1. Be dressed like John the Baptist.
    Lots of gauzy, knotted fabrics, bare shoulders, something wrapped around your head.
  2. Bring at least four children with you. Send the oldest through the gate ahead of your party so he/she can scout out an acceptable location. Tell the others to, when they walk in, imagine the baddest rap song is accompanying their every move.
    Instilling confidence is important.
  3. Arrive carrying three beach totes, two coolers, one bag of ice, six snorkels, a case of fizzy water, forty chicken nuggets, and at least one bag of Red Vines.
  4. In other words, be the person you said you'd never be.
  5. Next, find your tree. Spread out a king-sized blanket, have all the kids sit down on it, and wave at the person sitting adjacent said blanket as if you are long lost friends.
    Yes, she was there first. But there WAS room.
  6. She will then, having no idea who you are, get up and move.
    Possibly d/t fear.
  7. Congratulations: you now own not only the last remaining slice of shade, but maybe even the entire pool.
  8. Caveat: I live here only four months a year and people think I'm exotic because I use sunscreen—so I can get away with this behavior. If you have to live where you live the whole year round...go now in peace, accepting thine place in the divine order of things, and know that when it comes to poolside real estate, the early bird gets the shade.
    Also, she didn't have to move. I was being neighborly, it's 90 degrees, and this isn't Canyon Ranch. We swelter together, we swelter as one.