool. The sun is blazing. It's almost ... dangerous. Now all five laughed. "No. No. No. We said no. We are life guards. Those are REGULATION shirts. This is the rule."
I looked at my cotton T-shirt. "This is not a regulation shirt?"
He was about to blow his whistle in my face again, but I gave him a look that said he'd be digging it out of his stool tomorrow...and he dropped his hands at his sides.
So I relented instead, I stepped six-inches to my right, now I was actually out of the wading pool and onto the concrete landing, and asked, "Is this better?" The Chinese life guard said, "Yes, now you are OK."
I looked at this kid. This ridiculous Asian kid with his green hair down to his shoulders and his whistle (give an Asian person a whistle and .... look out!) and his work gloves...why was he wearing rubber work gloves? All I could do was shake my head. Truly... it's time to get out of here.