Monday, December 31, 2007

Part III ~ Palace Hotel Grand Finale!




(Dear Readers, again, note that this is the final chapter in a series of three. Please see the two entries below this for parts I & II)

5:23 a.m. PP awoke with a raging headache. Where was she? Wasn’t she at the Blue Palace swimming with Daryl Hannah? Yes, and Daryl had invited her over for a cocktail and when PP got out of the water, Daryl giggled, turned around and then dove into the bright blue sea. Vanished. Like a flying mermaid. Hey wasn’t she a mermaid in another one of her movies? That Daryl. She’s definitely part of PP’s swimming faith.

The headache pounded in her ears. Temples. Back of the head. Neck even. Where the hell was the Advil? Glancing around, PP remembered where she was. Not at the Blue Palace but at the Real Palace. With a nasty sickness. And no swimming!

Tottering into the bathroom, she retrieved the Advil and gulped two down. Then glanced over at the curtain drawn across the window in the dark stillness.

The pool opens at 5 a.m. Wonder if anyone’s swimming? Peeking through the curtain, PP spied a steady back and forth splash. Yup. Some insane swimmer was up doing laps at 5 in the morning.

Crazy. Yet, PP did admire such obsession around the pool. Another member of her swimming faith.

PP closed the drapes as the headache returned. What was she gonna do? Here she was, the day after Christmas now upon her, and she still had this stupid headache. She had had HAD to swim today before they checked out. She was no way not going to. Maybe if she went back to bed she’d feel better in a few hours. If only Daryl would come and whisk her away to her blue mermaid sea…..lying back down, sinking into the luxurious big pillows, PP smiled sleepily as the vision of a beautiful blonde flying mermaid carried her away.

“Here’s your coffee,” DHBF had run down to Starbucks instead of the crazy room service coffee extravagance. Since it was the day after Christmas they were open and pouring. Thanking him, PP took a sip of the strong brew as another shooting pain came upon her. Damn! Her headache just would not go away. The Advil from 5:23 had done little to dull the pain. What was she gonna do? She must swim before the noon checkout time, especially since she’d missed yesterday’s swim.

Glancing at the clock, PP noted that it was already 9:30 as another shooting pain took hold of her. Shit.

DHBF gave her the worried look. “You’re not any better today, are you?”
PP tried to keep back the tears as she shook her head no. “What am I gonna do? I have to swim before we leave.”
”We’ll come back again some day…” he assured her, though PP was unconvinced. When the hell would she ever have this opportunity again? It wasn’t like she was really part of the SF Aristocracy. She’d just been pretending for a couple of days so she could swim in the precious little pool. And now this damn headache!

“Can you hand me my backpack, Honey?” she waved her hand vaguely in the direction of one of the gaudy Louis the 14th style chairs. Raising an eyebrow, DHBF rose to retrieve it for her. Handing her the pack, PP rummaged around till she found the bottle of pills.
“What are you gonna do?” he asked, just a little anxious.
“I’m gonna take a Darvocet. And then I’m gonna go swimming!” she announced, stubbornness taking over common sense.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
“Why not? If I’m allergic to it, a rash is better than this headache. And if I can get rid of the headache then I can go swimming.”
”Makes sense.”
Though even if he’d told her she was crazy, no way was PP gonna be talked out of the idea. Downing the pill, she lay back on the puffy pillow and took another sip of coffee. Yes. It was the only recourse. A Darvocet Swim is the answer!



30 minutes later, the pain began to subside and PP slowly rose and started to get ready for the pool.
“Is the headache gone?” DHBF asked, worry still lacing his tone.
“Yup!” PP felt a little dreamy as she put on her suit and looked around for the white terry cloth robe. “You coming?” she asked him.
Grinning, he grabbed his swim trunks and threw on his white robe. “Oh, yeah! I’m so glad your headache went away!”
“Me too. Now I can do what I came here for. The pool!”

Floating down the long hallway toward the pool, PP touched her head tenderly. She could still feel that the headache was there, but the drug really did a fabulous job of masking it! Why hadn’t she thought of this last night? If she’d taken a Darvocet then, she wouldn’t have wasted her Christmas writhing in pain.

On the other hand, she never would have discovered the Blue Palace on Crete with the 109 pools!




Signing in at the pool’s front desk, PP chitchatted with the bored pool girl about the insanity of all the new skyscrapers taking away the light and the view. Guess they’d given the Filipino Woman the day off; she certainly deserved it.

As they meandered out onto the deck, past the rosy candles and smell of coffee, PP smiled to herself about the little civilized touches of the Palace Pool. Of course they’d have coffee at the pool in the morning! Every swimmer needs to fuel up before taking the plunge. Then PP heard the sound of screeching children as they opened the door onto the deck. Damn. Children. How many? It sounded like a zillion!

But really it was only a few. 2 in the pool, shrieking in delight while throwing the kickboards across the little lanes. Another 4 in the hot tub. Wait a minute, kids in the hot tub? What’s up with that? Guess the Palace was more permissive than Mills College. But now PP didn’t care. She was deep into in a floaty Darvocet cloud and nothing was gonna phase her as she climbed into the hot tub and starting chatting with two blond brothers, ages 8 and 10 about the new Chipmunks Movie. Fortunately, a buff blonde dad came to retrieve them. It was nearly 10:30 a.m. now, and PP was hankering for that final floaty swim.

And dreamy and floaty it was. The Darvocet made swimming so easy! Why she didn’t even have to pull at the water. She just floated up and down the lane, the bright blue sky and the little lion heads on the curly cues of the building across from the pool glimmering in the morning light.





Who knew that Darvocet could make swimming so dreamy? Hell, she was gonna take a darvocet before every swim from now on. Giggling to herself as she turned at the wall, PP grinned over at DHBF as he did his slow easy breaststroke. Had he taken a Darvocet too, she wondered. No, not that she could recall. But right now it was impossible to recall anything. She was just swimming in the Moment.

Deepak Chopra would be so impressed. Though he probably wouldn’t have approved of the drug aspect of her mindfulness.

PP turned onto her back and kicked languidly on her back, watching the puffy clouds float through the blue blue sky between the surrounding skyscrapers. Laughing at the little lions on the building directly across from the pool each time she turned at the wall. Later when she pointed them out to DHBF, he shook his head, “I don’t think they’re really lions, Honey. They’re just curly cues.”
“But they look like LIONS!” PP insisted. And they did. At least in her present dreamy state.

Finishing up her laps, PP hopped into the hot tub, sinking down into its warm bubbles as she continued to watch the enchanting sky through the Palace Pool’s glass domed roof. The kids had all left. It was just her, DHBF and one lone swimmer, lounging on the chair opposite her, his body lean and long. His sideburns lean and long. What’s up with that? He looked like he could be on Masterpiece Theater in a Jane Austen production with those sideburns. Or maybe he was just from France.

It was so peaceful. So quiet. So like a dream. Why PP wouldn’t be surprised if Daryl Hannah were to appear in her gold bikini with a tray of mimosas for them.




“Did you have a nice swim?” DHBF asked as he climbed into the tub with her.
“Oh, yeah,” she murmured. “It was so dreamy.”
”Musta been the Darvocet,” he grinned.
PP smiled. “No, I don’t think it was just the Darvocet.”
He nodded, understanding her completely, as he nudged closer to her, slinging his arm round her shoulders to bend down for a final dreamy Palace Pool kiss.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Part II ~ Palace Blue




(Dear Readers, please see entry below for Part I—PP is still not quite sure how to handle the organization of chaptered entries since the blog automatically places the most recent entry first. However, she’s certain that you, Dear Readers, will figure it out, yes?)


O Glorious Christmas morn at the Palace Hotel. Room service (Hey, it’s Christmas and everything’s closed. Perfect excuse to spring for the $25 coffee and puny pastry basket. But the little individual jams are cute—blackberry and orange marmalade!) A bit of frisky play on the King-size bed, then PP runs to check out the pool! Yes! Their room has a view of the pool’s domed top and if you look closely, you can see if anyone is swimming! Can you believe that? Only a swimming kitty would get a room with the check-out if it’s crowded in the pool vista!

But this Christmas day, it’s so lovely. The San Francisco Skyscraper sky is a bright vivid blue. The air in sunshiny crisp. And yes, there are some splashers in the pool, so why not a walk first and then the pool?

At the time, PP felt a twinge of misgiving. She really just wanted to spend the entire day at the pool, but on the other hand, how often do you get a perfect walking day in San Francisco in December? Rare rare rare is this. Plus, she figured she could swim after the walk, right?

And the walk was divine. Down Mission street to the Embarcadero. A new building on the grassy knoll next the giant tacky bow and arrow sculpture. PP is convinced that there’s a pool in this new building, peering through the chain link fence, trying to decipher what its interior holds.

“The sign says here that it’s gonna be A Bar and Grill Smokehouse,” DHBF announces.
“Are you sure?” PP continues to peer through the fence. “It really looks like there’s a pool in there! Wouldn’t this be the perfect place for a pool, overlooking the bay with a view of Treasure Island and the Bridge?”
DHBF chuckles. Not everything is a pool he reminds her.





PP is hard pressed to believe this, but decides against arguing the point on this glorious day. After all, it is Christmas. The time of spiritual giving and such shit.

Personally, PP’s religion is the pool. But unfortunately she’s had little time to organize a special holiday for her faith.

Yet there is a hint of her Faith on this walk. At Aquatic Park the insane Polar Bear swimmers are out in the frigid bay. Hell, they don’t even wear wet suits! PP admires their dedication and does understand it on a watery level, but hell, you’d never get her in that 54 degree water! Then picnicking at Washington Square Park, she spies another member of her church. A gimping geezer in flip-flops and wet suit (Yes, he was limping round the park in his full wet suit!) hollering at the top of his lungs. “I’m looking for someone to go swimming with me! Hey! Will you go swimming with me?” he hails a passing Chinese woman laden with pink plastic bags. She gives him a look of crazed bewilderment as she scurries by. She’s NOT a member of His Church! But he does find someone. With the next holler a sprightly elderly North Beach Poet type slings her arm round his wet suited waist. “Sure I’ll go for a swim!”
“Hot Dog!” he cries, as he drapes his arm over her shoulders and guides her back through the park to the sea.

After lunch, walking briskly down Montgomery Street back to the Palace and the Pool, PP is stricken with the goddamn shooting pain headaches again. DAMN!!!! Wretched Wind! Maybe if she can just get to the Palace and lie down and take some Advil she’ll be ok to swim in an hour or so.

It was not to be. PP lay in the lovely King size bed writhing and whining in earache agony. How could this happen? She’d come all the way to the Palace Hotel to swim at the little pool and now this?

DHBF looked after her in his warm caring worried way. Getting her water and cookies. Telling her how the pool still looked really crowded. PP wasn’t buying it, but was too sick to even stand up and look at the pool from their window. Damn. Damn. Damn! What was she gonna do?

Nothing for now. She drifted off in a headachy doze for a few hours while DHBF went down to the festive lobby to gawk and make phone calls. PP was near tears, but didn’t have the energy to cry. Besides, if she did cry, it would only make the headache worse!

Later that evening, the headache had somewhat abated, but not enough to even contemplate for a moment a swim. DHBF sat by the bed, sifting through the room service menu and various pamphlets. “Hey, look at this. Here’s a guide to all of the Palaces in Europe. I bet you could take a Palace Pool tour.”
PP sniffled.
“Here, let’s see where you could go. Vienna…. Oslo. Frankfurt….Venice. Florence. Stockholm…. London…..wait, no London’s Palace doesn’t’ have a pool…..”
”Stupid London,” PP snorts. “Of course they wouldn’t have a pool there!”
DHBF shakes his head. “I don’t know why you hate London so much. You must have had a really bad experience there.”
”Yeah, all it did was rain and there’s no pool at their palace!”
“Hey, listen to this one,” he pauses as a slow grin comes across his handsome visage. “The Blue Palace Resort and Spa on the island of Crete.”
PP smiles to herself. Of course Crete is gonna have a great Pool Palace. It’s such an enchanted place. Plus isn’t that the island where Daryl Hannah had the three way with the Archeologist and the Doctor in ‘Summer Lovers’?



DHBF read on, excited by his find of the Blue Palace. “Experience a resort of exceptional quality. The Blue Palace is the perfect destination with its combination of natural beauty, deluxe accommodations, terracotta colors, and endless blue from the 106 private pools and the serene waters of the Cretan Pelagos Sea….”
“106 POOLS!!!!????” PP sat up in bed. “Did you say 106 pools?”
“Yup! Listen to this; all 79 bungalows and the 3 private villas each have their own private pool. The pools are seawater, but can be changed to freshwater upon request!”
“Are you kidding me?”
“Yes, hello, Michos, can you please change the seawater in my private pool to freshwater. I’ve had too much seawater for one day swimming in the Pelagos Sea ….” DHBF chuckles at the imaginary request.



PP shakes her head. There’s a place on this earth with 106 pools?
“Also there are two outdoor pools and one indoor heated pool,” he continues to read.
“Plus the 106 private pools?”
“Yup.”
“That makes for a total of 109 pools! I have to go there!” PP’s mind reels. She must go to this Blue Palace. There was no question in her medicated congested mind. 109 pools? All in one place? She could bring all of her friends. JL and the Lovely I and Ms W and of course, DHBF! Why this would be the perfect place to establish her Church of the Pool too! But how was she ever going to make it to Crete? Here she was at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, and she couldn't even make it down the hall to the enchanting pool here!





Later that night, PP drifted off into an uneasy sickly sleep, but her dreams were filled with blue pools nestled on palm treed hillsides overlooking a turquoisy sea with Daryl Hannah in a gold bikini sipping fruity cocktails as she lounged by the side of one of the Blue Palace’s 109 blue blue pools, one lanky leg dangling in the water as she watched with lazy dreamy eyes, PP swimming back and forth and back and forth in her own private Blue Palace Pool!



~to be continued~

Friday, December 28, 2007

Part I ~ Full Disclosure



Finally! PP is well enough (though admittedly still not quite back to 100%) to write about the ‘Undisclosed Location’ for Christmas. Did anyone guess? I bet some of you did!

Well. Here you go: The undisclosed location was The Palace Hotel! (Dashingly Handsome Boyfriend’s Genius Idea for their Christmas getaway)

Was it everything she’d fantasized about?

Oh, yes and more! Of course she expected it to be exquisitely enchanting. But little did she know how much.

Donning the requisite white hotel robe and rushing down the royally carpeted hallways in bare feet and swim garb, PP was bursting with excitement. Here she was at last! The Palace Hotel Pool, lying hidden on the 4th floor, overlooking New Montgomery and Market, glowed turquoise in the late afternoon light. Stupidly, PP had forgotten to eat anything before boarding BART, so when they arrived, she was too hungry to swim. It being Christmas Eve and all, everything was closed. The little pizza place across the street. The Boulangerie Sourdough spot. Even the Quinnzoe’s Subs—which normally she would have shunned, but damn, she was hungry and she needed to eat before swimming. Otherwise, fainting would ensue. And she sure as hell didn’t need to faint at the Palace Hotel on Christmas Eve!

So 7-Eleven was gonna hafta do. Can you believe it? PP ate a 7/11 turkey and one piece of lettuce sandwich in order to swim!

But it did the trick. The major hunger pangs were quashed, and off to the pool they headed.

Yes, the same Filipino Woman was there, folding towels and laughing at PP’s need to eat. (PP had gone to the pool the very moment they checked in. Yet the hunger issue delayed her first dive. FW had cheered her on: “You need FUEL to swim!”)

So, when they finally arrived in their white terry cloth robes and the pool was hosting a couple of screaming children, PP was undaunted. Here she was, finally, at the Palace Hotel Pool! What matter a couple screaming brats! She hadn’t had to seduce some smarmy businessman at the bar (a strategy to get into the Pool that she’d written about a few months back), but was here completely legit! The white robe proved it. (Later, PP mused about how, yes, they had to sign their names in on a clipboard that the FW guarded, but there was no room number needed or any other proof that they were guests at the Palace. If somehow, she could score one of these white terry cloth robes, she could surely sneak in unsuspected.)

But that’s another blog.

This day, Christmas Eve, she was here in all her Guest Glory, ready to dive on into the perfect little pool.





First the hot tub. It was December after all and PP was still recovering from her odious sinus infection.

Climbing into the little tub, PP sank down into its delicious warm bubbles and beamed over at the pool. The kids were getting out, and so was a beautiful bikini girl. Dark, slender, lithe. Her long pony tail wet from the water, she climbed thankfully into the hot tub, “Brrrrrr….” she grinned over at PP above her chattering teeth, the skimpy bikini leaving little to the imagination.

“Is it cold?” PP had asked, only a little worried. She’d felt the water earlier. It was at least 81 or 82.
“Oh, yes, but I could not swim much. I am a very bad swimmer.” She gave PP a wide sexy grin. Her accent giving that added cosmopolitan flare to her sexy persona. PP was naturally delighted to chat with her. The Palace Hotel Pool was not only cute, but it attracted sexy bikini girls from faraway lands!

Can the Fantasy get any better?

Ah, but this was Reality! Yet, PP could hardly believe it was happening. For so long now she’d wanted to swim in this pool and now, on Christmas Eve, it was really happening. With Sexy Israeli Woman to boot! PP wondered what she did in L.A., but was too overcome with excitement to really partake of her usually probing story dredging. Maybe she was an actress or a model? She certainly looked like one. And isn’t that why good looking people flock to L.A. from Israel? To be in the movies?

Who knows? She was probably just a software engineer, whatever the hell that is, but it sounds good!

“I’m warm enough now, PP nodded to DHBF who was also unabashedly charmed by SIW. “So, I’m gonna swim now. Hope I don’t get too cold.”
SIW shook her head, smiled in a gorgeous movie star way, “Oh, I am sure you’ll be fine!”

And PP was. The Palace Hotel Pool was lit as the sky darkened, and PP found herself looking out the windowed sheltered dome at the 4th story of the office buildings surrounding the pool. It was just too cool. To be swimming up here amongst the skyscrapers in downtown SF at the Magical Palace Hotel Pool! PP turned onto her back after warming up, gazing up at the moon shinning through the glassed domed ceiling. She was in Heaven and it was Christmas Eve!

Who needs Santa?

Back and forth, PP kicked, and then swam. The pool now empty except for herself and DHBF. It seemed so effortless, this swim in the Palace Pool. She hardly felt like she was working out at all. And it was NOT cold. 82 degrees is what had been advertised, and PP guessed that this was exactly right. (Thank goodness they hadn’t gone to Asilomar with the Lovely I and her GF where the pool was only 75! At least this was the info that the Lovely I had gotten that PP had heard third hand from JL. Hopefully, this wasn’t really the case for the Lovely I. Though PP thought that they could just heat up the pool for her. After all, she was the Lovely I and she had deigned to grace their pool!)





45 minutes later, PP was warming down, eyeing DHBF already back in the hot tub chatting up SIW. Duh! Bet he was having a very merry Christmas! Seeing a trio of rounded swimmers shed their white robes and climb gingerly down the ladder into the pool, beginning the inevitable out of the water breast stroke right toward her, PP decided it was time to get back into the hot tub. To avoid a collision. But also to check up on DHBF and SIW. They needed her to really have fun!

“You are such a good swimmer,” SIW gushed shyly.
“Oh, thanks,” PP grinned, sinking into the tub.
“I must learn how to swim better! I need to practice more!”
“That’s all it takes. Practice and a pool!” PP encouraged as she slid over next to DHBF.
“She’s a runner,” he nodded toward SIW.
“Wow! That’s wonderful,” PP admired. Runners were so out of her imagination. How anyone can run without barfing was a mystery to her.
“Yes. I used to run marathons. But that was many years ago. Now I cannot. My back, it is bad. Sciatic nerve.”
PP nodded sympathetically, remembering OH’s back problems around this nerve. His pain and surgery. Hopefully, SIW wouldn’t have to have surgery. PP thought this, but didn’t mention it to her.
“She also has ear problems.” DHBF certainly had obtained a lot of information while PP was swimming laps.
“Oh, yes, I have a tiny hole in my eardrum. I can not even stand to get one drop of water in my ear.”
”Oh, that’s too bad,” PP sympathized, her own ears being such a problem lately what with the tenacious sinus infection from Hell.
“But I have these ear plugs! Have you seen them? They come from Israel. They are wrapped in cotton.”
PP shook her head. She didn’t know about the Israeli Cotton earplugs.
“I have so many. Let me get you some!” SIW beamed brightly as she hopped out of the tub, her long legs dashing across the deck to the little group of handsome dark men in the corner, waiting for her, bored and sullen.
“Here, you can have these,” she returned, handing PP several of the little plugs.
“You seen them before?” she asked as she held the black and gold tin in front of PP for inspection.
“Wow, thanks,” PP took the gift, as she glanced at the tin. It just looked like one of those Altoid tins but was filled with earplugs instead of mints. Embarrassed a little, PP took the plugs, “You sure you can spare these?”
SIW pooh-poohed! “Oh! I have lots. Please you take them. You are a real swimmer. They are the best ear plugs.”
PP thanked her again, and then carefully popped the plugs into her cap, dubious of their real effectiveness in the water. They looked more like plugs for blocking out sound rather than water, but hey, maybe the Israelis know how to make cotton earplugs for the pool? Hell, it didn’t matter. She’d gotten her first Christmas present of the season and how enchanting that it was from a Sexy Israeli Beauty at the Palace Hotel!

~To be continued~

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas and Pools



As many of you may already know, PP is heading off for an 'undisclosed location' for the Christmas holiday. Of course, any destination she chooses will have a pool.

Do you think the pool will have a floating Christmas tree, too?
PP can only hope so!

Stories to come after Christmas!

Till then, swim swim swim!!!

PP

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Everybody Got a Blow Job



So much was happening at the pool today. The last day at Mills before the long winter break, that PP can’t write it all down what with JL, and the Lovely I and DHBF not to mention many Random Swimmer’s Commentaries and Asides. So, she’s gonna try something a little different and try to write her blog ala Frank O’Hara’s ‘Do this Do That’ style…..

Of course, she’s no Frank O’Hara.

But he’s dead, so he’ll never know that his name is going underwater.

For you Frank:

You’re not gonna like the water today. It’s really COLD!
I was in the Hot Tub the other day and these Sport Jocks were complaining about the Cold Water and then I got in and it wasn’t so bad.
There were tons of empty lanes but she had to choose mine!
Lane Stalker.
I like the Middle of a Relationship. Not the Beginning. Not the ending. That’s why I’m still single. How do you get to the middle without a Beginning?
Not me! I love the Beginning. The Chase! I miss That!
And then it turned out that this woman who insisted on getting in my lane was the same Woman who crashed into my car in the Whole Foods Parking Lot eons ago.
How do you get to Lions Pool? I can give really good directions to the wrong places, but only bad directions to the good places.
Why is this a bad kickboard?
You guys do know that you only have 15 minutes left to swim before the pool closes?
We’ve been friends for over 8 years and now we’re dating.
They never like to take the covers off but I wave my cane around and that gets ‘em moving.
Will you save me if I start getting Hypothermia?
I did all this research on pools in Dallas and this one 50 meter one looked good online but when I got there the deck was all slimy and the bulkhead was in the wrong place.
Did you hear how Pool C’s kitty got attacked by Coyotes?
Is everyone blaming you for the pool fee increase?
She reminds me of a whippet. She looks so sad.
A little bit of well-deserved sarcasm can go a long way to making you feel better.
I went to San Francisco and thought how everyone is Sooo Nice. Then I went to New York, and I thought, wow, everyone is sooo NICE and then I went to Paris and I thought, Wow, everyone is SOOO Nice. Then I had to think that maybe it was where I was coming from and NOT the place I was going to at all!
Did you like the Hello Kitty Hair Dryer?
Everyone tried it. JL. The Lovely I. PP.
Great! So then everyone got a Blow Job.


Frank O’Hara would like that last line, so PP’s gonna leave it at that.

Many thanks to the Lovely I, JL, DHBF and Random Swimmers.

Happy Winter Break and may you all find pools to sustain you while Club Mills is closed.

And PoetOwen's Nod to Frank! (and PP, too, of course!)

it is 1:18 in Berkeley
and I
am wondering if pool
puss has a new entry
but I'm distracted by
HD who comes in carrying
a piece of carrot
I say hey that's no
cat toy but then I
do read the entry
and it's funny as
all get-out

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Have a Happy Hello Kitty Hair Day!



"We got you a little something. It's NOT a Christmas present! We don't DO Christmas! D found it cheap at Target. Of course, it is swimming related. But I hope you don't already have one!"

The Lovely I retrieved a paper bag from her stash of swim stuff. PP loves it that the Lovely I and her GF don't do Christmas and has decided to embrace this doctrine herself this year. Why? Is it just PP's naturally Grinch-like personality? Perhaps. Or is it her perpetually Cheapskate inclination? Could be. Or is it simply that she'd rather spend the dough on a Pool Trip than participate in the always fake feeling 'Spirit of Giving' that is the season? Yeah, that's it. PP is just so selfish! All she really wants to do is swim and write and swim some more. Forget shopping. PP LOATHES shopping! And while it does feel a little strange to not be heading to Moe's to pick out books for her friends and family, a bigger part of her is relieved that a trip to Somewhere Instead is where her hard earned dollars are going. And hey! Then she'll still be participating in keeping that good ol' American Economy going by spending on hotels, rental cars, and of course, pools at faraway and warmer destinations.

So, when The Lovely I retrieved a paper bag from her stash of swim stuff, PP was utterly delighted and pleased that she would be the recipient of a NON-Christmas gift from these two.

And when she opened it up , what did she behold?

A HELLO KITTY HAIR DRYER!!!

How supurr cool is that? PP can't believe that she didn't already have one, but she didn't. And so, after the blissful, post sick swim in the bright tuquoisey afternoon, PP stood with Tall J Artist in the Mills College bathroom, drying her hair.

"It's so damn cold. You gotta dry your hair!" TJA laughed as she flung a bundle of wet hair round her neck, aiming the hair dryer forcefully at the tangle of chlorinated bleachness.
"Look at my Hello Kitty Dryer!" PP boasted, floating the pink handle round the bathroom sink.
"Ohhh! I'm jealous!" TJA gushed as she leaned over to check it out. "Wow! It's so cute!"
"Yeah, and look what it says here on the side, "Have a Happy Hair Day!"
"Well, you're certainly gonna!" TJA pronounced as the Lovely I sauntered in to survey the hair drying progress.
"Does it work?" she asked, a little worried.
"Oh yeah! It works fabulously!" PP danced around in a little circle, squirting some hot hair on the Lovely I's dark, wet bun on the back of her neck. Like it was gonna make a difference!
But for PP's golden, wispy locks, the Hello Kitty Hairdryer was just the ticket! With a soft setting and a strong setting and a warm and a cool. Why it was so pink!

Leave it to The Kitty to get the Hair Dryer right!

And with a final happy Blow Blow, PP finished up her Do and wrapped the Miss Kitty's Happy Hair Dryer cord back round her pink handle and popped her back into the swim bag.

Now,thanks to the Lovely I and her shopping GF, PP has the supurr deluxe, Hello Kitty Hair Dryer to help out with the wet tresses in the post swim winterland!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

in lieu of swimming




Since PP has been odiously under the weather and therefore, unable to swim, she’s had to find other activities that don’t demand too much brainpower since her brain is mucus land.

Charming.

So what has she been doing in lieu of swimming?

Watching lots and lots of daytime TV, what else? Any oh, my! What a lot she has learned!

Tyra taught her ‘How to recognize a fake!’ Now PP can tell the difference between fake hair extensions and human ones (The human ones BOUNCE!) between a REAL Gucci Bag and a Knockoff (the real one has soft leather lining that feels like “Charmin”--Oh that Tyra, she has a way with simile) and between the Real Tyra and the Fake One. (The Real one is Taller, Fatter, and Stupider!)



What else has PP learned from daytime TV? On Oprah she learned all about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Charmed Literary life and how she’s become a literary rock star cuz of her new book ‘bout her spiritual journey from the bathroom floor to Italy to India to New Jersey. She calls her book, “Eat, Pray, Love.”

Hell, PP could write her own spiritual journey but doubts that she’d get on Oprah since she’d call hers, “Drink, Swim, Fuck.”

Oh, and don’t forget Judge Judy! My oh my don’t mess with her! If you are the sorry sap who borrowed your neighbor’s vacuum to mop up your apartment that was ‘egged’ (Who the hell gets ‘egged’ anymore?), then break said vacuum, then refuse to pay for a new one from the pert blonde neighbor you borrowed it from, watch out cuz Blondie’s gonna sue you on Judge Judy and Judge Judy is gonna make you pay. And ‘ummm’ is not an answer! So answer ‘Yes, M’am, or No, M’am,’ unless you want to do hard time in Judy’s Court.



Soap operas? Aren’t these the staple of daytime? All My Clichés is especially educational this week. PP learned that you should never store alcohol in your fake breast implants to try to get a no good rich guy outta the slammer by tempting him to drink again so he can remember that he did not run over the town big wig. This is a violation of Civil Code 128887. Eva’s gonna pay for her mistake by some jail time of her own. PP also learned that family is everything. And heck you gotta protect what’s yours, but not at the expense of their independence and the stroking of your own goddamn mighty ego. Thanks Crystal. But most of all she learned that you always have to listen to your dreams. If your husband is missing and your ex best friend on the lam psychopath is believed to be with him and you dream that your husband shoots this ex best friend, well, you gotta listen to that dream and run out into the woods in the middle of the night in your high heels and mink coat to go search for them. Many thanks, Kendall!



So, while this isn’t exactly a swimming story, per se, it is an instead of swimming blog about the joys of being too sick to do anything but watch daytime TV.




And as Meredith says, “Who wants to be a Millionaire?”

Hell, we all do!

And as PP always says, “Who wants to go for a swim?”

She does!

So, please, everyone out there, Drink, Swim and Fuck for PP till she gets her fins back on and dives back into that beautiful, liquidy home away from home, The Pool!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Oh! Those Devious Professional Swimmers!


Finally! Capt. G was coming to the Y as PP’s guest for a much needed indoor swim—what with the cold windy grayness of December, an indoor swim seemed purrfect.

Oh dear. PP is just too wretchedly sick to write this story. Damn! And it’s so funny! Maybe she can write it in summary form? Or a delirious fevered rendition might just work for the story to unfold in all it’s devious glory? Yes; this will work. Or if not, who cares? Not PP, whose fever-induced boredom has made her turn to the only other passion she has when she can't swim: Writing!

Waiting for Capt. G to arrive, PP had picked up a copy of Rita Mae Brown’s Sneaky Pie series. Again, since she’s so sick today, can’t remember the title, but yet, she’s always loved the idea of the cat and corgi detective helpers. Plus, she’s been intrigued by the YMCA’s book shelf here in the lobby for months, but has never had the time to peruse its contents. Mostly the usual suspects. Mysteries. Romances. A couple New-agey titles about finding your inner guru shit.

Opening the Rita Mae Brown one, PP starts in on the first page, but the cat and corgi don’t even make an appearance before Capt G rushes in for the appointed meeting time, 4 pm, after droppin off her teenage daughter and friends for some youth code conduct meeting……those youth. PP thinks no meeting is gonna code them into good conduct and that’s exactly what? Well, obviously, PP knows nothing about any Code of Conduct as the following narrative will illustrate!

“Sorry I’m late,” Capt. G gushes, brushing a stray blonde strand out of her eyes.
“No, you’re fine. It’s only 5 after 4. You just need to sign in at that notebook (PP points to a binder lying open on the front counter) and give him a picture ID, right?” PP grins at the bored, but friendly young man behind the counter.
“That’s right,” he agrees as he gets back to the phone or the computer or folding towels or some such task, not really paying attention to them.

Capt. G’s eyes widen in surprise and shock as she mouths silently across the counter at PP, “I DON'T.....HAVE...A...a Picture ID!!!!”
Damn! PP’s been trying to get Capt G to the Y for almost a year and now the lack of picture ID is gonna stop them?

NO way! Luckily, PP watches plenty of soap operas so deviousness has become second nature to her. Pulling out her own wallet, she grabs her FFU picture ID and slips it sneakily over to Capt. G. Rita Mae Brown woulda been proud! “Here….he’ll never know the difference,” she whispers. And really Capt. G and PP do look similar. Both blonde, blue eyed, fair skinned. The eth-mix youth won’t know the difference. Or so PP hopes. Not missing a beat, Capt G takes the ID and hands it sweetly over to him, who true to PP’s suspicion, doesn’t even glance at it.

Whew! They’re in, as they both grab towels and run giggling down the stairs. It was like they were in 7th grade and getting away with smoking in the bathroom. Not that PP ever smoked in bathrooms; honest, she didn’t. Had never developed a taste for that particular vice, but she was pretty sure Capt G had. Well, maybe not, but CG sure went along with the passed off ID scam.

Delighted, they catch their breaths, and then eyeing each other across the lockers, bust up laughing.
“I can’t believe I did that!” PP exclaims, proud of her devious ingenuity.
“Me neither,” CG agrees.
“We’re not embracing those YMCA values of Honesty and Responsibility are we?”
”Hell, I do stuff like that all the time and then my kids look at me like, “MOM? What the Hell….and I just tell ‘em to shut up and I’ll explain later.”
Cracking up again, they head out to the pool. “Hurry, before he sends someone after us,” PP jokes as they grab the towels and head out to the deck, two blondes on the lam. Anything for a swim!

In the pool, they split a lane initially, PP pleasantly surprised that this is possible on a Sunday afternoon. But their idyllic rhythm is short lived as swimmers pile in, eager to get in a workout before closing time at 6. Capt G is a pro at not making eye contact with the prospective lane sharers, and hence circle swim hell. PP is amazed that they get in a half an hour before a sweet, unassuming Asian guy gets in with his Hawaii print navy trunks and begins his out of the water breast stroke right in front of Capt. G.

Not a swimmer.

After only half a lap, Capt G inadvertently mows him over with her backstroke on the way back down the lane. PP notes that they both stop, exchange a laugh and then Capt. G continues on her way.

Asian Non Swimmer climbs out of the pool after only 2 laps. “Did we scare you away?” PP jokes, resting at the wall.
He shakes his head, pleasant, smiles big. “No no, it’s ok. You are Professional Swimmers!”

Cracking up PP wants to say, no, we’re not Professional Swimmers, we're just lying devious bitches who break into the YMCA without the proper authority and then take over the lane, completely breaking the YMCA’s contract of sharing, responsibility, caring and honesty. Hey, but, they painted over those values at the pool. Maybe they don’t apply anymore?

PP grins as ANS climbs into the lane next to hers, joining 4 Asian guys who don’t swim. Perfect, now they can have their own non-swimming lane without interfering with the Professional Swimmers! PP watches as they giggle and bob about. One demonstrating a spastic free-style out of the water as the rest nod and flounder, tyring to mimic his serious stroke.

After their swim, Capt G sighs happily, exclaiming once again how great swimming makes her feel. PP has to agree, of course, but this day there was the added excitement of breaking the rules. Swimming on the lam. Every swimmer should try it. Whether it’s breaking into the Y with a fake ID, or climbing the fence at midnight at the local high school, or skinny dipping in your parents’ suburban kidney shaped pool. Forbidden Swimming. Who ever knew?

It makes the watery experience so much more exhilarating!

Unless, of course, you’re the poor Asian Guy who mistakenly believes that the Lying Bitches are Professional Swimmers!

But no way in Hell was PP gonna tell him or the tired YMCA attendant otherwise as she gets Capt. G to pick up ‘her’ ID as they wait in the lobby for the teenage girls to appear.

Wonder what they'd say if they knew about their mother's duplicitous tactics to gain a swim?

Who knows?

PP certainly wasn't gonna ask as she follows Capt. G's group of teenagers out the front door and back into the cold dark reality of Blondes not on the lam!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving--it's her 'Season'!



“I think you hafta resign yourself to a Pool-less Thanksgiving,” Dashingly Handsome Boyfriend sighed as they sat in the post Thanksgiving Sunday afternoon traffic through heinous San Rafael.

It had been one pool disappointment after another this last weekend. First the Divine Arcata Pool. Then the closed Benbow Inn Pool. Now the out of reach Marin YMCA.

Was a swim for the holiday asking too much?

Evidently.

PP hated that. Why the hell can’t all the pools be open all of the time? Who the hell decides that pools must be closed for holidays? Or the‘season’? It just was not right. And there was a part of PP that was heavily in Denial about the reality of ‘closed pools’. Any sane person, who tried calling the Acrata pool 3 times with no answer on the day after Thanksgiving would just assume that the pool was closed. It was a holiday after all. But no. PP had to conjecture that it was just those good for nothing lazy lifeguards not answering the phone as is their want much of the time. PP had witnessed this transgression time and time again at various pools. For instance. She’d call Mills at the time that it was open for lap swimming, even giving the pool girl an extra five minutes or so. And the phone would ring and ring and ring and then transfer her to voice mail. Now PP couldn’t find out what the all important pool temp was and had to just drive out to Mills only to discover that the Pool Girl had been there all along. She was just too busy reading her goddamn Anatomy Text to bother answering the phone.

Granted, at the Arcata Pool the day after Thanksgiving, this probably wasn’t the case, but PP wouldn’t take no answer for an answer and so had made DHBF drive out to the pool along the lovely ‘safety’ corridor from Eureka to Arcata at only 50 goddamn miles an hour and then, of course, when they FINALLY had gotten to the pool and the parking lot was completely empty, PP had let DHBF get out of the car and check the locked door.

Damn! The pool was inside there! Why couldn’t she just go in and swim? PP could just picture it. All the turkeys who’d escaped their final hour were in there having a fine swimming time, just gobbling away on their little turkey air mattresses, laughing at PP’s plight, feasting on…. what the hell do turkeys eat anyway?





Well, you get the idea. PP just wanted to swim and she knew that it was possible if only…..

And then, the Benbow Inn. PP has been intrigued by this fanciful ‘chalet’ perched on a grassy knoll overlooking the Eel River and the Giant Redwoods ever since she’d been doing the drive to Eureka to visit the folks. So. When the idea to stay there on the way back to Oakland had first entered her mind, the first thing she thought of was, of course, Do they have a pool?





Browsing their web site, she saw pictures of the pool with ‘spa’ and ‘sauna’—all part of the unique resort experience. So when she’d called the morning of their trip back down south and the hotel clerk had been so frazzled that she hadn’t been able to ask about the pool for sure, PP had just shrugged. The web site featured the pool and spa and sauna. Surely they weren’t lying.

Oh, but they were. Goddamn seasons. Why it’s never really winter here in California! So why the hell do all the pools close in November? Do people really NOT swim in the winter? How stupid is that? PP for one, always swims year round as do all of her swimming friends, the Lovely I, and JL and Miss W, and DHBF….well, actually he probably wouldn’t if it weren’t for PP. But you get the idea. Swimming is NOT just a summer recreation!

So, when they arrive at the Benbow Inn, utterly charmed and delighted by the gaudily ornate lobby replete with tea and scones at 4, only to be informed that the pool was closed for the ‘season’—well, needless to say, PP had to hold her tongue. And she did. But she was thinking how very stupid it is that pools are NOT open year around, 24/7 just for her benefit. Hell. It was the least they could do!





So they’d gone on a lovely hike in back of the Inn, past the 8.3 million Julia Morgan home for sale perched above the Eel river and out into the redwoods and tawny hillsides full of cute square cows. And this had been very nice and peaceful and full of nature and all.




But it wasn’t the same as a swim.

Now, sitting in traffic on 101 in San Rafael, DHBF had pointed out the Marin YMCA perched on the hillside, the parking lot full of lucky swimmers. Sighing inwardly, PP wanted to ask him to get the hell offa the stupid freeway and take her to the Marin Y, but then, what would he do? Could she bring a guest to a guest Y?

Now there’s a question and frankly what with her pool-less luck all weekend, PP wasn’t willing to test it out and so they continued on at the pokey pace toward Oakland, knowing that she’d be too late for the Oakland Y at the rate they were going.

Damn. A whole 4 days without a swim! What’s a swimming kitty to do?

Spend the day at the Y on Monday, regardless of the post Thanksgiving neo-swimmers in abundance, the water a chilly 80 degrees, not the usual lovely 83, the lanes full of purple-headed spazes, long-legged sidestrokers, tattooed weight lifters.

But PP is smiling as she’s swimming.

Ah…..who cares about all the Oakland Y’s usual pandemonium. She was in the pool and she was swimming and she was happy! Finally, it was her Season. All she needed was an open pool. Oh, and a little patience at the Oakland YMCA!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Perfect Day for the Campbell Pool


“You must go at Lunch,” the Lovely I asserted after listening to PP’s whining about how she couldn’t swim at the Campbell Pool after her shift at WWU. It would be too late. After 8 pm. Then the swim till 9, then the shower, rinsing off, toweling off, hair drying. Now it’d be 9:30 or maybe even 10 pm. PP was so damned slow. Then the drive all the way back to Oakland without any dinner. The hunger factor. Always a problem. If PP didn’t eat by 8 pm or so, well…..fainting was a distinct possibility and fainting on the 880 freeway at 10 o’clock at night sounded like more than Odiousness to her.

But then PP had another idea. What if she did this evening swim and then went and stayed at the Campbell Inn? Ordered Room service. Watched Cable T.V. She divulged this fantasy to the Lovely I. Confessed how she’d never done anything like this by herself. The Lovely I had sighed and confessed the same, “Me neither. I’ve never done that by myself.” This sorta surprised PP. The Lovely I seemed so worldly and sophisticated in that Cosmopolitan Artist way. But yet, she has been in a relationship with Fix-it GF for 17 or was it 18? years. So, it did make sense that the Lovely I had only done such hotel extravagances with her GF and not by herself.

PP still liked this fantasy though. And when last week, she’d driven by the Blue Sky Chinese restaurant on the way home, only a block from the Campbell Inn, the fantasy grew. It would be so cool to go for this evening swim, then stop at the Blue Heaven and order up some Mushoo to Go, then head over to the CI for a feast of Chinese and Cable.

PP is gonna keep this fantasy in mind. It’s still a possibility, but today…..well, it was simply perfect. PP had time for an early lunch (So she could make the noon lap hours) because of no appointments with students till later. The day was mild and sunny. (Yes, there still is that sun fear because of the stupid melanoma, but this ‘body anxiety’ is getting better.)

So, into the Pool Compound she went to ask the Scraggly Lifeguard about the equipment. Did she need to lug her fins, pull buoy ‘n Hello Kitty Kickboard to the pool? (Granted the pool was very close to both WWU annex in the Community Center and where the Geo was parked, but still…..PP gets so tired of lugging all her crap around. Why does swimming take so much equipment? And then the shower and after shower stuffs. Shampoo, conditioner, lotions—why so many lotions? One for her body, one for her face, no three for her face, two were sunscreens. Oh it was so heavy! PP always wondered why she couldn’t be like those swimmers who just seemed to jump in the pool, rinse off in the shower in five minutes or less, and then toss on some clothes and be ready to go.

She was never ready to go.

So now, when Scraggly Lifeguard confirmed that she had to bring all this crap with her, with the exception of the kickboard, she wasn’t that surprised. Every pool had its requisite equipment plusses and minuses. “We’ve got lots of those as you can see,” he pointed across the pool at the gray plastic cupboard full of boards.

After retrieving this equipment from the Geo, and paying her 5 bucks to the SL, PP could hardly contain her excitement. Finally! She was gonna swim in the Campbell Pool!

And in the locker room, PP thinks it’s Kismet that the first person she talks to has ‘goddess’ written in pink across her white shirted chest. This distracts her but also seems a good omen as she listens to this divinty soothe a Plump Young Latina about how important swimming is even when you don’t have time.
“When do you eat lunch?” the goddess asks PYL.
“Oh, I just been eating at my desk lately. So I have time to fit in a swim,” she rushes to pack up her suit, shampoo and towel into her backpack. PP likes this priority. Swimming over Lunching.
“Well, remember to take care of yourself,” the goddess continues, “you’ve had a rough week.”
”Yes, I will. I just need to swim.”
“Absolutely. The swimming will help.”
PYL nods as she rushes out, “You have a nice rest of the day!”
“You, too, dear,” the goddess calls after her, towel drying her short red locks.
“She sounds like she has a strategy for her week,” PP offers, always ready to strike up a conversation, esp. when she’s at a new pool.
“Yes. She’s had a very rough week and she needs to swim, but it’s hard.”
PP nods at this same theme of swimming as the cure for all that ails one. But it is true. It’s even worth giving up lunch for. Even for those who might not ordinarily want to.

“You have a nice weekend,” the goddess smiles mysteriously over at PP.
“Yes, thanks, you too. It’s a beautiful day for a swim.”
“That it is. Though I’m wondering what’s going on. I think Al Gore is right.”
PP nods. She’s all for global warming if it means not being cold in the pool!

And she wasn’t. This had been stopping her with the Campbell pool. Every evening when she left the WWU annex and walked by the pool in the cold and dark, it looked so daunting. The water a dark and uninviting ripply wetness in the night. Brrr……

So, today, with the sun and the warmth and the blue turqoisy water and the friendly chatting swimmers doing sidestroke while holding onto kickboards, PP thought, this is the best decision she’s made in ages. Now if she just doesn’t get in trouble at WWU for going swimming!

This did vaguely worry her, even though she was entitled to a lunch break. But still…what if someone discovered that she’d gone swimming instead of eating?

Like anyone would care! And when, after showering and packing up and rushing back to the geo after the swim, relaxed and happy and wet, PP heard a familiar voice behind her walking out of the locker room and turned to see one of her students smiling shyly as PP held the door open for her.

“Is that Simone?” PP asked, delighted to see her.
“Carol?”
”Yeah, are you a swimmer?”
”No, not really…..but I see you are. You have all of your equipment.”
Giggling, PP shook her head. “Oh, yeah, I’m obsessed. But so nice to see you. Did you get my messages about making another appt to talk about your writing?”
”No, I am so sorry. I was out of town and did not use the email. But I have to tell you Carol what a tremendous help you were with my papers and even now with my process I really feel so much more confident about my writing!” Simone gushed and then looked away shyly, suddenly breathless.
“Oh, it’s my pleasure. And look,” PP grinned, “here I am at the Pool talking about writing! What could be better?”

Simone smiled and then gave a shy wave. “You have a nice weekend, Carol. I will make another appt soon.”
”Yes, great. I’ll look forward to it,” PP waved to her.

And as she headed out of the Campbell Pool Compound, the water walking ladies now in the pool bobbing up and down to Donna Summer, PP had to think again how the pool is where everything happened, even writing talk with students when one least expects it.

So. She’d finally had her swim at the Campbell Pool. And it had been perfect.
Now on to that other pool she’s been fantasizing about for years.

The Palace Hotel.

Wonder who she’ll meet there?

Only time, and Kismet, will tell!




Oh my God! The Campbell Inn has a pool!
The Fantasy grows!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Blame It on the Time Change



ARRRGGGGHHH!!!
What the hell is up with the YMCA tonight? Is there such a thing as Organized Anarchy?

Trying not to drown in the washing machine wakes of a gazillion circle swimmers was not PP’s idea of a swim. And after she’d just been going on and on to her friend MC while walking round Lake Merritt about how restorative swimming was.

“Sometimes I get outta Therapy and I’m so wrung out, I wonder what the hell is that all about? Like I’m more depressed after Therapy than before it,” MC had lamented as they turned the corner next to Children’s Fairy Land, making there way back toward the Bird Sanctuary on the West side of the Lake.

PP had nodded, knowing exactly what MC was talking about. What was it about Therapy that made you feel worse?

Hell, swimming never did that. Unless, you timed it wrong. Like on aMonday night at 6 p.m. when all the after work swimmers were pouring into your lane causing circle swim overload.

PP hates circle swimming. It just sucks. It can work out for a little while if everyone is the same speed, but this happens so rarely at the YMCA. No one is the same speed. Or no one is PP’s speed, which is all that matters!

Do you wanna hear all the gory details? Of course you do. When first PP arrived, it was manageable. 2 to a lane. One lane had 3 swimmers that seemed to be calmly circle swimming. PP had sighed. Damn. Circle swimming. But oh well, she just wanted a short swim having already walked the Lake with MC. Choosing a two person lane, PP set her fins, kickboard and pull buoy on the deck, preparing to get into the water. Lucky for her, Tattoo Lion Woman was on her way out. Stretching a cramp out at the side.

“You can have my lane,” TLW had smiled warmly, nodding.
“Thanks.” PP dipped a toe in. “Damn! It feels cold!”
“Yeah….it is a little. I think that’s why I got this cramp. Oh, and I don’t spend enough time stretching.”
“Me neither.”
PP never stretched. Didn’t usually get cramps either. Had never thought of the two being connected. Thought that cramps were from some sort of vitamin or mineral deficiency. Not enough magnesium or calcium. But maybe cramps were from not stretching for some swimmers. LTW sounded like she knew what she was talking about.

Admiring, LTW’s roaring lion arm tattoo, PP hopped in as the splashy mid-aged African American Guy stopped at the wall. Usually PP woulda said hello, but he didn’t even glance up at her. Deep in the exhaustion zone.

They shared a lane for 20 minutes or so, side by side, but actually Splashy AAG took up most of the lane. PP hated this. Why can’t swimmers stay on their own side? Good thing she was small. She could squeeze by them most of the time, though once in awhile there was some leg bonking.

Then the Anarchy started. 6 p.m. PP watched as swimmers poured outta the locker rooms and piled into the crowded pool. It didn’t take much to make the pool crowded. 5 lanes, with 10 people could suddenly become 5 lanes with 20 people and then watch out. It was crash city!

PP stuck with her circle swimming for a while. But it was an ordeal, esp. when the two Asian kids got in her lane, and hell, they were not swimmers! Standing in the middle of the lane, laughing, then jumping around while PP and the other swimmers tried to keep doing their laps. Finally, PP had had enough even though no way had she even done 2000 yards.

Oh, well, the hot tub was really why she’d come. The walk round the lake had been chilly and cold. Achy. PP was not ready to be cold for 6 months. How could it be that she lived in California and she was still cold all the time?

Blame it on the cancer. No sun anymore. This did impact her mightily. But, tonight at least after the circle swim mayhem she could escape to the hot tub.

Hot tub therapy. It always worked.

And it did. PP eased into the warm bubbles and closed her eyes. Ahhhh….

This was the life. Another woman got in with dangly earrings and serious gentle bouncing at the jets. What’s that about, PP wondered? Did she have those Benji balls inside her and when she gently bounced up and down it felt good? No Benji was a dog in those obnoxious Disney movies.

Well, you know what she means. And PP liked this thought that Dangly Earring Woman was gently getting off in the Hot Tub right there in front of PP.

The thoughts that occur to one in the hot tub.

Later DEW was in the hair dryer section applying her makeup and PP had smiled at her, asking her if she’d been in the pool with all the anarchy. DEW had given her a gentle and firm smile,” No, I just go in the pool once in awhile to cool off.”
“Oh, what do you do?”
“I do half hour on the bikes, half hour on the tread mill, then 45 minutes doing all the light weights.”
”Wow!”
“Yeah, I do a lot.”
“I’d say so.” PP had gushed. “I was thinking how I need to try to do the weights more, but it’s such a time issue.”
“You really should. At your age, and with your frame. You’re so petite. I wish I had your body. Your body is my Fantasy.”
PP had to grin, wondering if DEW had been fantasizing about her body when she was doing the Benji Bounces in the hot tub.
She’d giggled, slightly embarrassed now. But also flattered. “Must be all the swimming I do.”
“My name’s Lydia. If you’re ever up there doing the weights and need someone to show you, just ask. Though I’m no expert.”
“Cool. Thanks. I will.”
DEW had nodded mysteriously, applying eyeliner to her dark brows. PP eyed her for a moment. She was definitely attractive in that dark, buxom Italian sort of way, with her long black hair, pale soft skin and piercing eyes.
“Well, you’re lucky you didn’t try to swim tonight,” PP had continued, trying to not to stare at the make-up application. “It was total Pandemonium in there. I don’t know what was up.”
“It’s the Time Change,” DEW had asserted. “It takes awhile to get used to.”
”Ah, yes, could be. I hadn’t thought of that. It certainly is very disorienting.” PP liked this analysis, even though it didn’t really make any sense. Why the hell would the Time Change have anything to do with all the swimmers converging on the lap lanes simultaneously?

But blaming the Time Change for all ills worked for PP. At least for week or so.
Then she’d hafta find something else to blame.
.
Other than herself, of course.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ghost Woman

She felt her before she saw her. Heard her. A chilling voice echoing in the darkness. Words indecipherable. A form unseen for moments.

Spacey. Hungry. Relaxed. PP ambled down the steps of the YMCA toward Broadway. Not really paying attention to her surroundings. It was early. Only 7:30 or 8:00 pm, yet it was dark. Cold. Windy out.

And there She was. Appearing out of nowhere. Or so it seemed. Completely startling PP out of her spacey reverie, she stared up at PP, her gnarled, wrinkly dark face targeting PP as she stepped down the stairs.

Stopping PP in her tracks. Chills running up and down her spine. Heart racing. Mind suddenly alert and on guard. Cliché, but true-- all of a sudden PP was on High Alert.

Calling up to PP, the slight woman stood staring her down as PP stood still, poised at the top of the stairs. What was she saying? Where had she come from? PP glanced around. No one else was on the street at the moment. Of course. The Y was bustling inside with the pool filled to overflowing, swim team, swim lessons, mighty splashers, ample walkers.

Where were they all now?

Not on their way out, that much was clear as the stare down continued.
“You don’t need to be scared,” Ghost Woman crooned.
But PP was. Why, she wasn’t quite sure. It wasn’t like GW could hurt her. Not really. She was so small. So slight. And alone.

Unless she had a weapon. A gun. Or a knife or some backup accomplice. Sadly,this is immediately where PP’s mind went. How vulnerable she was.Herself a lone woman. On a dark street. Loaded down with wet swimming gear and a pair of fins.

Hell, she could brain GW with the fins and run if worse came to worse, right?
Yet, GW, standing still as could be in the windy dark, didn’t seem to pose a threat to her physically. So why was PP so scared?

Because scared she was. And GW knew it. “You don’t hafta be scared,” she repeated, eyeing her coolly. Her eyes riveted on PP as she stood frozen on the steps of the Y.

“What do you want?” PP asked, finding her voice, thinking how she could just go back into the warm lobby of the Y with the chatting laughing clerks and brightly lit orange pumpkin displays.
“Anything you can spare,” GW answered, standing her ground.
“I don’t think I have anything…….” PP answered, thinking how if she started to shuffle through her wallet, she’d be even more vulnerable. GW could send her accomplice up to mug her in an instant. But yet…..there was something very powerful about GW. Something utterly commanding. PP felt like she had to obey. She was under her spell.

Quickly, PP dug into her bag, retrieving her Hello Kitty wallet, trying to find a dollar. 10’s. 20’s. 5’s. Shit. PP usually had nothing but 1’s. But not tonight as she continued to nervously search through the crumpled bills. Aha! A dollar! Pulling it out, PP headed down the stairs, handing the bill to GW who took it with quiet dignity. For a moment neither spoke, as PP turned and quickly headed down Broadway. A dad and his little girl ahead of her now, the child laughing and skipping as she recounted her swim lesson.

“God bless you,” GW murmured, taking the dollar.
“You take care….” PP answered, sighing deeply, hurrying to follow the dad and his skipping daughter, crossing Broadway quickly to get into the Geo.

Unlocking the car, tossing her gym bag behind the front seat, PP climbed into the safety of the car. Shaking her head, she thought about how very lucky she was.That she had a warm, working car. A cozy apartment. Food and cats and friends and family.

What was that saying, “But for the Grace of God, go I?”

Turning on the ignition, backing out of the parking place, PP wondered why she’d been so scared. Was it just that she’d been startled? Or that it was so dark and she was so alone, so vulnerable?

And yet, when she thought about it, she’d never been in any real danger. The YMCA lobby was just in back of her. She hadn’t even walked down the steps yet. There were people around. The street was well lit.

GW was simply a poor sad beggar trying to survive.

Yet her eerie appearance. Her ghostly voice echoing up the steps. Her still stare at PP as she’d searched for the money.

It was as if she’d been some sort of witch. Some one from another world come to prey upon unsuspecting spaced-out swimmers. A spell had been cast upon PP and she’d succumbed.

If only for a moment.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Coolest of the Cool

She was the type that PP has always felt intimidated by. You know her. Weird colored hair. (Hot pink in this case) Lots of intricate tattoos. (Hissing snakes and intricate Celtic designs adorned her arms, legs, and back) an aura of coolness that permeates from every pore in her porcelain white skin. She works for some groovy Bay Area non-profit and hits the YMCA on her lunch break between hot quickies with her equally cool girlfriend.

How do some people do it? PP wonders to herself. Maintain that Bay Area Chic Coolness all day, every day? It must take a lot of work! But then again, probably not. It’s just who she is at this point. She probably doesn’t even think about the black fishnet stockings, silly (but on her cool) black leatherette knee high boots and catholic school girl pleated skirt topped off by a very non-catholic school girl spandex black t-shirt.

So, when Miss Coolness turned to PP with a shy, apologetic smile, PP was secretly thrilled. She could do this. Pretend to converse with a cool young hipster.

“Excuse, me…..sorry to bother you….” MC seemed nervous, so unlike her outer self.
PP smiled encouragingly, not saying anything yet.
“But… do you have a tampon?”
AHA! Even Coolsters bleed! What a relief! For some reason, periods are decidedly un-cool. At least PP’s always had been. What with the pain and….okay, no reason to go into all the gory details right now.

PP shook her head, “No, I’m sorry. But that Time is long gone for me.”
“LUCKY YOU!” Miss Coolster had nodded, envy creeping out in her tone. And PP had to admit that, yes, she was lucky to not have to endure this heinous cycle of womanhood anymore. She remembered what a huge big deal this had been at 14 when she’d wanted to go swimming. The tampon thing had been almost as intimidating as Miss Cool. She remembered her best friend, Lani Aldrich, trying to convince her that using a tampon wasn’t that hard. Sure it was gross at first, but if she could just get herself to do it, then she could go SWIMMING!

This had been hugely traumatic for PP. Not being able to swim because of her goddamn period and those goddamn pads with all the belts and little metal hinges that never seemed to work to hold the belts that held the pads that kept her from swimming. For of course, she couldn’t go in the pool during her period as long as she couldn’t get the Tampon Thing down and even with Lani Aldrich standing outside the bathroom door, coaching her through the process, it took her almost all summer before she mastered the goddamn little cotton cigars to the degree that she felt comfortable swimming. Lord knows she didn’t want the humiliation of It falling out in the pool.

Imagine!

So today, at the YMCA, when Miss Coolness needed a tampon so she could work out (“I had no idea It was gonna start today. And here I am all the way down here ready to workout and I go to the bathroom and shit there IT is….”), PP nodded in sympathy.
“I think I saw a machine around here somewhere.”
”Really?” Miss Coolness brightened slightly.
“Yeah….” PP pulled on her suit and marched over to the first row of sinks with all the hair dryers lining the mirrored wall. No machine here. Ummm…she knew that she’d seen one. Though it wasn’t surprising that it hadn’t been etched in her memory too well given her lack of necessity for one. Frowning, PP headed round the corner to the first row of bathroom stalls, and Voila! There was a machine here, mounted on the wall in all it’s silver glory, little pictures of tampons and pads etched in black and the slots for 25 cents.

“There is a machine over here!” PP called out enthusiastically, pleased that she could be of some small assistance to one So Cool.
“I gotta OB Tampon if you want,” came wafting over the lockers at PP and Miss Cool, who stopped mid-search for a quarter as one of the amble African American women emerged with The Solution.
“Wow. Thanks!” Miss Cool murmured as PP grinned. If you talk loudly enough about anything in the women’s locker room, help will arrive, esp. if it’s anything to do with periods or menopause. Women do bond on these two heinous realities of being female. For many years, PP wondered what it woulda been like to be a man and not have these intense bodily functions to contend with every month or every day. Must be very freeing is all she could think. Yet men wouldn’t know any differently. They don’t have periods. They don’t have menopause. If ‘They’re 32 they’ll look 32, 8 years before they’re 32 and 8 years after 32 as Bette Davis says in All About Eve, “I HATE MEN!”





There’s a nice tangent for you. But Bette was right. Men do have it easier in the aging department, and maybe this is cuz they don’t have periods. All that monthly loss wears women out. Though as Dashingly Handsome Boyfriend always likes to point out to PP whenever she bring up Women's Body Issues, “Women do out live men,” which she had to concede was true. But still…..

“Some people, they don’t like to use the OB tampons, but I found that they work better than the other kinds.” African American Tampon Woman asserted. To which Miss Cool murmured some quiet response, ready to just get the Tampon Thing done and get to her workout before she met her girlfriend for band practice at some ultra-groovy renovated loft in Downtown Oakland.

Back to being cool now, she disappeared into the bathroom as PP headed off for the pool, glad that her Tampon days were over, but also happy that in some small way, she’d helped.

And Bette Davis? How would she have helped in such a situation? PP giggled to herself. Not only would Bette Davis never deign to workout at some disgusting, smelly gym, but lord knows, if there’d been tampons back then?

Bette would never have been caught without one!

Now there’s Cool for you!

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Pool Plot for the Palace Hotel




So PP got to thinking about this supposed policy she has about swimming in every pool that she discovers and you know what? It’s just not so. However, she can only think of one pool that she’s discovered that she hasn’t (yet!) swam in.

The pool at the Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco.
Did you even know there was a pool in that fabulous old establishment?
Well, there is.

PP had discovered it one evening after drinks in the bar of the hotel with a colleague at FFU.
“Hey,” KP had exclaimed after a couple glasses of Pinot Grigio. “Have you seen the pool here?”
PP almost spit out her Cabernet Franc. “There’s a POOL here?”
“Yup. Wanna see it?”
“Are you kidding? Of course.”

And so, KP had gulped down her wine, paid the bill and off she led PP to the 4th floor, easy as you please. Like she owned the place. (Or the Palace.) PP really admires her friends that can do this. Waltz into any establishment, money and reservations aside, and act like they belong. No one questions them. Just cuz of their je ne sais quoi.

PP, on the other hand, while she has on occasion done this (sneaking into the Newport Beach Tennis Club Pool for example. But then, she was 16, very tan, blonde, in tennis togs—she could ‘pass’ for a member. Even back then, she was completely pool driven—so when she walked into the clubhouse lobby, smiled and grabbed a couple towels with a cheery ‘Hello’ to the handsome tennis instructor behind the counter—he just gave her a sexy grin and waved her in. No questions asked.)


Whereas here at the Palace Hotel?
PP definitely felt like a fish outta water!

It was so old money. All the chandeliers that would be laughable if it weren’t for the 1930’s art deco ceilings. All the long quiet corridors leading to lavish rooms where affairs of intrigue and high finance were going on behind closed doors.

PP didn’t belong at the Palace Hotel.
Unless of course she were in the pool. And after their ride up the gold-mirrored elevator and meander down the long carpeted corridor, upon first sight, she belonged in That Water.

“Cool, eh?” KP had sighed as they both stood outside in the hall gazing longingly at the utterly charming little pool, with white columns, turquoise blue fancy tiles, and a totally William Randolph Hearst feel to add to the enchantment of such a discovery. Who knew there was a pool here? Buried in the catacombs up here on the 4th floor right above San Francisco’s bustling downtown Montgomery Street arena?

PP had sighed. “I’ve got to swim here!”
KP had nodded. “Of course. Let’s see….” She glanced around at the empty hall except for the front desk guarded by a Serious Filipino Woman folding towels.
“Excuse, me,” KP had marched up to SFW, her tone easy and confident. “We just want to swim in the pool. Is there a day pass or some other way we can just go for a swim without being guests here at the hotel?”
SFW gave her an Evil Look. Why PP didn’t know. Was their request that outlandish? Didn’t swimmers come from far and near to swim at the hidden pool of the Palace Hotel?
Evidently not, as evidenced by both SFW’s glare and the lack of swimmers actually using the pool. (One lone businessman, on his cell phone, was lying on a lounge chair; a woman treading water in a floral cap was in the far corner of the pool.) No one else was anywhere. Wouldn’t you think that their request to partake of a swim would be welcomed?”

“You can pay for Spa Day,” SFW grunted.
“Great!” KP had grinned, winking at PP. “How much is that?”
”$99.”
“$99???” KP had scoffed. “My, that must be some spa day. Do you have a brochure?”
SFW reached under the counter, continuing her glare as she handed KP the brochures.
“Isn’t there a way we can just pay to swim?” PP asked. Hell if she was gonna pay $99 for a spa day. The pool was stupendous, but she drew the line at paying nearly a hundred bucks to swim!
“Spa day. Only way,” SFW turned, reaching for another stack of towels.
“Unless, of course, we were guests here!” KP announced cheerily.
SFW nodded, not even looking at them. She knew they weren’t guests! She could smell the lack of wealth and power and see the Bohemian Professor drunkenness in an instant. PP thought about how there was no way in hell they were gonna be able to sneak past her like she did at the Newport Beach Tennis Club.

And, so, KP had led her away from the pool, chatting breezily about how sometimes she and her husband stay at the Palace Hotel and so maybe they could arrange a guest swim. PP sighed inwardly, knowing this would never really happen. Why she couldn’t say for sure, but she’d been right. She hasn’t heard from KP for months now, and so another plot must be hatched if her mission to swim in every pool she discovers is to be realized.

Driving the Lovely I to Mills on Sunday, PP had mentioned this Mission and of course, the Lovely I had been intrigued. They’d been talking about the new Pool in Campbell that PP had discovered last week, and the Lovely I had nodded when PP said that she just had to swim, but didn’t know when what with her schedule and all.

“Of course, you must swim there,” the Lovely I had asserted. “That goes without saying. Why not swim at Lunch time?”
PP soaked this suggestion in. Sure, Lunch could work if she got there early and swam for a short time—after all the writing center at WWU was only 100 feet away. Maybe this would work.

But the Palace Hotel Pool? PP told the Lovely I about this one. “And so, I thought that I’d swam in every pool I’ve discovered but then I remembered this pool and damn! I haven’t swam there and I need to figure out how.”
Lovely I had nodded seriously. “Yes, I see your dilemma. The $99 Spa Day does seem exorbitant for a swim. Even for you!”
Giggling, PP turned left into the Mills Campus. “I did have this fantasy that I could just go the Palace Hotel Bar and pick up some rich smarmy businessman who’s only staying the night and telling him that I need a swim before we can have sex and then after my swim, just ditching him.”

The Lovely I let out a long series of “Hee heee heeees!”
“That’s a fantastic idea! You are so funny!”
PP nodded, laughing along with the Lovely I, always delighted by her enthusiastic giggles.

But could she really go through with it? It wasn’t like she was 16 anymore. Maybe the smarmy businessman wouldn’t go for her. Or maybe he’d just want sex first and then let her swim….

Umm….for a moment PP considered this aspect of the fantasy. Would the swim in the Palace Hotel be worth such a sacrifice?

Grinning, PP parked the car and turned off the engine, glancing around for her fins and Hello Kitty Kickboard.

Maybe, just maybe, if the smarmy businessman were cute.

Then such a sacrifice could be made.

All in the name of swimming.
Of course!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Campbell is a'Callin!


The excitement is building, but will PP have the energy to swim after her long day at WWU?

She does have this policy to swim at every pool she discovers even if it means only once. Sometimes, once is enough. (Remember the Heinous Unpleasant Hill YMCA?)

~Stay tuned for her swim at the Campbell Community Center POOL!~

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Custard and Hearts


She smiles at PP from across the gym. PP’s in the hot tub. She’s getting undressed at the lockers directly in front of the tub. The smile is shy, yet familiar. PP thinks, do I know her? Perhaps. PP chats with lots of women here at the Oakland Y, and while this ample
African American Woman in her sexy lacy black bikini ensemble doesn’t upon first glance, seem familiar, you never know. Could be that PP’s smiled at her in the pool, or here in the hot tub or in the dark hot confines of the sauna.

Sometimes it’s just hard to keep track of all the people that she kinda knows. And at the Y, post swim, blissfully soaking in the hot tub, it’s even harder.

PP closes her eyes and drifts off into Hot Tub space-out land. Ahhhh……till she feels the Presence next to her. Opens her eyes, and yes, it’s She—Smiling Woman from across the way, now seated next to her in the tub, her own bliss oozing out of her in a happy grin.

“It feels so gooood,” she sighs, giving PP another shy smile.
“Oh, yeah,” PP agrees, not really encouraging chat, but then maybe a good story is in the offing.
“Yeah, it does. Especially after working out upstairs for over an hour. Whew!”
PP nods, eyeing her ample expanse. She’s strong and round all at the same time. Well over twice PP’s size, she’d guess. With soft folds up and down her arms, legs, and waist. But she does have a waist, most definitely. Lots and lots of curves, this Smiling Woman has.

“What do you do upstairs?” PP asks, now intrigued. She can smell a story, even over the hot tub chemicals.
“I used to do the weights. But I don’t much do them anymore. Today I did the treadmill. For over an hour!” Pleased, she chuckles to herself.
“Wow!” PP enthuses. “That’s fantastic! Good for you!!” It is actually very impressive. Must be so hard to keep the mass of weight she has moving for an hour. PP thinks it’s hard enough for herself, let alone if she had to haul around twice her weight. She knows this must be why so many of the Y’s ample women swim. The water is so buoyant and supportive. Unlike the damn machines upstairs with their heavy clanking and confusing apparatuses screaming at you to keep it up!

“Yeah, I still got a ways to go, but I’m down to 260 now from over 300 and it’s a challenge. Esp. as I’ve really got a Sweet Tooth. Ummm….ummm…I just love that Custard. Give me anything with custard and I just cannot refuse.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. Chocolate is my weakness.”
”That too!” She chuckles heartily, nodding in firm agreement. “But you know, I found out from some alternative medicines that if you just eat a bit of Cayenne Pepper, it will take away that chocolate craving.”
”Really?”
”Mmmm….mmm…” SW nods emphatically. “Who knew that a little Cayenne, Cayenne I tell you, could do that?”
”I never knew.”
“Me neither. And there’s others too that will take that Sweet Craving away, like cinnamon and oh I forget what else!” SW laughs heartily. It’s all so silly. Imagine taking away Sugar Cravings with Cayenne Pepper. How the hell does that even work? PP wonders. Do you, instead of opening up that box of Oreos, take out the bottle of Cayenne and shake a bit onto a spoon and swallow it down? Hell, that would take away any and all cravings for anything, sugar not withstanding, if you survived the Heat of it.
“But the fact that I’m a Pastry Chef does complicate Matters,” SW continues.
Delighted, PP glances over at her. A Pastry Chef? Hell, no kidding that would complicate matters! “A Pastry Chef? Wow! What a wonderful thing!”
“It is and it isn’t.”
“Yeah, I can see what you mean.”
“Cream puffs, chocolate and like I said, custard anything with custard and I just have zero willpower.”
PP nods. Maybe a Pastry Chef isn’t the best occupation for SW? But who knows. Could be that she was a more normal weight before she became a pastry chef. Though somehow PP doubts this.

“My doctor says the Cayenne can help with my cholesterol and all. Lord knows, I don’t wanna become Type II Diabetic. That’s for sure.” She chuckles, but PP can sense an underlying fear, which must be very real indeed. Not knowing anything about diabetes, thankfully this isn’t one of PP’s health issues, she knows very little about it, other than it can be debilitating and even deadly. But mostly, PP thinks it means No Sugar. She remembers a coworker of hers at the bookstore who was diabetic and would bring in candy for the staff. One day, PP was hanging out with her, munching down See’s Chocolates when A said, “Please. Eat up! My mom keeps sending me these chocolates even though she knows I’m diabetic. I think she’s trying to kill me.”
PP had laughed at the morbid humor of it at the time, but then worried that in fact A’s mom was trying to kill her. A did seem like a nice enough person, though a bit off. So it wasn’t completely out of the realm of possibility that her mom was trying to kill her with chocolate. Thank goodness PP had been there to save A!

SW sighed deeply, beginning to move around in the tub. “I got to get me a swim suit,” she announced. “But can’t find one that fits.”
“Isn’t that one you have on?” PP asked, knowing that it probably was a bra and panties set but still, it was black.
SW chuckled. “This? No. This is my underwear. I tell you about these panties though. With the little red heart on them?”
PP nodded. She’d noticed some red color on SW’s triangle area, but hadn’t picked out the shape of a heart.



“Cuz I really like hearts. Hearts are my thing. But I had these panties for years in my drawer and I didn’t wear them cuz I thought they were too small but then the other day I pulled them out and said to myself, girl you losing weight, give ‘em a try, and you know what? They fit!” She giggled shyly at PP who wondered vaguely about why she was getting the low-down on the panties at such length? Maybe SW had a crush on PP? She hadn’t thought of this at the time, but could be. Or more likely, SW was just pleased as punch at her weight loss and wanted to share her new pantie freedom. This was more likely.
Grinning, PP started to make her way out of the tub. “Well, I think you could get away with wearing those in the pool. No one would know they were panties.”
“You think so? Maybe….”
PP floated past her toward the stairs, “It’s been really nice chatting with you.”
“You too, Baby. Take care. I gotta go get me some steam now.”

Grinning, PP headed for the sauna. The steam room scared her. Too much Hot Fog. But maybe if SW was gonna be in there? More stories might unfold?

Nah, she had enough material for today. Shaking her wet hair out, PP grabbed a towel and made her way into the soothing dry heat of the woodsy sauna, her craving for chocolate hitting her hard as she settled down on the toasty wooden bench.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Baboons, Menopause, and Antidepressants


“They say that we’re more like Chimpanzees than Gorillas,” New York Times Guy (PP will make it clear why he’s called this later on) nodded, serious and informed. PP sinks into the hot tub, grinning mightily. This is gonna be good! While she enjoys the Women Only Hot Tub Talk at the Y, these Mills College Guy Talks are definitely missed. Esp. when the Guys are talking about Chimps and Gorillas.

“Why is that?” Dashingly Handsome Boyfriend asks, completely serious.
Guys. Apes. It’s Manly Hot Tub Talk. (Though Guys at Mills College hits her a bit strangely still even though they have been around the campus for years now.)

Out of the corner of her eye, PP spies AO, locally (maybe internationally?) famous Jazz Pianist, dipping into the tub right as NYTG makes his Gorilla Assertion. PP can’t look at AO. For some reason, she thinks he’s laughing. But this could just be her projection; he’s probably just nodding in Serious Guy Bonding Unison.

NYTG thinks for a moment about DHBF’s question, then plows on. “It’s cuz Chimpanzees will swim. Gorillas won’t. So since we swim, and granted we don’t really belong in the water, and neither do the Chimps, but we both can swim. Not the Gorillas.”

DHBF nods. Mulling this one over, but before he can respond, NYTG continues. “And this other article, also in the New York Times Tuesday Science Section, talked about how Baboons are helping Menopausal Women with their depression and instead of taking anti-depressants, the Baboons will….’

Wait a minute. PP got that dialogue wrong. But she had ya going there, right? Were you all gonna run out and buy the next Tuesday NYT to read about Bestiality and Menopausal women?

Here’s more like how the dialogue went, though still could be slightly off, knowing PP. “Baboons, unlike some other apes, will also swim, but they like to swim in groups. Safety in numbers they say.”

PP still can’t remember how the menopausal depression connects to the baboons. Sorry. Maybe if she keeps writing it’ll come to her? She does remember asking about the baboons, even though she’s always thought baboons were completely gross and slutty with their bright red bare asses in your face on Wild Kingdom.

Disgusting.




Maybe that’s why menopausal women all have to take antidepressants? They’re all of the generation that watched Wild Kingdom as girls and those disgusting Baboon Butts are buried deep within their psyches causing untoward subconscious images of horror and shame.

Hence the only answer is tons of Well-Butrin.

“I have this friend that buys the Tuesday NYT for just that reason!” AO pipes in.

PP glances up at AO. His friend buys the NYT to read about Baboons? Is this the purpose of such an erudite publication? PP hadn't thought so, but hell, you learn a lot in the hot tub.

But for her, she's never gotten the Big Deal about the goddamn NYT. She's just not impressed. Maybe cuz she’s from LA. Maybe cuz she’s Blonde. Maybe cuz she’d just rather not read all that teeny tiny print about Baboons! In any case, NYTG is always quoting the NYT like he’s some impressive intellectual, which obviously he’s not or he wouldn’t be in the Hot Tub talking about apes, but would be spouting off about Plato or Wittgenstein, or who the hell else do Intellectuals spout off about?

PP has no clue since all the intellectuals she hangs out with are poets or teachers and all they talk about is food and cats.

Giggling to herself, PP glances around the tub. Pretty African American Orange Bikini girl, Silent Macho Hot Tub Man. Both completely ignoring the Baboon talk.
Or not?
PP thinks she detects a sly smile on SMHTM's mug. He's listening. Recording?
Hell, PP thinks she ought to add a woman's perspective here.

“Maybe all the menopausal women are taking Antidepressants cuz their husbands or boyfriends or whatever remind them of baboons!” PP announces into the Hot Tub Air.

The men all look anywhere but at her. Silence. PP starts to giggle. “I was just kidding you guys.”

They shift around, eye each other sideways, still not answering her.

PP laughs. Sinks into the bubbly watery warmth.

Men. They may not be baboons, but they still can drive a girl to drink and drugs.

Women, on the other hand……

Orange Bikini Girl glances up from her book, gives PP a sly smile, before standing, stretching and climbing out of the tub.

Delighted, PP watches her saunter sexy across the deck.

Women. Definitely not Baboons, as PP watches her open the door to the locker room and disappear into its showery steam.