Posts

Hugs

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“Hi.” Today M sports a turquoise fox sweater that I can’t help but admire.
“Cute fox sweater,” I say.
“It’s a skunk.”
“Oh, of course. Cute skunk sweater.”
She shrugs, shy. “I like skunks. Do you?”
Annalise makes a face as she tosses her stuff around the locker. “Only if they are not by me…” She waves her arms away and around to ward off the imaginary skunk. M giggles.
M and I had already been swimming together. But she hadn’t stayed in long. Later, she’d wanted a hug in the sauna. It was awkward. I was tired, hungry and ready to shower. Plus, I'm really not a 'hugger'. I remember when Ian's Scottish sister-in-law came to visit and upon first meeting me had asked, "Are you a hoogger?" I hadn't understood her with her Scottish lilt, but when Ian clarified, I shook my head. "No, not really," I'd told her. Yet today, with M, I could tell she needed a hug. And so I climbed down off the top shelf of the sauna, wrapped my towel around my wet sw…

Happy Happy HAPPY Holidays!

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“You look sad.”

What? I look sad? What the hell does that mean? The presumption! She looks sad too! Splayed in the corner of the sauna’s lower shelf. Her turquoise sweats straining at her substantial thighs. Her beige towel covers her top half, draped over her breasts. I’d just said, hello. Asked how she was doing today. Being ‘friendly’ since I had chatted with her in the past. Albeit briefly. Now she stares at me, pityingly, through her foggy wire-rimmed glasses, her round face puckered up under her mound of dark curls.

I shake my head..... Well, I suppose I’ll smile, “Actually, I’m not sad,” I answer, maybe a bit indignant? “I’m just tired and hungry,” I chuckle. “Hey, maybe I am sad!”

She laughs, the folds on her chin jiggling. “You been exercising a lot, right?”
“Yup, I was in the pool for almost an hour. Swimming always makes me super hungry!”
She nods, “It’s the water.”

I agree. It is something about the water that makes me hungry. But sad? I don’t feel sad.
Though later today…

Stinktopia

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“I see you skipped the pool tonight,” Sandy observes as she saunters naked across the squalid Jacuzzi room to grab a paper towel.
“Yeah,” I shake my head, “I had to get a stupid TB test and so can’t go in the pool or Jacuzzi for 48 hours.” Sandy has noted my lack of wet hair and wet suit and discombobulation from being out of my swim routine mug?

“I understand,” she says now, as she strolls past me on her way back into Utopia. I follow her in, DL behind me. We all settle down to get the heat. There’s only one other woman in the sauna. An Amazonian Blonde lying prone on the bottom shelf. I’ve not seen her before, but I’ve been gone for weeks because of the pool closure. So, she could be a New Regular.
DL wrinkles her nose. “The smell….” she murmurs. “I can’t take it,” and she bolts out of the sauna.

She’s right. There is a VERY strong smell of that eucalyptus potion that some of the women in Utopia employ. I usually don’t mind it, but DL’s exit is entirely appropriate. I don’t follo…

Legs Up

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“Cj…” DL whispers, nodding toward the dank dark floor of Utopia, its ickee cement a situation I usually avoid looking at. But now, I follow her gaze. EEEEEWWWWW!

“Is that a Cockroach?” I ask, aghast and queasy.
She nods. Sandy sits up from the top bench of Utopia, shakes her head. “They just fumigated the place.”

“Looks like it worked?” I venture.

“Nope, if it had, we wouldn’t be looking at what we’re looking at. Would you mind calling the front desk, Denise?” Sandy asks. “Let them know we saw a dead cockroach in the sauna. Legs up.”

DL nods. Sandy continues, “This is what happens when people bring food in here. Why last week, someone brought glass into the hot tub and it broke and they had to close the joint for two days.” She harrumphs, shaking her head. “I mean, c’mon, People! Get a clue! You can’t bring glass in here. It’s a hazard. You can’t bring food in here. It results in….” She wrinkles her nose, nodding toward Legs Up.
DL scurries out of the sauna. I’m right behind her. Disgu…

It's 4th of July at the Y!!!

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I knew it would be bad. I mean, hell, it’s 4th of July. The height of pool mayhem season, but I needed to swim. And when I got out to the deck of the Hilltop YMCA, things were pretty calm. Only one serene woman swimmer in the center lap lane. A couple of parent tots in the far lane. I was pleasantly surprised as I grabbed the empty lane farthest from the tots.

The water felt cool, refreshing. I needed this! I’d been sick with a heinous headache for days and today was the first day I was up and about. So, of course, the first thing I do is head for the pool. Even though it was a holiday.

And holidays at the Hilltop YMCA are notorious for pool pandemonium.

I got lulled into a rhythm nevertheless. Even with this knowledge. Swim while I can.

But the din started to grow. I stopped at the wall for a moment to change equipment, noting how the lifeguard had now taken out a lap lane and opened it up for more parent tots. I sure hope they had their swim diapers on. (But that’s another blog)

Show Some Respect!!!!

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The pink ball plops into the middle of my lane. I stop, exasperated, but undaunted as the boy springs into my lane, fetches the ball and dives back into the mayhem family lane. Yes it’s summer at the Downtown Oakland Y and while I have my own lane, I have the misfortune of it being next to the family lane. Hence the ball interruption.

But whatever. It’s no big deal, right?

I keep swimming. Swimming. Swimming. Maybe 10 laps.
Then again, the pink ball plops into my lane.
Shit. The same process is repeated. The boy hops into my lane, retrieves the ball, and hurls it back at his playmates. He’s loud. Brash. Confident. Doesn’t give me a second glance. I stop. Stare at him in amazement. Then stare at the lifeguard who’s standing on the edge of the deck observing the lap swimming interruption .

Why the hell doesn’t the lifeguard do anything?

Oh, yeah, I’m at the Downtown Oakland Y. The lifeguards are completely ineffectual. And part of me thinks, okay, it’s not their job to parent the kid…

Emotional

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“Were you swimming in the pool tonight?” ,her voice a wistful resignation.

“Yes,” I say, thinking where else would I be swimming, but refrained from being a smartass. Something about her, lying with the bag of ice on her belly, was vulnerable, tender. I don’t think I’d ever seen her before in Utopia, though Sandy knew her. But Sandy knows everyone.
Sandy’d been haranguing earlier about the idiocy of women who do whatever they want-- to hell with everyone else. This started with my relief that the hot tub was working again. “Last week, it was closed. Something about broken glass?” I reported, leaning back into the corner, letting the dry heat soothe.

Sandy had harrumphed, “Some people! They bring a bottle of Perrier, and leave it on the side of the Jacuzzi and oh gee, lookee! It fell into the hot tub and broke into tiny little pieces. Oh well. Or there was this woman last week, she brought her glass jar, glass mind you, into the sauna here, full of some unsavory soup concoction, and …