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!

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