Thursday, November 15, 2007

Perfect Day for the Campbell Pool


“You must go at Lunch,” the Lovely I asserted after listening to PP’s whining about how she couldn’t swim at the Campbell Pool after her shift at WWU. It would be too late. After 8 pm. Then the swim till 9, then the shower, rinsing off, toweling off, hair drying. Now it’d be 9:30 or maybe even 10 pm. PP was so damned slow. Then the drive all the way back to Oakland without any dinner. The hunger factor. Always a problem. If PP didn’t eat by 8 pm or so, well…..fainting was a distinct possibility and fainting on the 880 freeway at 10 o’clock at night sounded like more than Odiousness to her.

But then PP had another idea. What if she did this evening swim and then went and stayed at the Campbell Inn? Ordered Room service. Watched Cable T.V. She divulged this fantasy to the Lovely I. Confessed how she’d never done anything like this by herself. The Lovely I had sighed and confessed the same, “Me neither. I’ve never done that by myself.” This sorta surprised PP. The Lovely I seemed so worldly and sophisticated in that Cosmopolitan Artist way. But yet, she has been in a relationship with Fix-it GF for 17 or was it 18? years. So, it did make sense that the Lovely I had only done such hotel extravagances with her GF and not by herself.

PP still liked this fantasy though. And when last week, she’d driven by the Blue Sky Chinese restaurant on the way home, only a block from the Campbell Inn, the fantasy grew. It would be so cool to go for this evening swim, then stop at the Blue Heaven and order up some Mushoo to Go, then head over to the CI for a feast of Chinese and Cable.

PP is gonna keep this fantasy in mind. It’s still a possibility, but today…..well, it was simply perfect. PP had time for an early lunch (So she could make the noon lap hours) because of no appointments with students till later. The day was mild and sunny. (Yes, there still is that sun fear because of the stupid melanoma, but this ‘body anxiety’ is getting better.)

So, into the Pool Compound she went to ask the Scraggly Lifeguard about the equipment. Did she need to lug her fins, pull buoy ‘n Hello Kitty Kickboard to the pool? (Granted the pool was very close to both WWU annex in the Community Center and where the Geo was parked, but still…..PP gets so tired of lugging all her crap around. Why does swimming take so much equipment? And then the shower and after shower stuffs. Shampoo, conditioner, lotions—why so many lotions? One for her body, one for her face, no three for her face, two were sunscreens. Oh it was so heavy! PP always wondered why she couldn’t be like those swimmers who just seemed to jump in the pool, rinse off in the shower in five minutes or less, and then toss on some clothes and be ready to go.

She was never ready to go.

So now, when Scraggly Lifeguard confirmed that she had to bring all this crap with her, with the exception of the kickboard, she wasn’t that surprised. Every pool had its requisite equipment plusses and minuses. “We’ve got lots of those as you can see,” he pointed across the pool at the gray plastic cupboard full of boards.

After retrieving this equipment from the Geo, and paying her 5 bucks to the SL, PP could hardly contain her excitement. Finally! She was gonna swim in the Campbell Pool!

And in the locker room, PP thinks it’s Kismet that the first person she talks to has ‘goddess’ written in pink across her white shirted chest. This distracts her but also seems a good omen as she listens to this divinty soothe a Plump Young Latina about how important swimming is even when you don’t have time.
“When do you eat lunch?” the goddess asks PYL.
“Oh, I just been eating at my desk lately. So I have time to fit in a swim,” she rushes to pack up her suit, shampoo and towel into her backpack. PP likes this priority. Swimming over Lunching.
“Well, remember to take care of yourself,” the goddess continues, “you’ve had a rough week.”
”Yes, I will. I just need to swim.”
“Absolutely. The swimming will help.”
PYL nods as she rushes out, “You have a nice rest of the day!”
“You, too, dear,” the goddess calls after her, towel drying her short red locks.
“She sounds like she has a strategy for her week,” PP offers, always ready to strike up a conversation, esp. when she’s at a new pool.
“Yes. She’s had a very rough week and she needs to swim, but it’s hard.”
PP nods at this same theme of swimming as the cure for all that ails one. But it is true. It’s even worth giving up lunch for. Even for those who might not ordinarily want to.

“You have a nice weekend,” the goddess smiles mysteriously over at PP.
“Yes, thanks, you too. It’s a beautiful day for a swim.”
“That it is. Though I’m wondering what’s going on. I think Al Gore is right.”
PP nods. She’s all for global warming if it means not being cold in the pool!

And she wasn’t. This had been stopping her with the Campbell pool. Every evening when she left the WWU annex and walked by the pool in the cold and dark, it looked so daunting. The water a dark and uninviting ripply wetness in the night. Brrr……

So, today, with the sun and the warmth and the blue turqoisy water and the friendly chatting swimmers doing sidestroke while holding onto kickboards, PP thought, this is the best decision she’s made in ages. Now if she just doesn’t get in trouble at WWU for going swimming!

This did vaguely worry her, even though she was entitled to a lunch break. But still…what if someone discovered that she’d gone swimming instead of eating?

Like anyone would care! And when, after showering and packing up and rushing back to the geo after the swim, relaxed and happy and wet, PP heard a familiar voice behind her walking out of the locker room and turned to see one of her students smiling shyly as PP held the door open for her.

“Is that Simone?” PP asked, delighted to see her.
“Carol?”
”Yeah, are you a swimmer?”
”No, not really…..but I see you are. You have all of your equipment.”
Giggling, PP shook her head. “Oh, yeah, I’m obsessed. But so nice to see you. Did you get my messages about making another appt to talk about your writing?”
”No, I am so sorry. I was out of town and did not use the email. But I have to tell you Carol what a tremendous help you were with my papers and even now with my process I really feel so much more confident about my writing!” Simone gushed and then looked away shyly, suddenly breathless.
“Oh, it’s my pleasure. And look,” PP grinned, “here I am at the Pool talking about writing! What could be better?”

Simone smiled and then gave a shy wave. “You have a nice weekend, Carol. I will make another appt soon.”
”Yes, great. I’ll look forward to it,” PP waved to her.

And as she headed out of the Campbell Pool Compound, the water walking ladies now in the pool bobbing up and down to Donna Summer, PP had to think again how the pool is where everything happened, even writing talk with students when one least expects it.

So. She’d finally had her swim at the Campbell Pool. And it had been perfect.
Now on to that other pool she’s been fantasizing about for years.

The Palace Hotel.

Wonder who she’ll meet there?

Only time, and Kismet, will tell!




Oh my God! The Campbell Inn has a pool!
The Fantasy grows!

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