Sunday, April 15, 2007

Pretty Good for a Man with One Leg!

PP loves Sundays at the Y!
Y?
CAUSE THE METERS ARE FREE!!!
No scrounging for quarters. No worry that she’s lounging about in the Hot Tub too long and gonna get a ticket. No wishing she lived in the Suburbs where they have that unheard of luxury—a parking lot!
Nope. On Sundays. It’s free for all. Plus no one seems to be around much on Sundays. The construction workers are taking the day off. The office workers are watchin football on their wide screen TV’s. Or is it baseball now? The obnoxious screaming kids are home torturing their siblings.

So, on Sundays, PP feels a certain lightness from worry about the whole cranky parking sitch at the Y. Today, she pulls into a nice sunny metered spot on 23rd and sighs happily, preparing to brave whatever chaos may await her in the pool. Spies a Disorganized Giant White Guy with his gym bag splayed haphazardly on the asphalt outside his beat up Volvo two cars behind her and then a Jockey Looking Blonde Woman across the street, neatly throwing her big bag over her shoulders.

They all converge up Broadway at the same time, hitting a mighty wind tunnel.
“What’s up with all the Wind?” DGWG jokes.
JLBW makes some rejoinder but PP can’t really make it out cuz of the wind.
“…..guess it isn’t really a good idea for a White Guy to say that round here.”
Damn, PP thinks. What the hell did she miss now? Sounded like something politically incorrect. A favorite of hers.
“You a Tango Dancer?” he asks JLBW, who smiles, unsure, shakes her head. “Uh…no.”
He chuckles, then turns to PP, “You a Tango Dancer?”
“Hell, no.” PP laughs.
“It must keep you in pretty good shape,” JLBW tries. PP glances across him at her. Maybe she likes him? Though he doesn’t seem like a match for her. DGWG is lumbering between them, his ungainly pasty legs slowing to match the two women’s gait.
“Yeah, maybe,” he answers her, “It’s just my Obsession right now.”
Both women laugh uneasily. “Plus it’s really a good way to find a relationship.” He guffaws heartily as he speeds up to bounce pass them, climbing the stairs to the gym. Not waiting for a response to this line.

PP and JLBW make their way up the stairs together. PP looks at her sideways. “Haven’t heard that line before.”
“No,” JLBW laughs.
“Maybe he thought since he was surrounded by blondes he had a better chance.”
She looks at PP in perplexity, then shrugs, holding open the door for them to present their ID’s to the overly friendly clerk, (Did he get some this morn, PP wonders), collect their towels and head down the stairs away from the Tango Studio (Does the Y have even have a Tango Studio?) and into the Women’s Locker room.

“You’re not finished already, are you?” PP asks as she dips her toes into the cool gray water after watchin Pudgy African American Rolling Swimmer make his way slowly down the lane toward her.
He turns round, his goggles perched on top his curly grey hair. “10 laps!” he announces, “Pretty good for a Man with One Leg.”
PP nods, astonished. So that’s why he was rolling so strangely in the water. Only one leg to kick with. Though PP doubts that he’d be much of a swimmer even with another leg.
“Wow!” she exclaims, beaming at him as he heads toward the stairs and his awaiting wheelchair. “10 laps! That’s fantastic!”
He nods, dignified and tired. “Yeah it is. You have a good day now.”
“Thanks, you too,” she returns before diving into the now empty lane and zipping to the other end, her two legs kicking mightily as she revels in their working.


“You are a very good swimmer!”
“Thanks,” PP smiles as she sinks thankfully into the hot tub’s warm embrace. She’d seen Swimming Compliment Woman in the lane next to her, arguing with a Gold Chain Guy about some feminist issue. PP couldn’t quite make it out between her earplugs and being underwater most of the time, but she’d hear SCW nod and point, then exclaim, “WOMEN HAVE A DIFFERENT BIOLOGICAL CLOCK THAN MEN! Then GCG would shake his head, laugh, point his finger at her, “Now you got me going. I’m gonna prove my point. I got two granddaughters. Both more aggressive at 14 and 16 than the guys.”
A couple more laps and PP would catch another snippet. “More men are joining the Nursing Profession every day,” SCW was asserting seriously.Was GCG a nurse?
PP didn’t think so, but hell appearances can be deceiving, esp. when you’re wet.

So, when SCW pronounced to the air in the locker room PP’s Beauty Swimming, PP wasn’t really surprised since she’d been in the lane next to her and had noticed her too, though admittedly not for her swimming. More for her animation, large blue flowered suit and fake red curls cut short round her pale face.
“I’m from Minnesota,” SCW continues. “Land of 10, 0000 lakes.”
PP nods as she tries to figure out a way to dunk under the hot water without appearing rude. “So, I learned how to swim when I was a girl. We had swimming in Jr. High and High School. Were you on a swim team?”
PP nods after quickly dunking under. “Yeah, I used to be on a swim team, but not anymore.”
“I was never on a swim team, but we all learned to swim. Minnesota! Land of 10,000 lakes. But the snow! It'd be snowing on Halloween. We’d go out trick or treating in our galoshes. That’s what we called them. And then come Easter, we’d be out hunting for eggs in our skis.”
PP nods. Sounded like hell to her.
“My friends, who still live there, they have snow sculpting in their garages and cross country skiing round the neighborhood. They Embrace the Snow.”
SCW shakes her head, “I never got that.”
“No, me neither,” PP agrees as she sinks down into the warm soft water, thankful that it never or rarely snows in Oakland, and NEVER snows in the pool at the YMCA!

Outside on the Broadway Wind Tunnel sidewalk, PP saunters back toward her no ticket guaranteed Geo. Passes a quiet round African American Man waiting patiently in a wheel chair. Notices he has only one leg. Smiling, she pauses, “See you in the Pool next time,” she calls out to him. He stares at her perplexed. Of course doesn’t recognize her dry and non-pink suited. Or maybe he doesn’t recognize her at all? PP falters a bit. Should she not have said anything? Shrugging, she tries again, “Maybe next time you can do more than 10 laps!”

Now a sudden glimmer of recognition passes over his fine features, and he smiles and nods, “You have a good day now,” he says softly as PP turns and heads up Broadway, the lazy afternoon sun and her two good legs suddenly lifting her mood out of the snow, and into the windy blue skies of Downtown Oakland.

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