Saturday, September 08, 2007

Satan or Savior


Ok, can PP just state for the record that Yahoo Maps is the Devil Incarnate? (And who exactly is Yahoo Maps? Too bad PP can’t find out, cuz she’d go and bomb their corporate offices, but how the hell do you bomb any entity in Cyberspace? )

Satan is the mastermind behind Yahoo Maps; she’s sure of this. All she wanted to do was find the beauteous Heather Farms Pool in Walnut Creek that she’d heard such rave reviews about so she could swim this week while the Oakland Y was closed. She looked this pool up on line. 20 Lap lanes! 50-meter pool. And the enticing picture of the Butterfly Guy (see insert in previous blog). Well, needless to say, PP was very excited and full of Pool Anticipation after her long day at WWU.

So, she’d gone to Yahoo Maps and gotten the ‘directions’. 11 minutes from WWU—perfect.

45 minutes later, on the insane Ygnacio Valley Road that had turned mysteriously into a goddamn freeway, PP was near tears and cursing Yahoo Maps.

45 minutes = 11 Minutes?

Not in her book!

But where to start? Yahoo Maps is NOT where to start. PP can tell you that. But let’s just for instance pretend that it is. Well, here we go.

Start at WWU—ok, she was there. So she did. Easy. Bear R on Longbrook. Already this was wrong and circuitous, so PP ignored this direction and just headed for Contra Costa Blvd. Next, there were 4 points listed that she just ignored since they made absolutely no sense. R on longbrook way. L on Massolo Dr. It was insane and shoulda given her a clue that Yahoo Maps was gonna be the WRONG to follow.

But did she listen to her Intuition? She did not. This was her first mistake. And as she ignored the direction to get onto the 680 freeway for 100 yards and instead opted to just head on down Contra Costa Blvd since she knew it would hit Treat Blvd. , PP felt pretty smug about her decision.

Little did she know that Treat Blvd was definitely NO TREAT! Here was where she made her first wrong turn. A right instead of a left. Yahoo Maps just said to take #48 Treat Blvd exit offa the freeway, but since she hadn’t gotten on the freeway, well, she took a guess and turned the wrong way. Here was her first U turn. Back down Treat Blvd after turning around in a scary suburban cul-de-sac with a lot of For Sale signs in front of the tract homes and a mad guy trying to get his motorcycle started.

But once headed down Treat, PP thought, ok, this is right. What next? Glanced at the directions—no L or R instructions. Yahoo Satan just listed “Continue on Bancroft. And then Continue on Ygnacio Valley Rd.” Ok. Wouldn’t you assume (And of course this is where she got into trouble. All those Assumptions. But, wouldn’t you assume that since Yahoo Satan hadn’t listed any turn directions that Treat Blvd just turned into Bancroft and then Ygnacio Valley? All the streets in the Burbs had at least two names. Why the hell was this? One way was Treat Blvd. and one way was Geary? Hello? Why isn’t the street just the same goddamn name the whole length of it? Screwy suburbs!

So, naturally, PP thought that Treat was gonna turn into Bancroft and Ygnacio Valley cus it already was Geary and Treat.

Damn.

Do you see why Yahoo is Satan? Or is it the Suburbs? Yes this could be so. Hey, maybe Yahoo is the Suburbs? Okay, off the track a bit, but hell this entire quest for the Pool was off the track so it’s Thematic. PP likes this. Usually. But not when she’s tired, and hungry and in desperate need for a swim. Is finding the pool so much to ask?

Evidently.

So driving along Treat, looking for it to turn into Bancroft, she of course, passes a street called Bancroft where she coulda turned R or L, but doesn’t cuz Yahoo Satan didn’t tell her to.

This is her next mistake.

Driving driving driving. Away from the freeway, PP starts to think, this doesn’t seem right. Glances down at her watch. 20 minutes have gone by and Heather Farms Pool is supposed to be only 11 minutes from WWU.

Shit.

So, she does her second U turn and heads back down Treat. Turns on Bancroft when she gets back to it. Of course again, she turns the wrong way. Hell, isn’t there a 50/50 chance of choosing the Right way? But no, PP does another U turn on Bancroft after driving for several minutes. Again, this doesn’t seem right cuz she’s not in stupid Walnut Creek any more and at least she knows that the Pool is in WC.

Waiting at the signal on Bancroft to do her next U turn, she spies a couple teenage boys on their cell phones. Should she ask one of them where the Pool is? They look busy and bored. That teenage specialty. So she doesn’t ask and makes her U turn, heading back down Bancroft again.
Okay, now. Is this directionless pool story going on too long?
You bet it is as she heads back across Non-Treat Treat Blvd, now looking for Ygancio Valley Blvd. Hey! Yes! Here it is. PP turns what turns out to be the WRONG way again! Heads up Ygnacio Valley. It turns into a goddamn freeway. No place to turn around as she tries to choke bag the frustrated tears.

WHERE THE HELL IS THE GODDAMN POOL?

Not out here in the god forsaken brown-weeded hills of Contra Costa. Though there was a nice view of the red sun that was setting amidst the fire sky. But no opportunity for a U turn for at least 5 miles. All the huge SUV’s were on her tail eager to get home to their suburban martinis and barbeques and brats. PP glanced down at her watch. 45 minutes since she’d left WWU.

I don’t know about you, but 45 minute may be 11 minutes in Yahoo’s Hell, but not in her world as she finally hit the crest of the hill and a signal where she could do a final U turn.

At this point, near tears, tired, neck aching, PP wonders, should she just give up her quest? Is the pool really worth all of this? But she’s nothing if not stubborn as she heads back down the hill. She’s gonna find this pool if it the last thing she does and it might be as a Mean Black Chevy Tahoo guns past her, causing her to catch her breath as she stops for yet another infinitely long signal. (What the hell is it about signals in the suburbs? They’re all at least 5 minutes long! Another part of Hell, as far as she’s concerned as the light finally turns and she shifts the Geo into gear.)

PP shivers. Part of her feeling like she’s just gonna get back on the freeway if she ever finds that ( she does know that Ygancio Valley hits the freeway home to Oakland since she passes it everyday.) Now she thinks, WHY THE HELL didn’t YAHOO maps just direct her to get on the freeway, then get off on Ignacio Valley?

Because they’re SATAN. Only explanation as she starts to look anxiously for her final direction. ‘Turn R on N. San Carlos.’

Is that it? Yes! N. San Carlos one way, and San Something else the other way. Again, why the hell are there two names to all the streets in stupid Walnut Creek? Something to do with the creek no doubt. It runs two ways. So all the streets have two names.
No logic there which makes perfect sense at this point as PP turns on N. San Carlos and then thankfully spies the sign “Heather Farms” and then “Swimming Pool!”

Pulling into the parking lot. (One good thing about the burbs---parking lots) PP turns off the Geo and sits for a moment in front of a long building that must house the Pool. Many teenagers running around with wet heads and cell phones as their parents sit idling in gas guzzling Suburbans chattin with each other.

Was it worth it? PP pays her fee and changes in the bare bones locker room as a group of VERY LOUD teenage girls scream over their hairdryers, still dubious at this point.

But then….

Pushing open the door to the pool, PP stops for a moment in absolute wonder.
The most beautiful pool greeted her. 20 laps and several of them absolutely empty. A lovely green hillside behind it and the water smooth, clear and inviting.

A smile came over her tired face as she plopped her gym bag down and grabbed a kickboard and pull buoy.

Now for the important point--Where was the Butterfly Guy advertised? She glanced toward the middle of the enormous pool as what looked like a Master’s swim team working out. Bet he was over there, she thought to herself but suddenly too cold and tired as an almost wintry wind whipped across the deck to give much more thought to him. Next time.

Jumping into her own lane, PP zipped quickly down the smooth coolness. The goose bumps rising on her arms. Damn it was cold! But no way was she gonna get out now.
Not after the Lengths, (or should she say ‘Laps’) she’d gone to to find this pool.
Giggling to herself, she turns and heads back down the lane, the underwater lights coming on to guide her through her workout; the welcoming water already working its magic on her tired, stressed out Yahoo induced breakdown as she stopped to turn around, spying out of the corner of her eye a Grinning Handsome Guy in the lane next to hers.

Yup, it was worth it as she kicked off the wall and headed back down the lane.

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