Okay, PP thought it would be a good idea. Stop by the Y on her way home from work. Sure it was in the suburbs, but hell, there were certainly good things about this, right? A parking lot. No traffic thro the odious Caldecott tunnel since she’d be two hours later. A bright friendly suburban swimming experience in Sunny Pleasant Hill, right?
The DeutscherSchlecter Y was from hell on every level. Screaming Children. Rude Lifeguards. Fat leachy cigar smoking middle aged white guys. No they weren’t smoking cigars at the pool, but if they coulda been, they woulda been.
Why do the suburbs have the reputation of being so safe and friendly when in reality they’re so alienating and frustrating?
The bored teen at the front counter was nice enough.Llet her in with her Y Oakland Card. Picked up the pool schedule, glanced at it yawning, and told her that "Ya, there’s lap swimming now, at 4:30, 2 lanes."
Purrfect, she’d thought. She really needed a swim after her long day reviewing research papers on line about food addiction, erectile dysfunction and undocumented immigrants. That’s one thing she could say for the job—the variety of paper grading was there.
But the variety at the Y?
Nothing but goddamn screaming families. Taking over the entire pool. PP slowly made her way out onto the deck in the blazing heat, her sun protective shirt sticking to her. She really needed a swim NOW!!!
But the prospects looked less than promising. Esp. when she asked the surly lifeguard at the helm. “Excuse me?”
“Uh…..the guy at the front counter said that there’d be two lanes for lap swimming?”
“One of the lane lines broke.”
“Excuse me?” PP repeated, standing in the glaring light. What the hell was he saying? That cuz a lane line broke there’d be no lap swimming?
She stepped aside as two teenage girls in their matching American Flag Bikinis cannonballed into the pool, shrieking with the abandoned hysteria that only teen girls from the suburbs can .
Frowning, PP continued to try to get a response outta the lifeguard, “So, then.....will there be no lap swimming? “
Shrugging he didn’t look at her, “Don’t know. Go ask one of them.’
‘The swim instructors over there”—he pointed in huffy perturbness—“ask them when their lessons are gonna be over.”
PP made her way over to the lesson guards, knelt down and asked. One bleached blonde just steered her child charge away, ignoring her, another one glared at her and announced to the air that she’d be done at 5:30…..
Ok, what to do?
PP could scream.
She did consider this for a moment. But then decided that no one would notice her, let alone pay attention.
She could leave.
She also considered this, but then thought, what the hell, she was here now. It was only about a half hour away.
So, she’d wait.
All the chaise lounges were taken up with either lazing middle aged men (What was up with that? Didn’t they hafta go work in the Big City every day to support their screaming kids and expensive wives?) or littered with harried moms in oversized gold rimmed sunglasses trying to keep the kids from killing each other.
PP was so glad she lived in Oakland. She complained about it often. The traffic. The overcrowding. The expense. Hell, the pool was often full of kids at the Oakland Y too. But for some reason, they didn't seem so.....Suburban?
Yeah, the big city swimming kids were excited to be there in an awe way. Not a yawn way.
So it shouldn't surprise her that whenever she visited the suburbs for any real necessary experience like swimming, where you’d think the BEST swimming would be, right? she realized that Oakland had been her home for so long for good reason. And even though the Y downtown was often crowded too, there was a friendly big city welcoming feel to it. Not this cold can’t be bothered with anyone but my fr%%**##king children attitude.
The suburbs. They were selfish as all get out.
Why is that? PP is too tired to analyze now. All she knows is that when 5:30 finally rolled around with still no sign of any lap swimming going on so she just got into the swim lesson lane and swam around them, and then when she asked the lesson guard what the hell was up with lap swimming and she’d just glared at PP and said she’d be done with her lesson at 5:40 and then this Ancient Guy from 1876 got in too and started swimming /sinking cuz his legs were so heavy and then a Look Liked She Knew What She Was About Woman got in and when PP asked her if it was always anarchy at the pool and she’d given PP a blank stare PP realized she either probably didn’t know what anarchy meant or she probably didn’t know what anarchy meant……
Well, PP decided, that yes, it was nice to miss the goddamn traffic inching thro the heinous caldecott tunnel, but it wasn’t worth trying to negotiate the insanity traffic in the pool at the DeutcherShlecter YMCA.
It was worse than China.
And that was saying a lot!
Bye Bye Burbs!
Welcome Home and don’t ever, ever, EVER Go Back to THAT POOL again!