Friday, August 18, 2006


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?
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….

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!

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Mutual of Omaha Moment

“Hey! Did you see THAT???” PP hollers to JL as she points to the roof of one of the big houses on Hillegass on the way home from the pool. (Have patience, Dear Readers, this is a POOL Story of more than just a ride home from Mills. Which by the way was lovely. The screaming obnoxious terrors, most call them children, were thankfully absent this morn. The peace was deafening and unfamiliar. PP and JL had had a lovely, dreamy swim with only 4!!! people in the pool.)

But now, PP spies what looks like a VULTURE atop this big house’s pointy roof. He looks like an oversized hood ornament as he surveys the scene from his mansion perch. JL has made a U turn and we’re now parked out front of the Vulture’s Stakeout. PP gets outta the car as JL turns off the ignition.

Gingerly, PP inches up the sidewalk, trying not to scare off the Big Bird. But then watches as he flaps his wings and takes off, just as a Cute Guy comes out onto the lawn.
“Did you see that?” PP asks him.
Cute Guy grins at her. PP would blush if she were 20 years younger. “Yeah….”
“What was it? A Vulture? I didn’t know we even had Vultures around here.”
“I think it was a Buzzard,” CG asserts, tossing a shock of bleached blonde hair blindingly at PP. “Cuz that bird had a red head. Vultures have black heads and Buzzards have red heads.”
“Ah… Well then…I didn’t know we had Buzzards around here.”
CG laughs. “Yeah, I haven’t seen one since I fell asleep in the pool on my floaty and woke up with one circling overhead!” (SEE, A POOL STORY!)
“Ah…”PP nods. A Buzzard Expert.
“Good thing you woke up!” JL laughs.
“Yeah…it was.”
“Hey, Dude, did you get the DVD?” ANOTHER Cute guy emerges from the big house, on crutches, which makes him even more endearing. Followed by a handsome grey haired gent, the dad? PP heads back to the car as Cute Guy and Cute Crutch Guy powwow over the DVD selection as Handsome Dad picks up a hose or something…PP can’t tell……she’s too distracted by all the testosterone.

Back in the car, JL announces how Cute they all were. PP has to agree.
“Esp. the older guy,” JL grins. PP thinks this is a good sign. “But he was married.”
”How do you know?”
“I can tell.”
“But you didn’t even see his ring finger….”

JL smiles mysteriously. PP always wonders how single women can tell upon first glance whether or not a guy is married. It must be some sort of protective radar. Maybe since PP has only been single for about 8 months in the last 25 years, she’s lost this ability. Or she never had it. Since being married was always what had attracted her. Unavailable? Let her at him!

“That was such a Mutual of Omaha Moment!” JL quips, giggling in delight.
“Yeah…it certainly was.” PP agrees, but wonders if JL is talking about the Big Buzzard or another kind of Big Game that got away!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What this neighborhood needs is a Pool!

Okay, fans, technically this isn’t a Pool story, but bear with PP. A pool could be the answer!

Last night, PP attended her neighborhood Block Party to get to know her neighbors and discuss really stupid stuff like earthquake preparedness (like PP doesn’t have more pressing worries!) and what to do about the motorcycle terrorists on 63rd St. (Okay, they’re not real terrorists, but PP sees them as such since they terrorize her with their obnoxious NOISE (“Nuisance” according to the neighborhood survey), trespassing and all around grossness!

But that’s another story that PP doesn’t think a pool can help.

However, class warfare? PP thinks a pool is the answer!

Sitting on the curb in the chilly dusk, the neighbors are going around the circle introducing themselves and adding little or big asides about their time here in our beautiful neighborhood. All of them have to identify how long they’ve been living in the neighborhood and whether they own or rent their abodes. PP frowns at the survey she’s required to fill out to create a neighborhood ‘Crime Watch’ list—Rent? Own? Why is this important?

PP is about to find out!

Pompous Professorial Pudge bellows out after listening to various whining about Royal Coffee blocking the sidewalk and the motorcycles racing hazardly down the street, and delivery trucks idling outside our windows for hours and hours and hours.

“As the necessary and always appreciated voice of dissention,” Pompous Prof begins, “I revel in the intellectual climate that the coffee house and various shops elicit. I embrace the noise and commotion that such an atmosphere engenders. Without the coffee house, we would not have this valuable intellectual exchange that makes our neighborhood such a unique treasure. I relish the diversity that our neighborhood attracts.” (PP glances around the group of middle aged/ elderly white homeowners with a smattering of white, mostly young professional, renters. One African American retired engineer, one Latina ‘domestic’ –this is diversity?) “If you want quiet,” Pompous Prof continues, “move to Orinda!” (like PP could afford that!)

There is much nodding in agreement, followed by appreciative applause. PP shakes her head. What an idiot! Obviously he doesn’t live next door to Royal coffee, nor does he have various undesirables trespassing in his yard!

Ah! But thank goodness for PP’s fiery neighbor, Miss K! She steps forward, her long grey hair flowing magnificently behind her as she takes a deep breath and with an imperious wave of her hand, begins: “Let me just point out!” She pauses and glares at Pompous Prof. “IT IS VERY DIFFERENT TO LIVE IN A BIG HOUSE ON THAT END OF THE STEET (She sweeps her hand majestically down the street toward the HOMEOWNERS mansions ) YOU obviously do NOT live on our end of the block next door to the coffee shop and across the street from the forever idling trucks. We must suffer not only the trash, noise and congested sidewalks resulting from the cafĂ© and shops, but our property (well, actually it’s not our property, but PP will get to this) is constantly subjected to trespassers changing their babies’ diapers on our front porches; parking their SUV’s in our driveway; shitting in our bushes!” She glances around, the crowd is sitting rapt. Go Miss K, PP purrs! “All is not a cozy idealized intellectual habitat that you describe from where we sit! And those of you who live in the Big Houses down the street should realize that OUR World if very Different from YOUR world.”

PP applauds. Is joined by the few other renters. Pompous Prof makes no response but sits up straighter in his folding chair. His white intellectual hair standing on end. (Okay, PP is making that up, but you get the idea!)

Miss K finishes her speech with a final glare at Pompous Prof, before turning and stalking out of the party, her mane of hair flowing majestically behind her.

Various neighbors start to chatter again about the nuisance of the garbage trucks and the too fast motorists as PP thinks to herself.

What this neighborhood needs is a Pool!

Why a pool would certainly solve this class warfare, esp. if it were installed in PP’s and Miss K’s compound and we only allowed Renters to use it! (Oh, yeah, I bet Pompous Prof would say he doesn’t like to swim. No intellectual exchange in the pool. HAH! What the hell does HE know!)

And so, PP thinks she’s gonna pass around a petition and get the neighbors to contribute to a Pool Fund. Everyone will be required to contribute based on the assessed value of their home. Pompous Prof, therefore, in his huge Mansion worth over a million dollars today even though he paid only $22,000 for it in 1972, will have to contribute the most, say $22,000? While PP and friends would contribute sunscreen and their landladies’ property. Such a Pool would definitely raise the value of the neighborhood to have such a lovely spot to swim in under the magnificent pines of PP’s compound!

What do you think?

PP is gonna start today. Such a project will take time and energy, but for the neighborhood’s sake, she’ll take the plunge!

Mad as Hell!

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” Remember that line? Remember that movie? Network , right? What was everyone so ma...