Sunday, December 31, 2006

Goddamn Lions Pool!

Is Lions the most goddamn insane pool in the world for crowds? Okay, maybe not in the world. Lord knows that pool in Paris was like a French Waterway Freeway, complete with rules and regulations galore. And what about the pool in China? Hell, that was an adventure in maneuvering the Children Rule Obstacle Course.

But Lions? What the hell is up with that place? I mean! Granted it is a holiday of sorts. Though why everyone and their grandmother is swimming on goddamn New Year’s eve is a complete mystery to Pool Puss. Don’t they hafta go out and buy their 16 cases of champagne to party till the midnight hour? Evidently not. They’re all swimming at Lions complete with every conceivable type of accoutrement!

Hell, there was a lady in the slow lane (or is it really the Chatting Lane?) with a goddamn wool ski hat on. PP kids you not! Dirty brown with little white snowflake designs. PP kept wondering what happened to all that wool when she went underwater. Thankfully, she didn’t.

And the Mammoth Whale Man? Lord help us! PP is resting for a moment at the side of the pool, awestruck at the sheer volume of swimmers. 6? 7? No, maybe 8 swimmers in the center ‘fast lane’—of course with so many swimmers it’s a little difficult to go fast. In addition to Wool Ski Hat Lady in the Chatting Lane there musta been at least 10? No couldn’t be that many? Yeah it could. So PP tries the medium lane, with only 7 or 10 swimmers, and much to her astonishment watches in rapt amazement as Mammoth Whale Man takes a running leap from the deck and plunges into the middle of the fray. And what a fray he creates! Plowing up the center of the lane. Completely oblivious to everyone else. Watch out! He’s coming thro!

And the poor Super Fast Swimmer from mills in the center lane! PP stops for a moment (she’s been hopping from lane to lane hoping to get in some sort of swim between the crowds—an Equal Opportunity Swimmer as a very witty woman said the other day in the shower) again, to survey the scene and SPS sighs heavily, completely exasperated with the plodding pace. PP nods, tries for a joke. “No one’s as fast as you are!” SFS just nods and takes off, her effortless power jetting thro the washing machine waves.

And the showers! PP tries not to think about it, but the claustrophobia is hard to keep at bay. She does get a shower. In the middle. Observes Ski Cap Lady come in and take off her cap before shampooing up her long gray hair. JL giggles and exclaims, much to PP’s delight, “IS THAT A WOOL CAP YOU HAVE ON?” shouting to make herself heard over the 6 women all soaping up and sharing showers. SCL nods. “Yup.” “WOW! What a good idea!” JL grins. It is pretty funny. PP hasta admit that.

But as Janice, the Pool Maven is hollering how everyone can share her shower and the two women getting dressed next to PP (now outta the shower) marvel at Mammoth Whale Man’s Stroke. “How does he do it? He just glides through the water. He must be so strong!” PP grimaces. That’s one way to put it. She’d call it Obnoxious, but what does she know?

Safely outta the locker room (somehow PP’s survived), JF sighs, “Well, that was quite an Experience. Ready for Cat World?”

Sighing, PP nods, “Sure, what the Hell. There’s no way that it could be as bad as the pool.”

Happy Fucking New Year to all! And may next year be filled with empty pools, languid mermaids, and lots of warm warm water!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Julianne’s Triathlon

PP is so thrilled to be swimming again in the daytime thanks to her new swim tights! Shielding her from 98% of those deadly UVB Rays! (Not that it seems like any rays get through the cloud cover 5 days before the shortest, darkest day of the year!)

Now it’s back to afternoon Hot Tub Talk, complete with JL, the Lovely I, and Serious Swimmer Cat Woman, who’s talking about training for triathlons. An activity that completely eludes PP.

“Yeah, so a lot of it was these Transitions,” SSCW laughs, stretching her long, bare freckled leg on the edge of the tub. (PP is gonna be so hyper aware now of everyone’s exposed skin at the pool since she can’t expose any!) “And I don’t know. It was a cross between Utter Boredom and a Complete Waste of Time. A lot of time was going from one activity to the other with these Transitions. Like we’d get outta the water and then walk to the car to get changed for the Bike part and eat a Snickers bar and hang out for 45 minutes and…..”

“I like the Snickers Bar part!” PP interrupts, giggling.
“Yeah, that was the best part,” SSCW agrees.
“I guess I just don’t understand why anyone would wanna do a triathlon,” PP muses aloud.
“No, me neither,” SSCW agrees again. PP has never seen her so agreeable. Maybe it was all those Snickers Bars making her sweeter? “You know,” SSCW continues, “I get done with my swim and then what? Now we have to run? Or bike? Hell, the swim was enough for me.”
“Yeah I’d think so,” PP nods.
“We could construct our own kind of Triathlon,” JL giggles in delight. “Pool. Hot Tub. Shower.”
We all crack up.
“Or how about Pool. Hot Tub. Lunch?” The Lovely I grins.
“Even better!” PP laughs along with the group, even the middle-aged White Guy from Montclair smiles. Not sure if he’s supposed to participate in the dialogue?

Well, he’s not really since he’s obviously not part of the Pool Princess Club, but we’d probably make an exception as everyone’s in such a jolly mood.

Must be the Holiday Spirit at the Hot Tub?

Hey, now that PP thinks of it, The Middle-Aged White Guy did have a bit of a white beard and a round belly and….

Santa Claus in the Hot Tub?

Sure, why not. Anything is possible now that PP can swim again in the middle of the day!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Spirit of Bianca

“I can’t believe I’m up before 10:30. I never get up before 10:30. Sometimes I get up by 9, but that’s unusual.”
“And it’s so cool swimming in the morning!”
“Yeah, I never get up before 10:30.”
PP yawns in a grin, “What time do you get up?”
10:30 Girl stares right at her. “2 or 3 a.m.”
“Ahh, well, that explains it.”

PP sinks deeper into the steamy tub. 10:30! Hell, she’d love to sleep till 10:30! Students! They are so goddamn lazy and spoiled. Why look at them, lounging about on the hot tub ledge. Bet they didn’t even swim! Lazy good for nothing students.

“And then it was after 3 a.m. and I heard Trudy close her lap top and then start sobbing hysterically.” 10:30 Girl comments matter-of-factly.
“What was wrong?” Non-10:30 Friend asks.
“I dunno. It was after she’d been trying to write this paper for her IR class, and then I think she had just emailed the professor. And then I heard her crying. Maybe she’s having a torrid affair with her and …..”

Did PP hear that right? Or is the spirit of Bianca, the Luscious AMC Lesbian Daughter of the famed Erica Kane, so far in her brain that she hears such things?

“What did you do?” Non-10:30 Friend asks, all concern about Trudy.
10:30 Girl shrugs, “Nothing. I mean what could I do? It was 3:30 in the morning and she was crying and I told her it was after 3 in the morning. She should just go to sleep. But she just kept crying.”

Non-10:30 Friend nods. Of course, what could she do? It wasn’t like 10:30 Girl could go and call up the Lesbian Torrid Affair Professor and invite her over to soothe her Student Girlfriend at 3 in the morning.

PP turns and starts to stuff her too long hair in her cap. The morning sun freaking her out in its brightness. Was she ever gonna be normal again after the melanoma? If only she could go swimming at 3 in the morning with the Lesbian Professor and Trudy. No sun and lots of sin.
Now there’s a plan!

Heaving herself outta the tub, PP gathers up her kickboard, fins and pull buoy and starts over to the pool, the cold concrete making her shiver.

“Bye bye! Have a Nice Day!”
PP turns and smiles at Non 10:30 Friend who’s called out this friendly and seemingly genuine greeting. It’s not often that ‘Have a Nice Day’ sounds sincere.

“Thanks, you too!” she hollers back.

Maybe students aren’t so bad after all, PP thinks, as she picks an open lane in the middle of the pool’s steaming morning water. A fine silver mist covering the surface. Maybe there was something sorta enchanting about swimming in the morning. Especially if the spirit of Bianca was with you!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Hotel Lafayette

“I visited San Diego over Thanksgiving. I like it.”
PP nods as she watches Dancer Woman tuck her hair into her navy cap.
”Yeah, me too. My sister lives down there.”
“I found a great hotel if you ever want one. With an Olympic Sized Pool!”
Of course, PP cries out in delight, even though it is only 8:30 in the morning and it’s so damn cold that her kitty fur is standing on end. “WOW! How cool! What’s the name of it?”
“It’s called the Hotel Lafayette.”
PP nods. “I can remember that.” She doesn’t tell Dancer Swimmer the reason why she can remember is because Dashingly Handsome Boyfriend plays Mr. Lafayette, the Hit Man, in a horror film in progress.
“And all the rooms are named after Hollywood Stars. I got to stay in Cary Grant’s room.”
”How classy!” PP exclaims, wondering what other film stars have rooms named after them. Betty Grable? Marilyn Monroe? Jimmy Stewart? Mae West? Humphrey Bogart? Jean Harlow?

PP likes the idea of staying in Jean Harlow’s room. Tough, no nonsense and Blonde.

Grinning, PP watches as DS sighs wistfully, perhaps remembering the Olympic sized pool and the balmy San Diego breezes?

Or maybe she was thinking about Cary Grant?

Chuckling, PP watches as DS heads out into the coldness, wondering how far and how long Cary Grant swam in his day?

Somehow, PP thinks that he probably spent more time poolside, sipping martinis and smoking fine cigars as she follows DS out into the cold crisp morning.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Swimming again with the Lovely I. Oh my!

“Hello? Swimming Kitty? Are you allowed to swim on the darkest rainiest day of the year so far? I don’t think any UV rays could possibly come through…..”
PP stops her plodding through Beethoven’s Sonata in F minor to interrupt the Lovely I’s phone message. “HEY! Hello!”
“Hey? Can you swim today?”
PP thinks she can. Hell, if she can’t swim in a driving downpour when the heavens look like a dark wet gray blanket, when can she swim? (Of course she knows the answer to this, but c’mon!)

And so the Lovely I takes PP to the Pool.
And tells her many stories.
Of which, PP will now narrate the best.

“How was your Thanksgiving?” PP asks as they traipse through the rain up the steps to Club Mills.
“OHMYGOD!” The Lovely I exclaims. “You would not believe it! D’s sister had this total meltdown over the George Bush Toilet Paper.”
PP grins. This was gonna be good. “Why?”
“Oh my god. She just went off on D about how it was so inappropriate to give as a gift in front of the children.”
“Why? Don’t kids need to know who to wipe their ass with?”
(PP didn’t really think to say this, but it sounds good now.)
The Lovely I giggles, “Precisely.” (Again, this is made-up, but PP hasta keep the dialogue line going.) “You see,” LI continues, “D had brought the toilet paper as a gag gift. Duh. And while we thought it was hilarious at best and a nice gesture at the least, the sister did not!”
“What did she say?”
“She just went on and on about how it was a Bad Influence on the kids. How they hafta learn to respect those in power, especially the President. Never mind the fact that this President deserves no one’s respect. But hell, what do you expect from a die hard Republican!”
“Ahhh, one of those Sanctimonious Mothers!”
“Exactly! I mean! Even if you could protect your kids from all the Bad Influences out there, everyone knows this is impossible, cuz how the hell are you gonna do that?”
“Yeah.”
“They’re still gonna grow up and hopefully think for themselves and realize that George Bush isn’t even good enough for Toilet Paper!”
“Let’s hope so!”

In the hot tub, the cold rain barreling down, the Lovely I grins as she stands waist deep in the water. “You stayed in a long time!”
“45 minutes.”
“Wow! I hadda get out. I was just too cold.”
“Me too,” PP agrees. “But I figured I hadda take advantage of swimming after 10 a.m. and before 4 p.m. when the clouds provide an opportunity.”
“Heee heee heee!”
“What have you been doing with yourself?” PP asks as she melts down into the warm steamy sanctuary.
“Did I tell you I’m taking Horse Back Riding lessons?”
“No, cool.”
“It is so cool. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time but just couldn’t find anywhere to do it. All the places were either too far away or booked up. But then, lucky for me, the place up at Chabot gave my number to this new instructor and she called me and I said sure, why not? And I’ve had 5 lessons. And can you believe it? It’s really a workout! I’ve never been so sore in my life. I don’t remember this from when I was 12.”
“Yeah, well we’re a little different than when we were 12.”
“Hee hee! Yeah, so I was really happy with this cuz I’ve been trying to think of a way of improving my Core Strength. Swimming doesn’t do it. And I can’t do anything else like, run! So now, with the horseback riding, my Core is gonna improve. I can feel it.”
PP nods in agreement. Having no idea what to say to either horseback riding or Core Strength Improvement.”

“How’s your hand doing?” PP asks.
(The Lovely I has had a severely injured paw for many many months, but she’s driving now and swimming and horseback riding, so, it must be getting better! And it is!”
“I can Iron!” LI exclaims.
PP grins. “That’s wonderful. I guess. I mean, I haven’t ironed anything in 25 years, but hell, I could see how you’d need to use your hands to do it.”
“That’s so interesting.” LI muses. “I’ve come to the conclusion that people are divided into two groups. Those that Iron and those that Don’t.”


“Did you take any pictures with your underwater camera?” PP asks as they head outta the locker room.
“No, I was too cold. Ohmygod! Look at this!” LI cries as she grabs her camera. “I coulda been taking pictures while you were drying your hair.”
PP giggles as she watches LI begin to click away. The big blue pool being pounded into thousands of tiny little bullet indentations as the sheets of grey white rain come tumbling down. The steam rising in big billowing gusts as the swimmers plow methodically through their workouts.
It is beautiful.
And the Lovely I is too!
And swimming in the rain is too!

Happy Winter! PP thinks as she ducks under the LI’s big red and white umbrella to meander spacily back to the car.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

HOT TUBBING IN WILLITS

Willits, California. Gateway to the Redwoods. Home of Seabiscuit. Start of the Skunktrain.

What a place to vacation!

Well, actually, it’s a great halfway point between the Bay Area and Eureka, where PP’s folks live. And while it’s not an impossible drive to make in one trip (about 5-6 hours) if you can stop halfway, it’s so much nicer.

PP had spied the billboard for the Beachtel Creek Inn on the way up for the Thanksgiving Feast. Had been sorely tempted to stop as they’d been sitting in traffic for the last 3 of the 4 hours of the journey so far. Yes, everyone and their mother were headed to Grandmother’s for Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. And the Inn by a secluded creek right offa 101 seemed so tempting.

Alas, they plowed on. But yet, the billboard stuck in PP’s mind. “Come to Beachtel Creek Inn! Your oasis nestled next to a quiet creek. Pool.” (Imagine PP’s excitement!) “Hot tub, cable T.V., and spa.” (PP could do without the spa but everything else sounded heavenly.) So when they were looking for a spot to break up the drive back down to the Bay Area, PP booked a room.

Now, after a grueling mile long walk after the meal at Anna’s Asian Cuisine in the 40 degree cold down 101, a HOT Tub sounded like just the ticket. (The pool, of course, was closed. PP guessed that if the air temp was 40 the pool was probably 50? Maybe 60? In any case no water that she’d like to even dip her big kitty toe in!)

Dashingly Handsome Boyfriend was of course delighted by the prospect of a Hot Tub under the frozen stars of Willits. On their walk back from Anna’s, he’d tried to show PP the constellations. She was too cold to pay attention. (Besides the fact that she never could see the pictures in the sky that everyone else seemed to spot so easily!)

Easing into the steaming tub, DHBF grinned and sighed happily. After all he had been driving for the last few hours and the hot water was deliciously therapeutic. PP, dubious of a Hot Tub while they’d been galloping down 101 after dinner trying to escape the Frigid Night, now happily dunked into the welcoming steam.

Aaaaahhhh! Heaven!

Sinking into the toasty tub, PP closed her eyes, blissing happily, finally relaxing after the cold bone-chilling walk.

It was late. About 9? Maybe 9:15. The cute hick girl that had checked them into the hotel had said that the Hot Tub was open officially till 10, but she didn’t leave till 11, so they could stay that late. No one else was around. Of course no one else was crazy enough to go Hot Tubbing in Willits in the 40 degree weather except for the two of them. Until…..

The pool gate swung open. A couple giggling as they came in. Pert Blonde in sexy knee-high fur boots with her hotel white robe covering her soon to be revealed polka dot bikini, pleasantly rounded, she wore the bikini well. Handsome, blondish longhaired guy, pony tailed, with a sexy smile and a killer bod.

PP was delighted.

Courteous hellos were exchanged as the couple tossed off their robes. Pert Blonde smiling and asking if it was okay to turn on the jets.

“Sure,” DHBF answered good-naturedly. He was so nice. Unlike PP who woulda lied and said that the jets were broken. They’d already tried ‘em.( Cuz she purrfurred the still quiet of the hot water to the noisy bubbles of the jets.)

Giggling, PB turned on the jets and then hopped into the tub, with her handsome man following her dutifully.

“Oooohhh! This is the best I’ve felt all day!” PB exclaimed, sinking deep into the tub, her bleached blonde hair kept outta the water in a tight round bun atop her head.

PP nods. “Yeah, it’s really nice. Especially with it so cold out. We’ve just been walking for the last half hour in the freezing cold and this is divine!”

PB nods and then starts yammering to her partner about this and that. Thanksgiving. Eating too much. “I shouldn’t of had all that rich food! I’ve been on that cleansing diet for the last week and my system is killing me now. What with the turkey and the mashed potatoes and the gravy and that glass of wine. IT did me in!”

Handsome Ponytail Man nods. Doesn’t say much. Till the subject of Hot Tubs comes up. How they’d installed or taken out a hot tub? PP couldn’t really understand which since she was tired and heaterized. “Yeah…you shoulda seen the redwood deck under the tub. It was pure mush! You could stick your finger a half a inch into it.”

PB wrinkles her little nose in disgust. “Gross!”
He chuckles. “Yeah, well, they shoulda thought about the materials they were using when they put that tub there. We’re gonna lay a slab of concrete under ours before we install it.”

PB nods. “He’s a contractor.”
PP and DHBF both nod politely. Trying not to be too bored. PP can’t help but think about the close proximity of these two couples. It was a very small Hot Tub. But, hell, in Willits, it’s surprising there are any hot tubs at all! The town seemed to be full of speeding redneck motorcyclists, or souped up pick-ups with screaming teenagers hollaring at out-of-towners (namely PP and DHBF) trying to get to their hotels.

“These friends of ours gave us their hot tub. They hadda move. You shoulda seen their house! It was full of ART all the way up the wall," PB exclaims.

PP nods again. What the hell was she talking about? ART up the wall ? Contractor Man grins over at her. Silly puss, she was cute, but not so great at describing things. It takes a Contractor Man to really tell it like it is!

“They hadda a A frame house and they had these little shelves built up the wall. All the way to the ceiling. And they had these little pieces of art either on the shelves or nailed to the wall.”
PB nods. “Yeah! It was amazing! Imagine all the Dust!”

PP eyes her. Dust Art? Now there’s a concept! Nodding in pretend understanding, PP watches as they sparkle at each other. The chemistry palpable. If it’d been a few years ago, PP might have added to the chemistry. Now it was all just fantasy. After all they were sexy, even if they weren’t really her type. It was always good to expand your horizons.

Well, at least in theory.

DHBF yawns. Turns and grins over at PP. ‘You ‘bout ready to go?” he asks, with his own twinkle in his eye.

PP nods, giving him her hand as he helps her out of the tub. “You guys have a good night,” she calls back to the Sexy Couple, who now alone in the tiny tub are experimenting with different positions.

NO NOT those kinda Positions! After all, it was Willits, California. And while PP was sure that the good citizens of this fine town partook of as much fun as the next, they certainly would not be the types to look the other way at Hot Tub Shenanigans!

Shivering again, PP grins as she sloshes dizzily after DHBF back up the stairs, into their too green room to watch "The Mists of Avalon" on the cable T.V.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

These Cats Need a Pool!


Hell, they’ve got everything else here at the San Mateo Cat Show. Little pink hammocks to relax in. Matching purple bowls to eat delicately out of. Fancy Feathered Toys always waving for them. It’s Cat Heaven.


PLEASE DO NOT USE BATHROOM SINKS FOR EMERGENCY CAT WASHING. THERE ARE EMERGENCY CAT WASHING SINKS LOCATED IN PROMANADE 8A FOR THIS PURPOSE.

I stare at the sign and think, hell these cats need a pool, no matter how great the Promenade is. Emergency bathing for so many cats? Only an Olympic sized pool would do the trick. Or at least it would seem. Even though cats hate the water, I bet one of these special breeds is a Water Cat.

“Are you from Europe?”
I glance over at the Insane Cat Woman who’s just plopped down in the seat next to me to watch the judging for the Maine Coon cats.
What do I say to the Europe question? Something in German? “Nein, Ich bin auf California, bist du?” But I resist this temptation just in case she is German.
“No, I’m from California, not Europe.”
Insane Europe Woman glances at me skeptically, “Me too. I thought you were from Europe because of your shoes.”
I glance down at my odiously ugly clogs that I got free from the Chandler Apts that my sister hates. See, Snart! I look like I’m from Europe cuz of these shoes.

Well, at least at the Cat Show I do.

Are You From Europe Woman gets bored with me and my shoes, and turns to her breeder friends sitting behind her. “Did I tell you about Blue Cat?”
“No, darling do tell.”
”Well I emailed him about one of his kittens. He was asking $3400 for it which I thought was a bit steep so I forwarded the pic of the kitten to a friend of mine and he said, no way don’t you even think of buying that kitten. Look at its ears. They’re huge!” And so I wrote Blue Cat back and said, thanks so much for your time and your email but I am really looking for a kitten with smaller ears. And you know what he wrote me back?”
Gay Breeder leans closer, “Do tell!”
“He said, ‘I am sooo sorry that I was not able to meet your needs with such Special Circumstances!”
“ The Nerve!”
“Can you believe it?”
“Oh I believe it, honey. I believe it! You know what you shoulda written him back and said?”
“No, what?”
“You shoulda written him back and said you don’t want any kittens that could be dubbed ‘Dumbo’!
AYFE Woman guffaws. “Yeah! That’d woulda cooked his goose!”

“I have an Abyssinian and they’re a kick!”
I nod at a seemingly normal young woman, dark brunette hair framing her pale face. But I shoulda seen it. That crazed look in the eye. She had it.
“My Abyssinian has so much energy! He’s like a dog.
“Really? Like does he come when you whistle?
”Oh yeah! And he dances too.”
”My! That’s impressive.”
”Yes it is. I put a little cowboy hat on him and he does the doesseee doe.”
She grins and starts to do a little skip to demonstrate.
“Wow! That’s amazing.”
”Yeah, and can you believe that he does it on top of the refrigerator?”
“No.”

“This music is actually me singing. All songs about cats. It does include What’s New Pussycat, but it also has original cat songs by me. “
I nod. Pick up the pink CD and glance at the list as Cat Singer eyes me hopefully, her smile ready to crack her face open.

My Cat Belongs to ME
Pussy Cat Pussy Cat
I Left my Cat in San Francisco
The way you wear your Cat

I put the CD back on the table, and give her an encouraging smile. “Looks like a nice selection.”
“Yes, it is. But I have to tell everyone that’s it’s me cuz they just think it’s background music.”

“Look at this Big Guy! Wow aren’t you a handsome Big Boy!
JL coos at the bored giant Maine coon cat lolling about in his princely blue situation.
“What’s his name?”
“Willie.” Can’t Be Bothered Breeder kinda pays attention to us, but really she’d rather talk to her friend. Undaunted, JL presses on. “How much does he weigh?”
“17. I don’t let my cats get over 20. Once they hit 20 then it’s no more food for them!”
“Were you the one that the judge had a hard time lifting?” JL asks Willie who stares at her, completely in love.
”Oh, NO!” CBB Breeder now wants to clarify things for us. “That wasn’t Willie! That was that other Maine Coon. I think he’s 25 lbs.”
“I have a cat that’s at least 20 lbs,” I volunteer.
CBB Breeder looks down her nose at me. “Is he a Maine Coon?”
”No, he’s no show cat.” (SEE PHOTO!)
”Oh.”


“Marvin, can you just speak into the mike and tell us how important it is that the cats stay on the table? That they don’t jump down and chase the toy.”
Impatient dyed blonde interviewer shoves the microphone into Marvin’s face. Her assistant bearing down with the video camera.
“Why sure, Cynthia. I’d be glad to.” Marvin tosses a toy on the ground as the large tabby… Whoops! Of course it’s not a tabby. No Cat here is just a tabby. The large Somali glances down after chartreuse feather toy as Marvin looks directly at Cynthia to answer her question. “You see, if we had the cats jumping offa the tables when the judges are….”
”Can you please look at the camera!” Cynthia’s getting pissed. Time is money.
“Sure…..” Marvin drawls as he picks up the cat toy. The Somali paws for it lazily. “It is VERY IMPORTANT that the cats don’t jump offa the table…..”
The Somali eyes widen at the toy. Stretches his big paws toward it as he begins to roll off the counter. “NO, Tiny! Stay!”
“C’mon Dan, let’s try another one.”

”Are you guys ready to go already?” R asks, crestfallen.
DL and I nod. We’re tired and hungry and catted out. “Yeah,” DL sighs, “but we can stay a little longer if you want.”
R grins. ”Just 15 more minutes. I wanna go through the Meow Mall one more time.”
DL rises offa the grass outside to follow her girlfriend back inside. They link arms. “Do you want your picture taken?” Aggressive CAT Camera Woman blocks them on the way back in.
“No, no….I don’t want my picture taken,” DL protests.
“Oh, c’mon, D, it’ll be fun!” R exclaims as she leads her over to the International Space Station Cat backdrop and they pose cutely for ACC Woman.

“That’s a beautiful cat! What kind is it?”
Harried Balding Overweight Gent, (Is everyone at the Cat Show overweight? ) sighs, shifts a purrfect fluffy white feline to his other shoulder. “They’re Ragdolls.”
“OH, they’re so cute! Do they have a nice purrsonality?”
HROG grunts. I think how he doesn’t have such a nice purrsonality himself.
“Do you have any kittens for sale?” Curious Woman is undaunted. She wants information! That’s why she paid her 10 bucks to get into the goddamn cat show!
Sighing, he shifts the cat onto his lap as another one crawls up on his shoulder. “She might have some for sale. I dunno.”
“Do you have a card? Maybe I can give a call?”
Shaking his head, he glances around the counter full of cat toys, designer kibble and glasses of bad pink wine. “No.”
RQ glances over at me, mutters not too softly under her breath. “Some people aren’t very good salesmen round here!”

“OHMYGOD!!! Did I tell you R’s Adventure at the Cat Show last year?” DL exclaims breathlessly as we pull out of the San Mateo fairgrounds.

I glance around. Plenty of room for a pool! I really need to contact the Cat Show Higher-Ups and get that going for next year’s Emergency Baths.

“No,” JL answers, “What happened?”
”Well, now that you guys have witnessed the Cat Show, you’ll really get this story.” DL takes a deep breath before plunging in. “You know how when the judges are judging the cats and everyone is all quiet and serious and all?”
“Yeah, of course,” JL nods, leaning forward, intensely interested.
“Well, last year, we were at one of those judging moments when it’s really at that point when the Judge is giving the cats that one last close lookover and everyone is just sitting there rapt and R notices that one of the cats behind the judge has somehow gotten a piece of ribbon and is proceeding to chew it down as cats will. And we’re sitting there watching as this beautiful Persian cat is chewing this ribbon and thinking hell, it’s gonna kill itself. So R just gets up and walks right in front of the judge and all the snooty cat breeders and goes up to the cage and starts to yank the ribbon outta the cat’s mouth as everyone just stares in astonishment!”

”Wow! That’s really good she did that!” I exclaim in admiration for R’s amazing Cat Chutzpah.

“Yeah, it was. But the funny, or I guess, not surprising thing is that no one said anything. They all just glared at her as she was pulling the ribbon outta the cat’s mouth and finally when she was done, she came back and sat down and….”
”Didn’t the Judge or the Owner thank her?” JL asks.
“No, no one said anything except when R did sit back down the lady next to us said, “Thank you.”
”Whew. At least someone took the stick outta their kitty ass!” I cry.

7:15, we’re all back home after the day at the cat show and a quick bite burrito at Jose’s in downtown San Mateo. Exhausted we plop down on the couch, with the regular non pampered cats milling about asking for kibble.

“What do you wanna do now?” Dashingly Handsome Boyfriend asks.
I shrug, reach for the remote. It’s Gene Kelley and Debbie Reynolds. Singing in the Rain. Purrfect! Settling in, we start humming along as the MGM Musical Marathon thankfully saves us from Kitty Show Overload.

I grin in tired happiness as Gene and Donald O’Connor sing about Moses to the enunciation teacher. Sure there’s not a pool, but there is rain. And afterwards, it’s That’s Entertainment and wait, yes there is a pool. A clip of Grace Kelly setting that Toy Boat in the High Society’s pool, wistfully watching as it drifts across the blue water to pick up the waiting Tabby on the other side!

Okay, I made that part up. But it makes for a good ending, to a purrfect day!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Euphoric Bubble

“Hello? Are you there? Ooohhhh! It’s you! I just got outta the pool and I feel so much better!”

PP can’t help but eavesdrop. (Not that she’d want to if she could; think of all the lost stories!) But here in the Mills College locker room, one relieved woman on her cell phone takes over the entire situation!

“I don’t know why I have to work so hard to get here….” Feels Better Now Woman exclaims. “I just have to keep in mind how much more alive I feel after a swim. It’s incredible.” (Okay, PP might have just made up that last bit of dialogue, but it’s the genuine drift.) “Oh, it was wonderful. And then I got in the hot tub and did some little ballet over the bar stretches (PP isn’t making that up since she doesn’t know what it means—she can guess, but not absolutely, esp. in the context of the hot tub having no ballet bars.) “Well, did you take your temperature? And….? Yes….Where does it bother you? In your chest? Throat?....”

PP turns back to the getting-dressed-before-the-next-millennium-business at hand when FBNW shifts to the mundane of some unseen person’s ill health. Sighs as she contemplates feeling better. Yes, she does too. After a swim, it’s that almost euphoric bubble of relaxation and spaciness. Maybe it’s the swimming? PP thinks it probably has more to do with the hot tub.

Whichever.

PP just wishes she could keep it for the whole day. It dissipates so quickly. Too bad there’s no pool and hot tub wherever she ventures. Now wouldn’t that be grand? At GGU, at home, at Safeway, in the BART station, at Kaiser (they really need to have these facilities at Kaiser! How else will the patients truly THRIVE?) at all of her friends apts. Hell a pool and hot tub atop the Chandler Apts? Now wouldn’t that be something!

But yet, this is hardly ever gonna be a reality. Fantasies generally are just that.
So how to keep that just swam (or is it swum? Grammar Queen where are you?) feeling goin all day?

Imagination?
Pssshhhhaw! PP thinks imagination can only carry us so far.

How about a Generous Pool Patron?
Are you out there?
If so, please contact PP as soon as possible.
Cuz she sure as hell needs that pool at Kaiser, pronto!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Janice Gilles

“So, Carol, (This is PP’s real name. She thinks she’ll use it for this particular blog.) “You remember Janice Gilles, don’t you? She coached our team way back when at Temescal.”

I nod to my former swim team member, Brian, who now coaches the Mills Masters Team. “Of course.”

Brian shakes his head sadly, “ She passed away.”

I gasp even in my shivering wet get in the pool state. “Oh, no," I murmur.

Whatever are we supposed to say at such news? I knew her, it’s true, but not well. And I suppose the most upsetting thing about not knowing her now, is that I remember her 20 years ago. Bright, funny, passionate, enthusiastic. She was such fun as a coach. And that team! Lefkowitz and Oppenheimer,(Yes she was related somehow to That Oppenheimer), Jennifer and David and Brian, of course. Janice playfully yelling at me, “Let’s see ya put some hustle into it Jameson!” And Lefkowitz and Oppenheimer cracking up. “She has the purrfect stroke, but it slows her down!”

Sometimes, Janice would don a suit, dive into the water, swim a quick few laps with the fast lane, the Barracudas. Graceful and sleek, she cut through the water effortlessly.

And now….she’s gone? It’s just so strange. Where does all that energy and vitality and sheer water talent go? Is there a Big Pool in the sky for us swimmers?

But I guess it's all part of the aging process. People you know start dying...But I was shocked. And asked Brian, “What happened to her?”
”She had a heart condition.”
“Wow…she seemed so healthy." I shake my head, not asking the detail of this, then venture the obvious question, "How old was she? Like our age?”
Brian nods, “A little younger actually, 48.”
I nod. Assume Brian was talking about himself. Janice was exactly my age. Very eerie, particularly since I was on my way to Kaiser today to get my melanoma skin checked.

Damn.

“Yeah,” Brian continued, “She was my mentor. She’s the reason I began coaching. She really showed us all how it could be FUN!”
I nod, still stunned.
“She had a son too, a nine year old and her husband……” He begins to choke up, but then pulls himself up.
I nod sympathetically, ‘Her poor family…..” My voice trails off, as Brian turns and starts collecting kickboards to begin wrapping up his team's workout.

Yet, I truly don’t know what to say. Of course her family must be devasated. She was so young. Gingerly, I climb into the cool water, with the gray drizzle it seems even less inviting, and begin my laps, shuddering at the cold. Or is it something else? The Grim Reaper? He’s there. Right around the corner or so it seems lately what with Janice dying and Wendy’s friend, K, in the car accident, and William Talcott earlier this summer.

But yet, as I turn and head back down the lane my heart pounding, my skin in goosbumples, I think hell, at least I’m alive. I may be cold and I may be worried about cancer and jobs and traffic and weather, but I’m not dead. Wow that felt very weird to type. But my senses or, sensitivities, do keep my heart pumping and remind me that it’s all part of moving through the water so to speak.

Turning at the end again, I watch as Cute Polka Dot Bikini Girl gets into the lane next to me and proceeds to do the head outta the water breaststroke. I follow in my lane and we end up at the opposite wall at about the same time. She turns. Gives me a dazzling shy smile.

Grinning, I nod and make my turn.

Yes, I do know I’m alive. And thanks to CPKBG, I’m beguiled into continuing even though the water is a little on the cold side.

The air around me certainly isn’t!

So take that, Grim Reaper!

And to Janice, may you have found your own beguiling smiles in the Big Purrfect Pool up in the blue blue sky!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

SILENCE IN ALBANY?

How many times have you been in a women’s (or men's--tho this phenomenon might be more common in the male domain) locker room without any talking? I’m talking (no pun intended) utter silence? No one even saying ‘excuse me’ when they walk in front of you getting out of the showers. No one asking to borrow a smite of conditioner. No one commenting on the water temp being too hot or too cold.

No one talking. Period.

PP has been thinking about it for the last 24 hours after her silent swim at the Bay Area’s renowned Albany Pool. A pool she’s been hearing rave reviews about for years!

Yet, no one spoke to anyone in the locker room. It was just weird.

And when PP thinks about it….well….she just can’t think of another instance that was quite so dramatically oppressively silent. And PP’s been swimming all over the world.

Was there talking in the women’s locker room in Dalian, China? Hell yeah! Lots of chatter and gossip and giggling and ogling and touching and scrubbing and sheer boisterous delight. Of course, PP couldn’t understand a word since her Chinese is nil, but there was talking. And lots of it!

Was there talking in Montreal? Oui oui oui! Again, PP couldn’t understand unless they were chatting about amour, cafés or croissants, but hell what else do you need to discuss?

And the other Bay Area pools? Talking at Lions? Oh yeah! Lots of friendly and warm concerned chatter about relationships, kids, jobs, hair, lotion, music, politics, weather, and cancer. At Temescal? Sure of course. It may be a little cooler here, but still someone talks if only to comment on what a nice swim she had or the hassle of getting there after work. El Cerrito’s outdoor lovely pool? Sure, the women talk about this and that. Actually PP can’t remember what they talk about here, but they do talk. Otherwise she’d remember that.

And Club Mills? Well, if you’ve been reading this blog, you know they talk at Mills.

But Albany?
No One talked. And while PP respects each swimmer’s private post swim space out, this felt different. Like no one wanted to even make eye contact, let alone chit chat.

What was it?

It was an especially dreary locker room. With no square inch on the floor free from puddles of icky cement water. So PP couldn’t even put on her pretty panties without getting a wet toe caught.

GROSS!!!

So, yeah, maybe the yuckiness of the place didn’t exactly inspire anyone to stand around and chat. But yet…..here was the same Crazed Pink Suited Woman that PP had almost run into multiple times (Albany has the wretched three wide lane organization where everyone is supposed to swim up the middle and down the sides, but some people just swim in big spastic splashes all over the place. Hence much obstacle course swimming and near crashes.) So, CPSW was there in the shower with PP soaping up and staring straight ahead. PP tried a hesitant smile but….no eye contact. PP tried this with another young woman standing across from her in the shower. She’d had on a cute black one piece with hibiscus flowers on the front and PP was gonna ask if she’d gotten it in Hawaii, but then again, the moment came and went and Hibiscus Flower Woman had looked away. No friendly smile even.

It was just weird.

So, PP wonders what’s up with Albany Pool? It is just a conservative little community where everyone is afraid of anyone new and so they don’t talk to strangers? Yet, Lap Swimmers usually swim at the same time, same day, same lane. And Albany’s times are very limited—only 1 hour to swim laps before the next program begins. So these women, theoretically, swam with each other every Sat. afternoon between 2:30 and 3:30. Or did they not? Was this afternoon where PP had happened in on her quest for an indoor pool the same story for all these women? None of them had been there before and so everyone was shy?

PP finds this hard to believe with a dozen or so women all morosely trying to get dressed without touching the floor.

Maybe it was the floor? It even had passable floor potential with cute little cement circles carved into the cement by what looked like upside down Campbell’s soup cans.
Yet the guncky water factor superseded the cuteness pretty darn fast.

Maybe it was the floor, PP thinks now as she tries to guess at the other obvious reasons for Albany’s Silence. (Tiredness, Crankiness, Anit-Socialness, Pre-occupiedness, Newness, hell, who knows? But PP does enjoy making up these noun form reasons. They’re so possible.)

Will PP return to Albany Pool? Most probably. It is indoors and the water is 84 degrees. Two very important features. Will these outweigh the spastic circle swimming and the silent gunky locker room?

PP thinks so. Hell, next time she goes she’s gonna raise a ruckus in that locker room and ask to borrow someone’s conditioner!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Hazards of Morning Swims

8:10 am, PP is trying to get on the stupid freeway in the stupid commuter zone to swim in the stupid morning before the stupid sun is at its stupid zenith.

Glancing down Hudson Street, she sees the carpooler cars lined up, collecting passengers for their heinous commute across the Bay Bridge. The signal is red, so of course, PP is waiting till the coast is clear to make her turn. But it’s hard. The carpooler cars are crazed and spastic. It’s difficult to tell whether they’re gonna go on their green light or keep idling in line for their passengers.

So, PP waits. And waits. And waits. Seems like over a minute, but probably just 30 seconds or so till…..

THUUNK!!!
Goddamn it. Some idiot has just rear-ended her! PP feels the thud, her neck snapping back minutely.
Shit.
PP glances in her rearview mirror. A crazed caffeine deprived (obviously, or he wouldn’t have hit PP’s geo) is gesticulating wildly behind his windshield. Are they gestures of apology? Anger? Frustration?

It’s hard to tell. PP knows the protocol is to pull over and exchange car license insurance info, but where to pull over as the light turns green, finally, in her favor? Also, does she really wanna confront this guy face to face?

So she gets on the freeway, the Crazed Rear Ending Guy still bouncing wildly round in his seat as he accelerates up the ramp behind her.
Damn.
PP’s been hit by a nutcase. Great. Well, of course he’s a nutcase; otherwise he wouldn’t have hit her.Though to give him the benefit of the doubt, PP realizes that she mighta been takin her foot on and offfa the break in anticipation of the carpooling spazes….so he mighta thought she was going when in fact, she wasn’t!

“Damn! damn!! Shit !!!!Shit!!!” PP hisses aloud as she creeps onto the traffic laden highway. This is one of the many reasons she hates to swim in the morning! The goddamn traffic. And now a goddamn accident.

Yet was it really an accident? PP thinks not. Though what if her neck is hurt? Damn. She shoulda stopped. Gotten his info. Sued him for a million bucks. That would solve all her job woes. Hell she could buy an indoor pool and swim at any time of the day.

Damn! Why hadn’t she stopped?

PP watches as CRRG speeds away. A ratty old white Honda? Acura? PP strains to get the license number….MUH431? Yes. Remember this and then look it up on the DMV website and get his info and sue him…

Yeah, right. PP knows that even if this were possible, she’s just not the suing type. Some people are. She can hear her friend, Miss W, goin on and on. You could sue the asshole and make a mint and quit your stupid job at stupid FFU and then ….

PP sighs as she pulls offa the freeway at the Mills College exit, MacArthur. Parks in the pool lot. (This is one advantage of swimming in the morning--there’s plenty of parking. Hell it might be the ONLY advantage!)

PP gets out. Inspects the bumper. It’s fine. ‘Bumpers’ good. That’s the geo motto. And it’s true. But what about her neck? What if the asshole had hurt her with the impact? Damn.

PP sighs as she heads into the pool to bother the anatomy studying Cute Girl. “How’s the anatomy going today?”
CG grins, she’s more animated today. “It’s going.”
“It’s the same as it always is.” Some Smart Ass Lifeguard Guy that PP has never seen announces.
“Actually, no it isn’t!” CG exclaims. “There’s all sorts of things that they’re discovering that they don’t know what they are! They find these organs and they look at it and say, now what’s this? And they don’t know!”

“Really?” PP’s intrigued. Maybe the CRRG is missing a vital organ that directs the motor capabilities. Or he has an extra organ that keeps telling him to step on the gas even if there’s a car stopped in front of him!

PP grins. Yeah, that musta been it, as she collects her pool equipment from CG and heads into the locker room, rubbing her neck in tender worry as she plops her gym bag down on the bench.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Dogged But Determined

Of course PP hates the goddamn time change. Except in the morning. Now that she hasta swim at the crack of dawn, well, for her 8:30 is dawn, that extra hour is vital. But yet, this morn, when she thought she’d have more energy cuz of the extra hour, she didn’t. Blame the grey malaise clouds? (Although as Capt. Gwen B pointed out, that cloud cover is ‘awesome’ for us delicate skinned cancer victims.)

Speaking of which, does PP’s skin know about the time change? Should PP be going at the same time in the morning? A.k.a. 7:30 am. instead of 8:30? Damn. Maybe so. It’s all so stupid. It’s just time and clocks and sun and pools and cute girls.

The girls do help. PP waits patiently at the desk check-in as slim pale never in the sun cute girl studies some diagrams of gross organs. Livers? Lungs? Intestines? Disgusting, especially at the crack of dawn.

“Are you taking Anatomy?” PP asks politely, trying not to stare at cute girl's own anatomy. Well, not trying too hard as CG yawns and stretches her slim arms up over her head, revealing her slim pale belly.
“Yeah” Cute Girl murmurs in utter boredom.
‘Well, it’s quite impressive that you’re studying it at 8:30 in the morning,” PP admires.
“Yeah, I guess.”

Oh to be young and jaded.

PP collects her fins, kickboard and pull buoy from CG and heads into the locker room but not before getting a gorgeous grin from her favorite swimming musician, BS who’s just gotten outta the pool.

“How’s the water?” PP asks.
“Perfect.” BS asserts, his head still wrapped under a towel before looking up and seeing PP. “Oh! It’s you!” (Now PP gets that grin!) “It’s LOVELY!”
“Really?”
“REALLY!”
“Good to hear,” PP thinks she believes him but is dubious. BS likes it cold. He’s one of THOSE types!
“You’re gonna love it. Besides you’re here, aren’t you?”
“Yes, that’s the hard part.”
“Exactly. So you won’t chicken out or anything, right?”
“Errr…right….”
PP doesn’t like the sound of the chicken out part, but heads into the locker room to change anyway.

BS was right. The pool was lovely. Warm and empty. A lane to herself after Sidestroke Swimming Woman got out under the pool covers. (PP had watched in semi-interest as a lifeguard held the blue pool cover up for SSW slightly so she could swim under it to the steps? Wasn’t this highly dangerous? Those pool covers always stress—there’s daunting warnings written all over them-- how no one should swim on or around or under them. Maybe with the lifeguard’s help it’s ok?)

PP wants to try it too. She’s always wanted to swim in that weird darkness under the covers, but it’s so scary. Why she’s not sure. It’s not like Mills has the Lockness Monster lurking under the pool covers. Damn this is a stupid blog. Sorry ‘bout that, but nothing happened today. The other day, Friday, the showers stopped working while PP was soaped up. Shampoo in her hair. Soap all over her body. Ms. Pool Manageress had poked her head into the showers and announced, “If you haven’t noticed, the water is turned off. I’d suggest you desoap as quickly as possible.”

Desoap? Is that a word?
Evidently it is in the official world of a Pool Manageress!

Needless to say, PP hadn’t been able to desoap without burning her tender skin off. (For some reason the cold water was off but there was a trickle of hot…hot…hotter water! Till finally PP hadda get out. Soap in her hair. One huge tangled shampoo mass.Hissssss!!!!)

Was PP a little cranky?

Of course not.

So yes, Friday there was a story, but today, Monday? No story….except for time confusion in the hot tub which is sorta cliché now isn’t it?

Oh let’s try it anyway.

“What time is it?” Blue Shirted Smiling Woman asks.
“I can’t tell.” PP answers, trying to read the clock thro her chlorinated vision.
BSSW frowns up her smile as she rolls up her shirt and squints at her watch. “It’s 10:43.”
Glamour Sphinx Woman smiles serenely over at her, “You mean 9:43.”
“Whoops! Yes, guess it’s not as late as I thought.”
GPW nods and almost laughs, but she’s way too cool. Instead just stares straight ahead with her Mona Lisa smile.
PP giggles. She thinks it’s funny. But everything is post swim in the hot tub. Such a relief to be done and tired and warm.
BSSW wants to chat. “It is cold today.”
“Yup.” PP agrees.
“Glad we have the hot tub.”
“Oh yah!” As you all know, PP lives for the hot tub!
“I couldn’t go in here before I swim though.” BSSW insists.
“Oh, I have to. I’m so cold all the time. I get warm first and then stretch out and then take a hot shower and then get in the pool.” PP describes. “It’s quite a process.”
BSSW nods. “Bet you swim faster cuz you stretch out first.”
“Nah. I don’t swim very fast anymore. I swam faster 20 years ago.”
“I swam faster 40 years ago.” BBSW giggles. “Now I just call myself, ‘Dogged but Determined.”
PP nods. “There’s a lot to be said for that.”
“Ummm….’
PP sinks under the water. Aren’t dogged and determined the same thing? Shouldn’t it be dogged and determined, not dogged but determined?
Glamour Sphinx glides out of the tub as PP and BSSW watch in admiration. She’s so young and brown and unfazed. Bet she never gets cold!
“Well, time for me to get out too, I guess. You have a good one.” BBSW calls out cheerily to PP.
“Thanks, you too!”

Sinking back into the tub for one last moment, PP watches as BBSW heads into the locker room. Her bright blue shirt contrasting the grey dreary sky. A new friend perhaps? PP resists this making new morning friends, but....it's a new day. A new time.

Maybe this year the time change won’t be so bad, PP thinks to herself, as she climbs dreamily outta the tub. But then a cold blast of wind brings her back to reality. Something PP can do without, as she scurries into the locker room and, hopefully, a hot shower with no desoaping complications!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Come on in!

PP has been heinously sick. How the hell can a kitty get so sick with a stupid cold? It’s astounding. PP can only surmise that the well gods are against her lately, but thankfully, a smiling health goddess blessed her this morning with only a minor sinus headache and a yucky nose. Ok you don’t need to know those details!

Suffice it to say, that PP FINALLY got back in the water today! What a difference to her brain a swim makes! (As all of you swimmers do know!)

So, really no stories today at Club Mills other than a Snarky Swimmer that didn’t want PP joining her lane. Okay, PP gets that. She didn’t want to join her lane either. She hates circle swimming, but hell, she was freezing. Standing there shivering in the goddamn shade. (Yes, PP did make it in the morning. This is still highly cranky. And what happens next week with the stupid time change? Does PP’s skin know that it’s now what? 8 a.m. instead of 9 a.m?)

PP doesn’t think so.

Anyway, the Snarky Swimmer relented after PP stuck her big fins in her cranky face.

Just kidding.

Actually, she bopped her on the head with a kickboard.

It was so satisfying! The board made a wonderfully resounding echo on her wet headed cap. And the look on her face was one of sheer amazement.

Evidently she’d never been hit on the head with a kickboard before.

Okay, PP is still just kidding. But she had you goin there for a moment, eh?

So, PP does get into Snarky Swimmer’s lane and they circle swim for hell, 3 minutes? 4 minutes? Just till the swim team was finished. (PP had mentioned this to SS initially.)
“Can I join your lane?”
“Do you have to?”
(PP is not sure if SS really said this, but since she’s making everything up on her blog this morning, why not? It sounds about right.)
So PP glares at SS through her killer borrowed shades from Dashingly Handsome BF and smiles sweetly.
“YES! I have to! I’m freezing out here!” PP is visibly shivering. Or at least she feels like she is what with being wet and in the shade and still kinda fragile from her heinous cold.

SS glares back at her. “Does SHE know?” pointing to the other swimmer making her way obliviously back up the lane. “
”Yeah, she knows.” PP had approached her first. She’d just nodded and kept swimming.
Relenting, SS shrugs if you can shrug underwater. “Okay, come on in.”
PP grins. SS is trying now. Maybe she hadn’t had enough coffee before getting in the water this morn? Maybe she was in the middle of a particularly beautiful set and had been upset at PP’s interruption.

Maybe she was just a Bitch.

Whatever, PP glides down the lane. The water a purrfect 82 degrees, the sunlight blue sparkles starting to eat away the shade at the opposite end.

It feels so good to be back in the water!

And with a delighted splash, PP ducks under the lane line to takeover the next lane now emptied of the swim team.

Let SS have her own lane. Hell, they can all have their own lanes! At least for a moment. And sometimes, PP realizes, tho this is rare, that the Moment at fin is the best!

Monday, October 09, 2006

IT'S ALIVE!!!!

“EEEWWWW! SNART!!! GROSS!"

PP’s little sis ( whose nickname for PP is ‘snart'—actually both sisters call each other snart just to confuse the identity issue even more) is pointing at an exceptionally mammoth black slimy clump of dark disgusting mound of hair? Isn’t there a more odious word to describe it? In any case, there it sits, covering most of the drain in the hospital green showers of The Golden Bear Pool, the soapy water swirling it around in a slow whirlpool vortex.

PP wrinkles her wet nose, trying not to look, but of course, thanks to her sister, can’t help it.
“IT’s ALIVE!!!” C. Sue cries out, delightedly giggling.
PP dives in to the fray. “And it’s moving!”
“OH! SNART STOP IT!” Lil Sis cries.
“And look, Snart, there’s another one, there, right next to you, in the empty soap holder, clinging to the white porcelain.”
“GROSSSS!”
“Look over there!” CS continues, “On the wall! It’s crawling up and toward you. It’s gonna get you!”

“EWWWEEEWWWW!”

“And there, on the other side. See that little wisp?” PP points to the green tiles next to her sis.
“Where, Snart, where?”
”There. Right near your thigh. It’s crawling toward you.”
”Stop it snart! It can’t be moving.”
“Ah, but it is. See…it’s inching upward and over. Soon the wet spindly little hairs are gonna reach across the tiles and touch your sensitive skin on the back of your you know what…”
“UGH!!!!!”

PP cracks up as she finally turns off the shower and heads back to the locker room. Hears giggles behind her. CS and Lil Sis are pointing and laughing at her ass.

“What? What’s the matter? Do I have One on me?” PP asks in terror.

“No, no, it’s nothing that frightening,” CS giggles. “It’s just that you’ve been standing in the hot water for so long that you have this bright red stripe down the middle of your ass.”

PP frowns, then turns to point her ass at the mirror on the opposite wall. Sure enough. She’s got a bright pink stripe down her backside. Starts to laugh.

“You’re right. Well, I was cold.
”Bet you’re not anymore, Snart!” her sis quips.
“Nope. I’m finally warm.”

CS starts to giggle again.
“What’s so funny?” PP asks.
“Nothing nothing….it’s just that….”

PP grins. “What?”
Lil Sis starts to giggle too. “Snart! Did you see? Look under you. IT’s following you!”

Jumping up, PP hops into the locker room, creeped out completely. “Where is IT? I don’t see anything?”
”You don’t, Snart? Take a closer look. Under your foot…..”
“Yeah, PP, I think you better sit down for this one.” CS giggles.

Wrapping her towel around her, PP sits down on the bench and surveys the floor under her feet. “I still don’t see anything.”
Lil sis starts to laugh again. “You’re too late, Snart. It got away.”
”What?”
”The Glob.”
”The Glob?”
“Yeah, you’ve heard of the Blob? Well, you were the unwitting victim of the Glob. That dreaded Hair Ball of the Shower. It was after you, but you thankfully eluded it.” CS grins.

PP stares at the two of them. “I think the hot water has gone to your heads, you two. There was no Glob on me.”

Lil Sis grins, then nods enthusiastically. “OH, Snart. You are so lucky that you escaped. Next time you might not be so lucky.”

“What the HELL did they put in the water?” Eavesdropping Swimmer calls out from the row of lockers on the other side.

Giggling, PP, CS and Lil Sis shake their heads. Lil Sis calls out to ES—“It’ not in the water, it’s in the shower. So be careful.”

Shaking her head and laughing, ES heads out to the pool as the lilting giggles of PP’s sis and friend echo thro the green cavernous locker room.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Temptation….

“You know Coach I if I told her that once I told her that 1000 times and she still don’t listen.”
“Wait till she’s a teenager.”
“I hear you! I got three preceding her.”
”Haa! Then you’ve been down that road before.”
“Oh yeah.”
“WATCH THE BALL!!!! HIT THE BALL IN FRONT OF YOU!!! IN FRONT! GOOOOD!!!”

PP grins to herself as she dries off in the deserted locker room. Remembers her own tennis life. Did she really ever play tennis? It does seem like another person all those years ago. PP sighs, listening to the soothing whack whack of the ball.

“12…..13……14…….15…..16…….17….18…..”Good! You almost made 20!”
“You do wonders with her, Coach!”
“Thanks!”

PP hears the Coach begin to count again. What the hell is he doin? She doesn’t remember doing this exercise with Mr……??? God she can’t remember her coach’s name? But she had such a crush on him when she was 12! How can that be that she’s forgotten his name? How amazing the aging brain process is.

PP shakes her head as she pulls on her top. It’s so quiet today at Mills. (No she didn’t say farewell. Not yet at least) No one in the pool. Why PP even had a dream moment of swimming with NO ONE else in the water. Heavenly. But with the cold gray morning, it wasn’t surprising that the place was empty.

And she was safe from the Demon Sun this way!

Now, in the locker room, she’s the only one here. Well except for the eavesdropping tennis lesson. “IF there’s one thing I want you girls to take away from this tournament it’s that ……”

PP heads into the bathroom section to start The Hair. It’s become such a long ordeal. Spies a fancy Biolage Leave In Conditioner left on the counter. Mmmmm….maybe she should try it? And then if she likes it?

She can always steal it. PP likes to swipe stuffs left in the locker room. Not big stuff like fancy scarves or shoes or sweaters. No just little stuff like shampoo, lotion and conditioner.

So, if the Biolage was left here and she likes it?

Well, it musta been left for a reason and that reason is her!

PP reaches for the Biolage. It’s over half full. Cool! Lifts it to a particularly tangled mass on her right side. Presses the squirt squirt button…fizzle... fizzle…..

Damn. She can barely get any leave it on conditioner out to leave on! No wonder it was left around!

Shrugging, PP puts the conditioner back where she found it. Next to the 2nd sink. Or was it the 3rd one?

Oh no! What if she puts it back Wrong?

Giggling to herself, PP shakes her head. Who cares? It doesn’t work anyway. Too bad though, she thinks to herself as someone slams thro the door, rushing into the locker room.

PP glances over, hoping it’s not Hurry Up Bitch. It’s not. Thank God. Another lap swimmer she doesn’t recognize. This morning swimming is a whole different crowd. PP remembers the other morning, was it Wed? When she did get kicked outta the pool cuz there was a class. Pretty Gray Haired Streaked Woman had seen her later doin her hair and had asked if they could swim past 9:45. PP had grinned and quipped, “You mean push it a little? PGHS had nodded, smiling sheepishly. “Yeah…cuz I can’t get here till 9....I hafta drop my kids off at school first.”
And PP had shook her head, “Nah, they’ll kick you out. Believe me, I’ve tried it.”

But Today! Today is Friday. FRIDAY!!! HUB can’t chase PP out today cuz the pool is open till 3:30! And it’s only 10:30!

Can PP get out of the locker room in five hours?

Sometimes it does seem like it takes her 5 hours to get outta there.
Esp from HUB’s point of view!

Tossing her wet suit and new 50+ sun block shirt in her bag, PP gives the Biolage one last wistful glance. It looks so forlorn there. Left on the counter. All alone and broken.

Should she take it?
PP hesitates. She could put it in another container. With a squirt mechanism that works…..Shaking her head, PP pushes open the door. She’s not that desperate for Hair Products.

Heading out into the cold fog morn, PP spies Dashingly Handsome BF sitting on his usual spot, spacing out. Should she tell him about her Virtuous Resisitance of Forlorn Hair Products?

PP decides not. Let him read it on her blog.

Rising and taking her bag for her, DHBF grins down at her. “I’m ready for another cup of coffee!”
”Mmmmm….” PP agrees as she follows him out into the parking lot, tossing a long tangled wet tress enticingly over her shoulder, the smite of Biolage smelling expensive and dangerous.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Captain GB’s Swim Team

“So, I got a call from the principal’s office today.” Capt. GB sighs wearily.
PP grins from behind the sumptuous Hot Tub bubbles, “Really?”
“Yeah, J bit someone.”
Giggling, PP nods. “That sounds like a good story.”
”Oh, yeah.”
”Why did he bite someone?”
”Turns out that this other kid had him in a choke hold and it was the only way, according to J, that he could escape.”
”Sounds like biting the kid was a good idea.” PP laughs.
“Yeah, you know I thought the same thing. Thing is, I can’t let J know that I think it.”
”Why not?”
”It’s just not a good thing when your kid goes around biting other kids. Even though I’m not surprised. J told me a few weeks ago that there was a Bully in the class. And I saw this kid. He’s big. “
“And mean!”
”Exactly!”
“Where did it happen? On the playground?”
”That’s what I thought, but then when I finally talked to his teacher, she said it was in the classroom.”
”Where was she?”
“Oh, she was there. She just turned around for a second and then WHAM! The Bully puts the chokehold on J and J bites him!”
PP laughs again, delighted. Capt. GB tells such funny stories about her kids. Of course, PP knows that the biting child is probably not really a laughing matter. But it sure sounds funny. “So, guess you’ll hafta talk to J and tell him it’s not okay to bite other kids, right?”
”Yeah.”
”How do you do that without laughing?”
Capt B lets out a short snort. “It’s hard. Believe me. Especially when I think J’s not all wrong in the matter.” Sighing, Capt G glances over at the pool, now lit magically in the growing darkness like a white rectangular diamond.
“Look at the moon!” PP points through the darkening pines as a golden crescent moon rises behind the fog.
“Wow. That’s cool. You ready for a swim? “
“Sure,” PP nods, “I just need to go the bathroom first. Where are they again?”
Capt B explains as she takes off her glasses and gathers up her fins and cap. “See ya in the water.”
”Yeah, I’ll be right there.”

PP tries not to trip over the dark wooden steps on her way to the bathroom. She loves this Harbor Club Pool in Alameda where she gets in for free on the last Friday of the month courtesy Capt. G, but it is rather dark. And wet. Someone’s got a hose snaking into the bathroom. Damn, PP mutters. She really hadda go to the bathroom and didn’t want to try to navigate her way back to the main inside ones. Oh well, she’ll just follow the hose and see if it’s a man or a woman at the other end. Though why this would make a difference, she isn't sure. Either way, the hosing would probably mask the peeing!

Peering inside the restroom, she sees the back of a guy hosing out the showers. Damn. How’s she gonna go to the bathroom with a guy in here? Backing out, PP notes the line of urinals on the wall. Ummm….that’s odd. Urinals in the ladies room? Glancing at the signage on the door, PP discovers that she’s been skulking around the men’s room and not the woman’s. Jeeez! That Hot Water musta go to her brain to walk into the wrong restroom. Or was it the moon?

PP’s glad that the Hosing Guy didn’t see her. Why, she’s not exactly sure as she turns around and finds the ladies room right next door. Whew! And no one here. Great. Plopping down on the toilet, PP shivers. She’ll hafta get back into the hot tub again before the big pool to warm up.

Making her way back out in the dark, PP notes the Hosing Guy out on the lawn now, spraying away. A dark lumbering form, startled from under a lounge chair? sprints, if raccoons can sprint? across the wet dark lawn. PP grins as she watches the animal disappear into the darkness. Will he go for a swim? she wonders? Do raccoons swim? If they don’t, they sure should since they already come equipped with their little black goggles!

Giggling to herself, she heads back to the hot tub only to find it inundated with screeching teenagers.

Damn.

No second hot tub before the pool, she sighs as she recovers her cap and water bottle from behind a scrawny 15 year old boy, his white back glowing in the dark as he ignores PP’s murmur of ‘excuse me?’ He’s way too busy sizing up the gaggle of girls all shrill in their bikinis and wet hair.

Glancing up at the golden moon one more time, PP smiles. She can remember being that age.

No actually she can’t.

Grinning, PP heads over the lawn, mud between her toes on the wet grass as the shrieks of teenage activity echo over the pool.

“How’s the water?” she asks Capt. G.
”It’s okay once you get in.”
“I am not believing you!” Black square trunked swimmer from what looks like could be the 1950’s Swedish Olympic Team asserts, shaking his head as he prepares to enter the pool. Capt. B and PP both laugh as they watch him jump in, his long strides breaking the smooth turquoise surface.

Diving in after him, PP feels the cold water wash away her day. She wasn’t gonna come tonight. But taking the next lap back, her arms cutting through the glassy water, she’s happy she did.

Grinning, PP turns and heads back down the lane, kicking fast with her fins, the moon now bigger and more magical. Damn that sounds corny, but hell, it’s true!

Now if only that raccoon would take the plunge!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Farewell to Mills?

PP’s just about had it with Mills. No, maybe this is not really goodbye, but hell, she just has one question? Don’t we lovely paying patrons get the very short time of 15 minutes to shower and change before being rushed outta the locker room? Isn’t that why the pool ‘closes’ at 4:45 instead of ‘5’? It’s a sneaky way of gyping us outta our swim actually. If the schedule said till 5 then….wait….PP is getting off the mad track here. Let’s start this again.

PP is goddamn sick and tired of being made to feel like a piece of guncky slimy hair on the shower floor if she takes one fuckin minute over the allotted 15 minutes to get dressed. PLEASE!!! What is the goddamn big deal here? Last Sunday, PP thought she’d try Mills at 4 after the sun’s zenith was gone. Consequently, when she swims her 45 minutes and then gets a paltry 5 minutes in the hot tub she understands that she’s gonna hafta shower and change more quickly. Yet…. But…… Suffice it to say that when she and another regular swimmer were rushing to get dressed at 4:48 with correct her if she’s wrong, 12 minutes to go, Miss Hard- Nose-I Have -A -Date -Can -You –Speed- It- Up-Any comes nosing in. “Are we almost done here ladies?”

Shit. No, are you my mother? I mean. PP is hurrying. J is hurrying. Lord knows we don’t want a naughty slow ladies scolding on a Sunday afternoon. Yet, it seems it can’t be avoided when this bitch is working. Oh, PP likes calling her a bitch. Hell, PP shoulda told her she’s had cancer and that’s why she can’t swim earlier cuz she hastsa stay outta the sun’s zenith. So fuck you bitch. You’re gonna be 3 minutes late for your ‘date.’ This is not the first time this has happened.

And on this Sunday, PP was well within the cut off range. “What time is it? She’d asked. Hurry Up Bitch glances at her fat wrist and makes a face. ‘ It’s about 4 minutes to 5. PP glares at her. ‘Okay then, I’ll be outta here in 4 minutes. “ HUB shakes her head in dismay, then clucks her fat tongue disapprovingly. “The sooner you can make it the better. I have a date.” PP wants to say, who the hell would date you? But holds her tongue. It takes more time to make snide comments and she needs that 4 minutes now. So stalking past her with her wet suit dripping dangerously close to HUB’s fat ankles, PP plops her unused hair dryer in her bag and glances over at J who’s even slower than PP and isn’t getting involved. PP thinks this is a bit cowardly on her part, but maybe she’s just trying to get the hell outta there too.

HUB slams outa the locker room, leaving PP and J alone for what’s left of the 4 minutes. “I hate it when they rush us out of here like that!” PP fumes. “Yeah.” J agrees. Isn’t she pissed off too? PP wonders. Damn. She needs a comrade in arms. Where’s the Lovely I or Gianna Panna when you need ‘em?

Tossing her wet stuff in her bag, then rummaging around for her keys, PP shakes her head. Is it really worth it? Isn’t swimming supposed to be a relaxing and restorative endeavor? Evidently not here at Mills where all they care about is their ‘dates’. Hell PP gets this. She’s worked enough retail. You’re tired. You’re hungry. You’re outa patience with the goddamn customers. But what can you do? You hafta wait for them to buy their books or put their 3 sugars, half a honey bear of sweetener & 6 tablespoons of half and half in their latte before you can go home. This is Extreme Customer Abuse. PP knows it well. But hell, she and J are within the 15 after swim time limit by 4 fuckin minutes!

Should she report HUB to the management? PP thinks not. She’ll just get her revenge on her blog. Thank god for writing! Its saves so much time, energy and confrontation.

Unless of course, by some happy miracle, HUB reads this.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Mario’s Pool Story

"You wanna hear a pool story?" PP always wants to hear pool stories!—plus it takes the pressure offa her to always come up with one so….. here’s Mario’s:

"I’ll tell ya a pool story. This one is a doozy. J and I really needed a swim after the plane ride up here, so D told us to check out the SFU pool, which we’d been to before. Really nice indoor pool. 50 meter. Not too crowded. So I get in the car and we drive through the hellish rush hour SF traffic to SFU and round and round the parking lot looking for a spot and finally aha! There’s a spot and so I grab it, but then it’s not really a spot it’s actually permit parking for the goddamn faculty or some such privileged parties damn! so I have to move the car and we drive around again for like hell 15 minutes and then finally another spot. Great. And so we get outta the car and hafta hike like I dunno 15 minutes up and around this big hill and we can't find the goddamn pool there was a sign but the sign was completely indecipherable so we hadda ask some college coed who kinda pointed us in the direction of the pool you could tell he didn’t really know but hell the kid was trying to be helpful anyway we figured it out and so then we finally get to the pool building and then we start circling around the catacombs of this building and I’m thinking where the hell is that pool? Is it upstairs or downstairs? Finally we find it and now it’s been like 45 minutes since we arrived and we’re really cranky and wanna go swimming and we get to the counter and tell the guy we wanna just swim for the day and he says, that’ll be 15 dollars and were like damn 15 dollars to swim for just one time but then what the hell, we’re on vacation and we really needed a swim so we say okay, what the hell and we go to give him the 15 bucks and then he says we needa picture ID and J has hers of course, but goddamnit I left mine in the car so I hafta go all the way back to the car and get my stupid ID, but when I get back to the car I see another parking place that’s closer to the pool so I think what the hell I’ll move the car and so I get in and drive back to this closer place but then by the time I get to the place it’s gone of course so I go back to the place I had the car but now it’s gone too so I have to drive around for another 20 minutes and finally find a place that’s even further away than the original place but what the hell and so I think to myself maybe I better bring some smaller cash in case they don’t wanna break a hundred so I reach in the glove compartment and pull out a few 10’s just to be on the safe side and head back up the hill to the pool and I get there and what do you know? I forgot my fuckin ID! So then, to make a long story short, I go back to the car and get my ID whew and head back to pay the guy and he takes the smaller bills and is I think thankful for that hell I don’t know really and so we go into our separate locker rooms and I get in there and get changed into my trunks and then goddamnit I can’t figure out how to get to the pool it’s a fuckin maze in that locker room so I wander around for like I dunno another 15 minutes and think how J must be wonderin where I am and when I finally do find my way out, there she is and she tells me she had the same problem in the women’s locker room too and no problem waiting. So she dives in and starts swimming her laps and then I get in and whoa! My goddamn trunks are all screwed up and I’m trying to fix ‘em and pulling on the string to get my suit to stay on and then the goddamn string fuckin breaks and I’m like fightin with myself underwater and this chick is staring at me like what the hell is that guy doing with himself underwater so I think I better just get out on to the deck and try to fix it and finally I get it to work but now I’m so tired and discouraged that I’m just standing there on the deck and my belly is all hanging out major sloucher like and I hear J yell at me “BELLY” and I look at her and think what the hell is she yelling about and then she yells again “BELLLLYYYY!” and I realize oh yeah I’m in complete slouch mode so I stand up tall and suck in my gut and dive in and you know what I hadda really great swim it was totally worth it, but hell, next time I gotta remember to bring that goddamn photo ID!"

Monday, September 25, 2006

Are We Awake Yet?

Tell me fellow swimmers. Is the concept that difficult to grasp? I mean, hell, there’s 2 people in a lane, splitting the lane and then two more people, making 4, are you following me? get in the lane and now what? Gee! Let’s all just tread water at the wall and freeze our butts off at 9 friggin a.m! So, PP takes control in her inimitably cranky way. “Are you joining our lane?” Confused looks thro foggy goggles as one of the intruders in her spry little red and white bikini stares at PP. Hello? Am I speaking English? Do you speak English? Actually this could be the problem. Confused interloper is Asian, young and pretty. Maybe her youth and good looks keep her brain at bay? In any case, she just blinks at PP. So PP presses on as the goose bumps accelerate their progress. “Okay, well, if you’re both gonna swim here, we need to swim circles. Do you understand?” More confused looks but she nods as her friend gulps for air,treading spastically in the choppy water. “Up the right side” PP motions up, “and down the left side” PP motions down and around. “Like a circle? Do you understand? And if you get in anyone’s way, (PP has no idea why this has occurred to her!) just wait at the wall and let the faster person by. Do you understand?”

More confused nods and foggy smiles. “I’ll go first” PP announces shaking her head. Damn, why her lane? Is it really that crowded? Glancing around at the end of the wall, PP notes that it is crowded. Goddamn swim team. Aren’t they supposed to be out by 9? PP hates swimming in the morning for oh so many reasons. The swim team might be at the top of the list. They’re splashy and entitled? Yeah. That’s it. Why does the Swim Team get 8 lanes and the rest of the poor lowly lap swimmers hafta make do with 3? Is this fair?

No, not if PP doesn’t get a lane. And as of right now, she’s just gained on Foggy Asian Girl at the end of the wall, who true to suspicions, obliviously turns slowly slowly around at the wall, neatly blocking any chance for PP to get past her.

Damn.

Is it really worth it?

PP thinks not at this point. But then FAG oh dear PP better change her initials, or maybe not…anyway the poor clueless little thing must sense PP’s Frustration and she and her friend move to another lane, leaving PP back to splittin a lane with Sexy Brazilian Woman who grins at PP and mumbles happily something about something. PP has no idea, but sees SBW blissfully grab 2 kickboards, place them on top of each other and then tread water spastically at the wall holding the kickboards for several minutes.

What’s up with that? PP wonders, but not for long as SBW’s BF lingers impatiently on the side of the deck, his dark looks begging her to be done with it.... till finally she gets out…..

Happy Happy Happy HAPPY now that she has her own lane all to herself as it ALWAYS should be, PP finishes up her swim and then makes her way hurriedly over to the hot tub. Happy, too, that the tub is empty and NO ONE will disturb her up-to-this-point elusive state of swimming bliss.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

An Amazon Doctress

“Ahhhhh…I feel soooooo goood!” Amazon Thong woman sighs blissfully as PP approaches the sink to start the heinous detangling process of her too long hair. She was feeling a bit cranky at the prospect, but now ATW is cheering her up with her blissed out orgasmic sigh.

Maybe mornings aren’t gonna be so bad after all, she tries to tell herself for the 5th time in in as many days trying to swim in the morning. But, if ATW is gonna be a regular part of the experience…well……

PP smiles to herself as she starts in on her hair, thinking how she really knows what ATW means when she exclaims like this in that post swim glow, but it’s more fun to think that she’s happy so see PP!

Okay, pp knows this is a bit far-fetched, her being a middle aged shriveled up cancer light survivor . But glancing over at ATW, and then nodding in agreement, she gets a shy smile. “IT’s just so good to be done! And here!” ATW continues to gush.

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” PP agrees as she tugs at a huge rat’s nest thereby negating any blissed out feeling she might have been having herself post swim.

“When I was in college I used to get up work out at 6 am.! Can you believe that?”

PP can’t. And says so.

“Yeah, so now I just feel soooo good after my swim!”

PP believes her as she remembers her firm strong ass hugging the blue daisy thong panties. Frankly, and pp knows that this is both cliché and generational, but she just has never gotten the Thong Thing. Not only does it look tres uncomfortable, but most people can’t pull it off.

However, ATW is the exception. She can pull it on. And pull it off!

Trying not to grin too widely, PP smiles over at ATW, “What kind of sports did you play?”
”Water polo. It was so awesome!”
PP nods. Yeah, I just bet it was, she thinks to herself. But water polo. That explains ATW’s physique. 6 ft tall at least. Long strong slender brown legs up to PP’s armpits. That tight non curvy straight waist.

Yup, water polo would work, PP thinks.

“What college did you go to?” PP asks
“Brown.”
Brown. PP frowns. She should know what Brown is, but it’s too early in the morning for it to be anything other than a very drab color.
“What did you study at Brown?” PP asks thinking this might give her a clue.
“Anthropology. Psychology. Actually, I was premed when I left.”
”Really?” PP raises her eyebrows. An Amazon Doctress! Too cool!
“Yeah, so that’s why I’m back here at Mills finishing up my premed so I can go to Med School next year.”
“That’s wonderful.” PP does think it is. To be in the medical field. She’s just glad it’s not her! Hell, she can’t even watch Grey’s Anatomy without getting squeamish!

“Yeah, if I hadn’t taken a break, I’d be in my second year of med school by now.”
ATW sighs. “But I did love college. Staying up late. Getting up early. Playing sports. Going to parties. Meeting new people…..” ATW gives PP another shy smile. (Actually, PP is making this last part up, but it makes for a better story!)

“And I got the opportunity to do some volunteer work which I just love,” ATW continues to gush, “Working with school kids in the lower classs, well, actually in Rhode Island there’s a poorer class and then a richer class….”
PP nods, still caught in her fantasy of ATW throwing flirtatious glances her way.
“That’s marvelous…..” PP murmurs.
“Yes, It really was a wonderful opportunity. I learned so much!”
“And it seems like it’d be great experience for a doctor.”
YES!” ATW nods enthusiastically. “Especially since I want to be a pediatrician.”

PP forces a smile. A pediatrician? What a nightmare! PP can’t think of a worse job, other than teaching kindergarten.

Yanking the last of the tangles out, PP turns on the faucet and starts rinsing out her suit as JL hops in to start her hair and makeup routine.
Suddenly shy, ATW nods at PP and then heads back to her pile of stuff in the tiny locker room. JL glances over at PP slyly.

PP starts to giggle. Then shrugs playfully as she wraps her wet suit up in her towel.
“See you later!” ATW calls out on her way out the door.
“Yes, see you next time,” PP answers as JL leans over the sink and starts applying her 'face', the make-up unable to hide her delighted grin.

"She likes you," JL observes.
"You think so?" PP teases.
Giggling, JL finishes her face and then washes her hands, her dark eyes sparkling as PP tries not too hard to ignore the tingle in her heart. (Sorry, that's really bad, but PP is tired!)

Monday, September 18, 2006

NETWORKING IN THE HOT TUB

“Your eyes become like petrie dishes.” PP is still contemplating this weird remark as she climbs into the hot tub, freezing, tired and spaced out. How can eyes become pietry dishes? How the hell do you even spell pettry? Granted the woman who’d made the comment while getting dressed in the locker room was chatting about not wearing contacts anymore. But peetree dishes? (PP likes this spelling the best!) Does this mean that the contacts trap all sorts of live little amoeba and bacteria on your eyeball?

Disgusting!

And so, this is what is going thro her brain when the head of Mills College English Dept pops into the Hot Tub. Gives her a hearty smile. Asks how she is.

“You teaching this fall?” Head of Dept asks.

“Yeah….” PP is trying to form some response in her morning post swim haze surrounded by peetree dishes. Opts for a question instead. “How about you?”

”No, I’m on Sabbatical”

PP tries not to sigh and glare too loudly. Can you glare loudly? PP can so she'd better be careful. But a sabbatical? How luxurious! What she could do with a sabbatical! Finish her Trollope Novel. Get it published. Write lots more PP blogs. Watch a ton more bad TV. (Would that count? Sure she could do a ‘Paper” on Soap Opera in Contemporary American Culture as seen thro the eyes of the Victorian Mastermind of the Soap, Anthony Trollope.) It’d be a cutting edge, avant-garde sorta sabbatical. PP often wished she’d chosen that academic path. Now it’s too late. Or she’s just too busy. Going to the pool!

Nodding, PP forces a hopefully ungreen grin. “Are you writing a book?”
she asks Head of Dept.

“Not a book, but an Article.”

“Ummm…..” PP nods again. She gets a whole year off to write an Article? Hell she’d like that gig! “What’s it about?” PP asks.

“George Eliot and the New Testament.”

PP wants to blurt out, “HUH?” but decides against it. Not a smart political move on her part! And as you’ll see, dear readers, politics does come into play here. So it’s a good thing she refrained!

“But it’s turning into what might be a book,” H of Dept continues. “I have so much material.”

PP smiles, I bet, she thinks to herself. “Well, a book would be cool, wouldn’t it?” PP offers.

“Oh yes! A Book out of it would be wonderful! But it is a lot of work. I see my students around campus, I work here on campus cuz it’s the only office I have, and I tell them about my work and then they stare at me glassy-eyed from taking 4 classes, and I think this isn’t a good system! To be taking 4 classes all at once. How do they do it? It gives you a real appreciation for what they do.”

PP nods, “Yeah, I often am amazed by what students can do. I’m teaching a class to international grad students, mostly from Asia, and many of them have been here only a week or two and they’re taking classes, and learning a new language and culture, and somehow getting around San Francisco. It’s amazing!”

Head of Dept nods, the wheels are turning, PP can see this, even thro her chlorine eyes. “What do you teach them? Do they bring in their own writing?”

PP chuckles. “Oh, no! I give them assignments and we go from there! But it’s a difficult bunch sometimes since they are grad students and do have degrees from their home universities, but then they come here and their English is pretty rudimentary….”

”Yes, it can be a challenge.” Head of Dept agrees. “We were thinking about offering
such a course here at Mills, but I’m not sure what happened with it.”

”Really?” PP tries not salivate, tho guesses you wouldn’t be able to see drool in the Hot Tub. “I’d love to teach this course for Mills!”

Head of D nods, “Cool, why don’t you send a resume to the director of ESL, K. S.”

”RS’S daughter?” PP wishes her mom were in academia so she could get cool jobs. On second thought, maybe not.

“Yes, tell her C S suggested you contact her.”

“Wonderful…. Thanks!” PP nods and bobbles her head in wondrous subservient job applicant mode.

“Tell me your name again?”
PP does.
“Great. And just think, if you taught here, then you could go swimming!”
”Yeah!” PP nods, thinking how she swims here already, but maybe it’d be free or she’d get a special faculty card. She loves faculty cards!

PP watches as CS steps outta the hot tub, her square swimmers body dripping in her black suit. How the hell did she get a gig here at Mills with a sabbatical and all?Not that body shape should be the criteria for full time teaching jobs with sabbaticals at snazy private colleges. If that were true....PP glances down at her slender pale thighs and sexy curvy waist. Well, PP would have LOTS of jobs!

Knowing this, PP often wonders what sets her apart. Why she’s not more ‘successful’ in her stupid career?
Oh, maybe cuz she thinks it’s stupid?

Grinning, PP is glad she doesn’t have to go read the New Testament and George Eliot, but gets to go home and write anything she wants instead.

There are some perks to being a near do well bohemian, she thinks. And she might even get a job from it!

Smiling to herself, PP heads into the locker room and spies her stuff piled up next to Amazon Thong Woman.

Yup, things are definitely looking up, she thinks as she has to bend close around ATW to grab her shower stuff, trying not to hard to not stare at her ass …

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Go to Calistoga! Drink Milkshakes!

Suffice it to say, PP is NOT a morning kitty! Any activity before 10 a.m. makes her more than slightly nauseous! This includes swimming. How the hell can all these swimmers be here, at 8:15 in the morning, working out with the goddamn swim team?

It is beyond her!

Sticking her toes gingerly in the shady water, she lets out a kitty shriek as B.S (Does he realize his initials are this? He must!) swims up to the wall, giving her a hearty smile! “HEY!!! How are you?” He stops for a moment, sparkling handsome eyes on her. This might not be so bad, PP thinks if cute B.S, the vivacious conductor of the S.F. Chamber orchestra is here, eyeing her up and down.

“It’s COLD…..” PP whines to him, taking her toes back out.

He nods, grinning up at her. “You need more body fat. You could gain about 20 lbs. Go to Calistoga. Drink Milkshakes!”

Nodding, PP smiles, drink milkshakes in Calistoga? How odd. But she does have her ear plugs in. Maybe she missed something? PP likes to partake of fine red wines while in Calistoga, which might actually accomplish the same thing as far as weight gain is concerned plus have the added benefit of a great tasting high!

“I’m almost done!” he hollers up at her. “ Then it’s all yours!” B.S. turns and starts off in a manly splash.

Dubiously, PP puts her fins on for added speed in the freezing cold, her nausea warning her off. She watches for a minute as B.S. clomps back. Can you clomp in the pool? B.S. can. It’s really quite impressive! It’s like a frog kick but his strong legs come clomping out on top of the water, making for much splashy activity! PP sighs as she tries to figure out how to swim around him. Or maybe she could just accidentally swim into him? Just a little bit…..

Yeah. He wouldn’t mind.
At least not till she gains that 20 lbs!

PP grins as she hops into the icy water and zips up the lane, barely missing B.S.
Yup, swimming in the mornings might not be so bad after all, she thinks, as she pauses to turn at the wall and head back in his direction!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Try Of The Oakland Y

“What language are you speaking?” Crooked Swimming Lane Sharing Woman asks as she climbs naked into the hot tub. All the women are naked here at the Oakland Y Hot Tub, a distinct advantage over Mills? PP is unsure as she watches the two Mystery Language Women smile in wonder.

“Is it Ethiopian?” CSLS Woman persists, smiling sweetly, her sagging breasts submerging into the bubbling water.

Nodding and smiling in delight, Mystery Talking Women grin widely, “Yes, yes it is!”
PP stares in admiration. Sure CSLSW couldn’t swim, but she could identify mystery languages. A rare talent. Especially after a swim!

Wow! Maybe the Oakland Y might have some good stories after all.

PP climbs outa the hot tub, worried about the meter. This is the major drawback to swimming here. She’d had to put $3 worth of quarters in the meter out on Broadway Auto Row. Why the hell did they rename it Broadway Auto Row anyway? Isn’t it obvious to anyone driving down the road that that’s what it is?

So, PP is trying out the Y cuz…well…remember the skin cancer scare? It was real. PP is gonna be fine, but she needs to stay outta the midday sun. Hence the search for an indoor pool. The Oakland Y was the only one she could think of….so….here she was, on a beautiful sunny September afternoon, inside the faintly decrepit Oakland Y listening to Ethiopian in the Hot Tub.

PP thinks this could be okay. There’s something vaguely international about Oakland anyway, isn’t there? Glancing around the locker room she sees a couple Chinese women, a smattering of mid aged white women, a most impressive African American Rotund Queen, her mounds of flesh folding upon themselves as she sits exhausted on the side of the hot tub, her breasts blending into her layers of belly flesh. PP tries not to stare. But not too hard. She is amazing. Reminds her of the life drawing charcoal sketches her mom had lining the garage in Hacienda Heights. “Large women make much better models” she remembers her mom saying.

Gazing at AAR Queen, PP can see why.

Out in the pool, PP has a fine swim. Has her own lane till CSLSW gets in and they almost collide. But this is okay. PP is just happy not to be worrying about the sun killing her.

And of course she makes new friends so easily. Mole Man has been ogling her for 40 minutes from the next lane, standing mostly at the wall showing off his large moley back. PP is obsessed with everyone’s moles now. But thinks she’ll write about this later. For now, MM just hollers at her, “Hey! You’re GOOD! I love watching you swim!”

Turning at the wall, PP good-naturedly thanks him as she shakes her head underwater. How does her weirdo magnet work so quickly? This is only her first time here and already she’s got MM admiring her.

Damn!

Finishing up her laps, PP hops outta the pool just in time to miss pudgy Latino kid in too big Red Trunks getting into her lane. See, she’s right about the international aspect of the place. African, Chinese, Latino, White and Moles…is that an ethnicity?

PP thinks so as she heads into the locker room to shower and hurry back out to Broadway Auto Row before the Geo gets a ticket!

Friday, August 18, 2006

WILLARD RAT RACE

Swimming in the foggy dusk at Willard Jr. High, PP stops and pauses to put on her fins, spacing out at the far end of the pool. Spies a gray round scurrying fuzzy ball under the benches next to the ivy hillside on the opposite side of the pool.

Shit. Is that a RAT?
Disgusting!
PP slips on her fins and swims to get a closer look. Reaching the end, she pulls herself up slightly onto the deck and ….yup…it’s a BIG RAT!

Should she say anything to the always distracted lifeguards? (One is haphazardly sweeping, the other is messing with his goddamn cell phone.)

PP sighs. Decides against notifying the authorities as “Willard” slithers under the bench and into some secret hideaway in the rocky wall. (Remember that movie? ) O H brings it up later that evening. All those RATS on the wild; lose & killing and maiming small children? Or is that just PP’s fantasy? Anyway, it’s pretty funny that she’s swimming at Willard Pool and Willard the Rat is the pool guardian.

As she swims back to the other side, PP thinks how she’s really glad that she didn’t put her clothes and towel next to Willard’s Spot. EEEGADS! Imagine! Taking up your green pool bag and hanging it up in the locker room and then taking your shower, drying off, reaching for your jeans and out pops….
WILLARD!!!!!

PP definitely has that Female Archetypal fear of rodents! Remembers the time she was sitting on the toilet at Avenue Books, can you be more vulnerable? When suddenly a little mouse, (Not a Big Willard) had run out from under the floorboards and between her legs.

A murderous shriek does not even begin to describe her reaction.

So, now, when she envisions Willard in her pants….well….she’s just supurr glad that her jeans are on the other side of the pool!

Later that evening, she goes to the Chandler apt to have dinner with her Ex, the infamous author/poet/ book clerk Owen Hell (Typo, but PP likes it) and he reminds her of the movie Willard. They start laughing as PP begins to imagine how the Rats are gonna take over the pool once it’s closed.

OH joins in. “They can have little relay races.”
PP giggles.
“And you can call them Rat Races!” he continues.
PP claps in delight. “And they can have little Rat Water Aerobics, and Rat Family Swims, and Rat Swim lessons and Rat WSI Classes and Rat Pool Birthday Parties….
Why no wonder it’s called Willard Pool!” PP exclaims.

The Rats RULE after dark!

Later, OH takes PP home, driving down a Darkened Telegraph Ave past Willard Pool. The both smile.

“Wonder what the Rats are up to right now?” PP muses.
“Oh, they’re just having some RAT Margaritas at the Rat Swim Up Bar and then dancing the Rat Dance under the Pool Covers!” O guesses.

Cracking up, they wait for the signal to turn. PP glances back at Willard Pool.
Was that a disco beat she heard? A flashing strobe light? Fireworks?

Hell, those RATS know how to party when the Pool Puss is away!