Tuesday, March 20, 2007


“I was so nervous about today. When I woke up. I just had to cry.”
PP nods. She can see the Lovely I’s nervousness in her face, her posture, as she perches there on the lovely couch watching as her Fix-It GF fiddles with the wheelchair. This isn’t helping matters. PP was a little nervous too, but was trying not to let on. The wheelchair was daunting. Why is that? PP had a little experience with wheelchairs. Or she thought she did. Had some vague memory of her Aunt Nancy in a wheelchair. But then. Had PP ever really wheeled Nancy around?

PP thinks not. Doesn’t mention this to the Lovely I, but instead says how she knows about wheelchairs. Not to worry. All would be fine.
But yet…..

“Let me try something else…” Fix-it GF marches into the other room and returns with a hammer and a cloth, places the cloth over one of the wheelchair’s arms and starts bangin on it with the hammer.

“That doesn’t look like such a good idea,” the Lovely I interrupts, “we don’t want to destroy the Rental Wheelchair and then have them charge us a gazillion dollars for it.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right. Here, lemme try this.”FIGF kneels and starts fiddling with the ‘pin’ in the arm thingee again. PP can’t tell what the hell she’s even tryin to fix. It looks fine to her. But then, she’s not really looking at it that closely, but instead is trying not to watch the worry grow on the Lovely I’s lovely face.

Damn! Had PP made a mistake offering to take I to her Water Therapy out at Albany Pool? After her conversation the night before with her mom about how much the Lovely I would need water therapy, PP had thought, of course, she’s swimming kitty! It’s her job to help with the water end of her recovery. Who else? And when the Lovely I had told her the day before how PP had been the only person she’d seen after she’d hurt her hand the year before cuz PP had taken her to the pool, PP had thought. Yes! Now that I had been thrown from her horse and broken her pelvis, can you even imagine? PP thinks: Yes. Water therapy. Swimming kitty.
It’s a match.

But now?

“There we go! That should do it!” FIGF announces, rising and glancing around the cluttered living room. “Where’s the legs?”

PP swallows hard. What the hell had she gotten herself into? Now she had to learn how to put on the legs of the wheelchair? Oh, but this she could do, as FIGF shows her and PP tries it. Gets it after only a couple tries.

Now to get the wheelchair into the Geo. FIGF rolls the Lovely I down to the car and gets her in to the front seat, then lets PP fold up the wheelchair. (PP had learned this too) Then PP heaves it into the hatchback of the Geo with only a little awkwardness. There. That wasn’t so bad ! Finally! They were off!

Whew! In the car with the Lovely I on the way to a pool seemed so natural. PP was starting to relax as I started to narrate a story about a friend who was worse off than her, had broken her leg, gotten a surgery, they’d done the surgery wrong. Had the leg broken and resurged. Shit. It did sound worse than the Lovely I’s scenario. At least she hadn’t had any surgery or had to stay in the wretched Kaiser like PP had after her surgery….
But that’s another story.

“And Delia didn’t have anyone when she went thro all that pain and surgeries. So when I called her this morning for my pep talk, she said, ‘You know, I, you’re gonna get better. It’s a temporary thing. You will heal.”

And this had helped. We both agreed that the Lovely I would be better soon.

Especially after her Water Therapy!

Safely inside the Albany Pool after negotiating the high schoolers’ basketball frenzy, PP sighs happily. The pool. She always feels safe around pools, no matter what the circumstances. And the fact that no basketballs brained the Lovely I on the way into the pool and PP had even gotten one of the bored teens to hold the door open for them while he was unwrapping his ham sandwich –those teens, they’re so good at multitasking—well, the BLUENESS of the Albany Pool was so welcoming.

And what a scene! Bobbing shower caps abounded. Yellow, green, blue ‘noodles’ surronding them. All kinds of ‘equipments’ for Therapy! And everyone was smiling!
Water Therapy was the ticket to Bliss. That was for sure.

So, when the Lovely I got strapped into the Water Insert Chair, PP was momentarily distracted by all the activity. Besides, I was safely in the hands of one of the Therapists, who was there working the water chair along with the handsome lifeguard.

And then!

Oh, no!

PP glances down and the Lovely I is crying!
What the hell happened?

The Therapist has her in the pool now and is gently talking to her, but PP can’t hear what she’s saying. Something happened with the goddamn chair that hurt the Lovely I’s pelvis!


PP sticks out her tongue at the Evil Chair. Makes a face. Hissssss!
The Lovely I sees this and starts laughing.
Thank heavens!
“Oh, she’s making me laugh,” the Lovely I exclaims thro her tears. “That’s good.”
And the Therapist glances up at PP and nods, smiling gently.
PP grins. Shouts out, “Bad Chair!”
And with the Lovely I’s giggles, the Therapist pulls her into the beautiful blue safety of the pool.

All would be fine now, PP thinks as she watches the Lovely I stand and make her way across the pool, between the chatting Floral Woman and handsome floating man and purple parachute guy who slinks by Chatty Chinese woman, “You catch anything yet with that Thing,” she calls out.
“I caught you!” he hollers back as he tosses the purple parachute onto the deck, Chatty Chinese Woman’s chuckles cascading around the chlorinated atmosphere.

Yup, PP thinks, it’s all gonna be just fine as she settles into the Lovely I’s wheelchair to watch the show.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Who Needs A Lock Cut?

It had seemed like a most uneventful day at the Y. No stories. Well, unless you count the move the passel of screeching ball throwing kids to the other side of the pool a story. PP had walked into the pool area and the kids’ play section was on the opposite side of its usual spot. The left instead of the right. Or was it the right instead of the left?
Whatever. It was a little discombobulating to PP having the kids shrieking on the wrong side of the pool, but there weren’t a lot of lap swimmers. Only one per lane.
But which lane to choose.
Hairy Back Man swimming in the most clomping fashion down the center of HIS Lane?
Or Mr. Speedy Man with the butterfly and flip turns and thus, lots of male water displacement energy?
Or Side-Stroking Asian Woman zigzagging along at a snail’s pace?
PP opted for SSAW. It was ok for a few laps, but then since SSAW was zigzagging up a storm, PP did get kicked. Not hard. After all SSAW was doing sidestroke. But getting kicked is always a bit disconcerting….so PP had moved to the next lane over that had just emptied out. HBM was pooped. Sitting slumped over on the side of the pool. Emaciated and panting.
PP was a little scared, wondering if his lane had any of that hair in it. Gross. Sorry, but it did occur to her.
But hell, an empty lane is an empty lane.
So PP nabbed it to escape any more sidekicks.
Of course, someone else got in with PP in 5 minutes. Floral Blonde Woman. She’s nice, but still. PP would always rather have her own lane. Selfish non-goggled swimmer that she is.
Yet the swim was lovely and restorative as usual. PP for a moment at the end of her swim, enjoyed some languid warmdown backstroke in the now deserted ‘water walking’ lane, staring up at the wall with the Giant Y surrounded by the Y’s Values?
Shit, PP can’t remember the 4th one right now. Something that fit with those 3, like INTEGRITY?
No, that was way too intellectual for the Y. Not that there weren’t Intellectuals here, but still….
Besides it was kinda redundant with Honesty, wasn’t it?
Hell, PP has always been bad at Values anyway.

Without an ounce of Honest Responsible Caring, PP heaves herself outta the pool and heads into the Hot Tub arena. No one there except Humming Chinese Lady with a Headache. (PP assumes she has a Headache since she keeps touching her temples in that headache ouch way) And Side Stroke Kicker Woman, who won’t even make eye contact with PP, let alone return her smile.

Bitch, PP thinks.

Post Tub, PP meanders over to her locker, nodding at Floral Blonde Woman putting her make- up on, kinda spaced out and kinda disappointed that it’s been a storyless day though looking at the above, you’d think there was a story when much to her delight, she’s greeted with a dazzling smile from a Beautiful Slender Chinese Woman with Maggie Chang Hair (A former student of PP—she’d had that kind of glossy thick luxurious black hair down to her waist) getting undressed in front of the locker next to hers. BSCW’s hair was magnificent. Long, thick shinning, down to her ass. So the opposite of PP’s curly blonde mop.
So, when BSCW gave PP her dazzling smile, well.

PP got a little weak in the knees……

But somehow pulled it together enough to return the smile and murmur a ‘hello’—thinking to herself how Thank God! Someone is finally being nice to her! Esp after SSKW!

“Oh no!”
PP turned toward BSCW who stood disconsolately in front of her closed locker, pouting with one of the tiny white towels wrapped demurely round her waist and her hair covering the upper half of her slender frame.
“What’s wrong?”
”I lock my keys in my locker.”
”Oh no!”
“Oh, I do that all the time!” FBW came back from the make-up mirror to investigate.
“That’s such a drag,” PP offers sympathetically, “Why don’t you just go do your workout first and then get some help after?”
“But all my clothes! They are in locker! Oh….”
PP thinks she might start to cry, but it could just be projection. She’d sure as hell be crying by now.
“They can cut the locks for you,” FBW asserts authoritatively. “Isn’t there a phone in here so you can call someone?”
BSCW shakes her head sadly as FBW takes control and marches around behind the row of lockers looking for the phone. Slowly, BSCW follows, disappearing for a moment, before they both return with no phone in sight looks on their faces, “I thought there was a phone in here!” FBW snorts in disgust.
“Yeah, me too,” lies PP. She has no idea but wants to stay involved in the situation.
“There’s a couple of women over there that are almost dressed,” FBW continues. “I bet you could just ask one of them to help you out and tell someone up at the front desk that you need the lock cut.”
PP glances down at her so naked self. No way could she help unless she went out in her towel.

Seeing BSCW shake her head again sadly, her lovely long hair completely covering her upper half, PP almost jokes how she could just go upstairs like that. Her hair would cover her.
But then….BSCW looks genuinely distraught. Like she really is ready to cry, so PP refrains and goes back to lotioning up as BSCW disappears around he corner again, shyly looking for someone to help.

“Did you find someone to go tell them bout your lock?” PP asks when she returns.
“That’s good.”
”I am always so careful with my stuffs! I always put my key in my gym bag and then I always check around to make sure I have not left any stuffs. I….”
Nodding, PP jumps in at the pre-cry pause. “Oh, it’s so easy to do. I lock stuff in my locker all the time. (Actually, she never has, but the whole locker thing was so new she was sure she would soon enough.) And I lock myself out of my car at least once a year. And once, I was at this Thai restaurant in Mill Valley and left my purse under the table where’d we been eating….”
”I always check around wherever I am. I look for my keys. My purse. It is so easy to leave your sweater on the chair….” She makes a motion of looking behind her as her hair sweeps round her face dramatically. PP nods. The hair. What is it about Chinese Women and their hair? Remembers how the Lovely I’s girlfriend always complains about how long it takes I to do her hair. But hell, it’s worth it, right?
PP thinks so.
At least in the Lovely I’s case.

“HELLO!!!??? WHO NEEDS A LOCK CUT?” Tough sturdy African American Locksmith Woman marches in. All business , wielding a gigantic frightening looking tool.
“Over here!” BSCW calls out faintly, sighing.
PP wants to watch the show, but decides that it might be too obvious, so heads into the hair drying room, but not before spying a set of keys on the floor under one of the stools.
Oh no! More lost keys? How weird! PP scoops them up. They must belong to FBW, she thinks as she glances around wondering if she can just give them to Locksmith Woman to take up to Lost and Found, but then thankfully, FBW is still there! In the blow-drying room going crazy with the dryer. Her dyed blonde hair flying out in wonderful sticks all over her head.
“Did you leave your keys?” PP shouts, jangling the keys at her.
“OHMYGOD! I did! Thanks so much! And after we were just talking about it!”
“Yeah, must be something in the air.”
”Well, I have been pretty stressed out lately. Starting a new job next week. My mind isn’t all here. I….”
PP doesn’t comment on this as she starts to dry her hair, grinning to herself as FBW continues to chat with her. Why the hell do people try to chat with you while they’re blow drying their hair? And you’re blow-drying your hair? All you can hear is blow dryers. Then you’re in this situation where you have to smile and nod and pretend like you understand what the other person is saying when you have no fuckin clue.

PP returns back to her locker to pack up the last of her stuff. Sadly, BSCW is gone.
PP feels a little abandoned. Not sure why. It wasn’t like BSCW should have come and told her that all was ok. Locksmith Woman had worked her magic. She had her keys and her clothes.
But now they were gone. Poof!
The space where BSCW had been with all her emotion and hair and drama seemed so empty now. Like it hadn’t even happened. Like PP had just imagined the whole ordeal.

“They get the locker cut?” FBW blusters back to double-check her spot again.
“Guess so,” PP grins, relieved that validation has appeared.

Actually, PP just made that last part up.
But isn’t that why she writes?
For Validation.
For Illumination.
But mostly, for Hilariation?
Is that even a word?

Hell, it is now.
“See you next time,” PP calls out to FBW, back now in the side room, further blow-drying her hair.

But FBW just keeps on drying, her head bent over between her legs to dangle her bright blond tresses for optimum under the hair drying. For a moment, PP feels injured. Why is FBW ignoring her now? Especially after they'd bonded over the Lost Keys' Snafus? Why was she being so mean to PP?

But then PP has to laugh to herself. Nah. She's not being mean.
She just can't hear PP through all the Blow Drying Noise.

Or, she finally got a clue and knows no one can have a civilized conversation while blow drying!

Smiling to herself, PP shakes her head as she opens the door and heads up the stairs, out of the Y and back into her life.

Mad as Hell!

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