Monday, July 23, 2007

FROM THE BLIND MAN TO THE GRIM REAPER


“TALK TO ME! TALK TO ME! BLIND MAN COMIN THROUGH! You can see me! You can hear me! I
can’t see you. But I can hear you. TALK TO ME!!!! COMIN THROUGH!!!

PP watched in astonishment as indeed, the Blind Man, a Majestic African American Man in his 50’s? 60’s?, dressed dapperly in white slacks, black dress shirt and dark glasses, came barreling through the Y. Down two flights of stairs, his blind man’s white stick clacking at the rails, then down to the bottom, turning the corner, and careening dangerously close to a frightened woman trying to read about the Y’s upcoming photo shoot of YMCA members on Aug. 15.

Blind Man continued to holler, narrowly missing Sign Reading Woman, her eyes wide with fear, as PP followed behind, grinning. Of course it wasn’t really funny. But yet, it was. Catching SRW’s eye, they both giggled.

PP smiled and sighed. Maybe it was a good thing to get out of the house. No such adventures were gonna happen to her lying round in bed, feeling like a tired, bluesy lump. It was so much better to come to the YMCA and realize just how easy her life was. Hell, she wasn’t blind! Nor had she been run over by the blind man. Both good things. PP just hoped he wasn’t headed for the pool.

Now that would be an adventure.

Fortunately, no sight of him in the water. But lots of other sights abounded. Of course there were the usual suspects: The Swimming Hemophiliac got the lifeguards to give him his own lane by taking one away from the stupid rec. swim kiddies. PP liked this. The Various Chinese Lady Swimmers with their shower caps and spastic exercises. The laid-back African American Woman sharing PP’s lane, her big fins barely helping her to get across the pool.

Then the not so usual ones--today there was the group of Retards. Ok, PP knows they’re not called retards anymore, or MR’s or any such other derogatory label, what are they called? Developmentally Disabled? Ummm….rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it? Anyway the DD Swimmers ambled in, standing around the deck, leaning against the dingy walls, confused and frowning, numbering round 5 or 6, till their leader, an Authoritative Young African American Counselor Type, was able to procure them some pool space.

And of course, after jumping in, IT was instantaneous. The frowns disappeared. The laughter erupted. The Power of the Pool! It brought joy to everyone! Even the DD Swimmers? And why not? They deserved pool time as much as anyone else. Even the blind man, PP was certain, could have swam here at the Y. But frankly, she was glad that the Blind Man wasn’t swimming with the DD Swimmers. Though this mighta made an excellent story, it certainly woulda been too much pandemonium, esp. for PP today.

Because today, yes, the Pool was too much for her. While she enjoyed the euphoria of the DD S, she also was feeling like some CALM might have been more therapeutic. But their rapture was contagious, and PP had to grin as she watched them splashing and laughing as one of them, an enormous white guy with big splotches on his back of pink and brown, tried unsuccessfully to use a kickboard. The others gathered around, trying to show him, while their leader held up a kickboard and demonstrated on the deck, but of course he couldn’t kick. This, PP had to admit, musta been confusing for this group, and she thought for a moment, but only for a moment, of going over and demonstrating for them. But then decided, no, it was too much. She didn’t want to excite or confuse them anymore than they already were.

Then a momentary Y miracle-- PP had her own lane, but this too, was fleeting. Flailing Chinese Woman got in cuz of the swimming hemophiliac’s lane hogging. She was nice enough, grinning and trying to stay on her side, but she just couldn’t. Just kept zigzagging slowly and spastically down the middle of the lane. Every time PP wanted to swim past her, it was a delicate process, of slowing down, looking both ways underwater, (so as to not touch SH) and then blazing past her. Finally FCW got out and once again, PP was in her own lane.

Happy happy happy.

But then, damn! What the hell was that? PP stopped mid lap as a wake of white water hit her in the face. Glancing behind her, she spied the Splash Culprit who’d almost mowed her down, plow to the other side and do a fancy splashy flip turn.

Oh, One of Those!

And he hadn’t even bothered to tell her he was joining her lane?

Yes, ONE OF THOSE!!!

PP was almost done in more ways than one. Pausing at the wall, One of Those Swimmer stopped for a moment to adjust his goggles. PP glanced down at his tattooed arm. Hell, was that the Grim Reaper?




She started to grin. Leave it to PP to have the Grim Reaper join her lane. And when he saw her laughing, he smiled. Handsome, young, long eye lashes gazing thro the water drops. PP couldn’t help herself. Had to ask, “Is that the Grim Reaper on your arm?”

Nodding, he beamed. “Yeah, it’s not finished yet though.” And then he dove off in a splashy hurry. PP shook her head. Who the hell would tattoo the Grim Reaper on his arm? (For of course, it would be a guy. Somehow PP couldn’t imagine a woman having such a tattoo.) And then what about it wasn’t finished? Like was he gonna color the scythe blood red? Or give the cape and figure a darker hue?

Like it wasn’t enough that the Grim Reaper was already easily recognizable?

PP glanced up at the cute young, blonde lifeguard trying to find a lane for Confused Dark-Curls Swimmer. “Here,” PP called up to them, “you can have my lane. But watch out, That Guy has the Grim Reaper on his arm!”
Blonde Lifeguard looked suitably stricken. “What do you mean? Like he has it tattooed on his arm?”
PP nodded. “Yeah.”
“Whew. I thought maybe you meant that he had a Killer Stroke!”
PP cracked up. “NO, but yeah, now that you mention it, I do think they’re connected!”

D-C Swimmer watched fearfully as the Grim Reaper Swimmer turned at the far wall and started a splashy swim back their way.
“I think I’ll go over here,” she pointed to the lane furthest away from him as PP gathered up her fins, water and mask.
“Yeah, good call,” PP giggled as the GRS made another flip turn, splashing his wrath all over them.

Making her way into the Locker room, PP suddenly heard a booming voice, “TALK TO ME! TALK TO ME! BLIND MAN COMING IN!”

Laughing, she hoped he’d find the Grim Reaper. Why she was sure the Blind Man would be able to contend with the Grim Reaper by just bopping him with his cane. Esp. since he wasn’t finished yet….

Or....

Actually, PP just made that last part up about the Blind Man, but she had you goin there for a minute, yes?

Hee heee heee!

So when next you visit the pool, especially, the Oakland Y, beware the Hollering Blind Man and heads up for the Grim Reaper Swimmer! But if it’s adventure you want, head on over. Though do be sure to keep your ears, eyes and arms safe—you never know what Evil lurks in the halls or under the water at the YMCA!

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