Monday, February 26, 2007


Pool Puss is trying. She really is, but when she hops out of the Geo in the pouring rain to put money in the meter and spies the rowdy ruckus of dozens of school age children heading toward the Y, she thinks:
Damn. I bet they’re all going to the pool.

Yup. They were.
15 minutes later, PP stands on the deck surveying the dismal pool options on this dreary rainy Monday. (She’d mistakenly thought that with all the rain in the early afternoon post lunch hour that the pool would be calm.)

No such luck.
Screaming kids splashing riotously in one third of the pool.
Spaced Out ‘ Water Walkers’ taking over the other third of the pool.
Leaving only 2 lap lanes available. One with an Arm Beater Splash Action. The other a Weaving Elderly Guy barely keeping afloat.

Overwhelmed Lifeguard spies PP standing miserably confused and hurries over, flaggin PP to wait a minute. Out of breath and apologetic, she rushes up to PP, “I’m so sorry. The pool is absolutely crazy right now.”
“Yeah, with all those kids. I saw them on my way in and thought, I bet they’re all headed for the pool.”
Sighing, Apologetic Lifeguard shakes her blond head, pushing aside a stray hair caught in the side of her mouth. “Yeah, I’m afraid you were right. It’s absolutely Crazy” she repeats, trying to undo a lane line.
“So, where should I swim?” PP asks, trying to smile in spite of the echoing screams.
“Well, you can split with him,” she nods toward Beater Swimmer. “But, I’m sorry you can’t swim with him,” she nods toward Weaving Elder Swimmer. “He has a Blood Condition.”

PP smiles unsure. A Blood Condition? What the hell did that mean? Especially since she’s been instructed not to share his lane. Did he leak? And if so, wouldn’t that be a reason to keep him out of the pool altogether? Or maybe his Blood got out easily. If PP happened to kick him, which was highly doubtful, usually someone kicked her, but saying it happened, that PP got in Blood Condition Swimmer’s lane and accidentally kicked him, would he start bleeding uncontrollably?

Was he a Swimming Hemophiliac?

This didn’t seem like such a good idea. Allowing a Swimming Hemophiliac in the Oakland Y’s public pool.

PP shivers (or is it shudders?) as she watches the Lifeguard bend down and start to unhook one of the lane lines, sliding it over to make a new lane where the Spaced Out Water Walkers are now getting out.

“Here, just one minute, and I’ll have this lane for you,” she huffs, as she pulls the heavy line (Why are they so heavy? PP has wondered this for years. They’re just plastic) over and hooks it onto the wall.

PP grins, happy now that she’s got her own lane, 2 over from the Hemophiliac.

Sliding on her fins, she hops into the water, warm and welcoming in its gray blueness. Zooming down the lane, she glances over as Swimming Hemophiliac taps another swimmer in the next lane on the shoulder to let him know he’s done-- he can have his lane. Then Swimming Hemophiliac climbs under the lane line into the kid mayhem. Stands at the side of the pool watching them in unabashed delight.

Well, PP thinks, at least someone likes the kids! All the same, she did hope he didn’t get brained by some rambunctious mite. Cuz if he did?

PP turns at the wall and starts to giggle to herself.
Hell, she’s not going there.
At least not now that she’s got her own lane!
Kid free. Kick free. But most of all
Hemophiliac Free!

Monday, February 19, 2007

What a Welcome at the Oakland Y

“You have such a Beautiful Stroke.”
“Thanks, it’s such a Beautiful Pool.”
“That it is. That it is….”
PP dives back under the water as Compliment Woman goes back to her water jogging, rocking gently to the vibes in her oversized headphones wrapped around her dyed Blonde African American Braids.

Finally, PP has taken the plunge and joined the Y. It feels good, even with the over-chlorination and lane-sharing confusion. Cute young Dyke in the Hot tub greets PP with a lovely smile and a “Nice Suit!” PP has her ear plugs in so can’t hear the rest of what she says, but with that smile it musta been nice.

And then Compliment Woman.

Everyone must know that PP is not longer just checkin out the joint, but is really a Member now. There’s a different, friendlier welcome in the air today. And all those compliments.

Well, any Swimming Kitty would be thrilled, especially when even the cute Vietnamese woman who signed PP up complimented her on her smile after takin her membership picture.

What a welcome!

But then.
Oh dear. PP is happily swimming her Beautiful Stroke down the middle lane when she spies wiry old guy with lots of hairy limbs and a crazed look in his eye wandering up and down the deck scoping out the lanes. Don’t ask how PP knows he's crazed since the chlorine makes it difficult to see, but she does. He’s got that crazy lumber. You know the one?

Swimming praying swimming praying. PP hopes hopes hopes that he doesn’t choose her lane.

Of course he does.
Why do the crazy ones always choose her?
Must be that beautiful stroke. It’s so enticing.
PP better work on a less inviting splash for next time.

Crazy Lumberer is also a Crazy Crooked Take Over the Entire Lane Oblivious Swimmer. Yup. The kind that starts out on his back and flaps around with both arms flailing over his head in the most crooked chaotic fashion imaginable.

PP tries, at first, to swim around him. It’s a close call the first time she passes. The next time, he does knock into her but he’s so spastic she can barely feel it.
Still. PP doesn’t want him braining her while she’s coming up for air.
Should she move?
PP doesn’t want to appear too rude on her first day. After all, maybe he’s a regular and she’ll run into him again (figuratively speaking, she hopes!). Well, hell, everyone in the pool is a member so she’ll definitely run into him again.

Did she make a mistake? Is she gonna be plagued with Chaotic Spastic Lumberers during her YMCA tenor?

PP stops and watches him floating kinda in the middle of the lane. Once in awhile, he brings both arms over his head and splashes down, taking up the entire lane.
There’s no fucking way PP can get around him.

Glancing at Real Swimmer Woman in the lane next to her, savvy in her navy blue Speedo two-piece, red Zoomer fins, PP thinks, she’d be so much better.
“Mind if I share your lane?”RSW barely gives PP a glance as she studies the clock.
“I can’t really get around him,” PP nods toward CSL.
RSW nods in easy recognition, smiling sympathetically now. “Yeah. Sure. I’m almost finished.”

And off PP goes, happily zooming past CSL who continues to spaz down the middle of the lane now next to her, oblivious to her abandonment of his lane. Hell, it was HIS lane from the get go!

And so it goes-- PP’s first day at the Y as a member.
Mixed reviews except for all the compliments.

Those are never mixed.

Grinning, PP finishes her last lap just as Enormous White Water Buffalo Guy on Crutches limps toward her lane. Grins down at her. “Mind if I share your lane?”
Relieved, PP tosses her kickboard on the deck. “I’m getttin out. It’s all yours.”
”Good Timing,” WBGonC nods.

Yup, you can say that again, PP thinks as she hops out of the pool and heads for the Hot Tub where she thankfully sinks into smack in the middle of Vibrant African American Community Talk. "YOU Gotta let those youngsters know. The doors were opened for them. But now they're closing. Those doors they will be closing if you don't up and take advantage of them. I hear you girlfriend. I hear you......"

And with a tired blissful grin, PP settles down to "hear" all about it.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Swimming Kitty Works? DAMN!

Why oh why must a kitty work? It makes everything so tiresome. And tiring!

PP had the (or so she thought) practical thought to join the YMCA so she could swim after work with her new job. They want her to work at 9 in the morning? Imagine that! So no morning swim on Wednesdays and Saturdays. (They want her to work Saturdays? How is that possible?)

They want her to work all day. Even lunchtime?
No noontime swim?
PP hates this!
Club Mills is only open for a few hours a day. Early morning and evening. Noontime. It just wasn't gonna work!
What's a swimming kitty to do?

So, PP knows that the Y is open all the time. Something crazy like 5 am to 10 pm everyday! Yahooo! So, she thinks, hell, why not join the Y and swim after work at say, 7:30 or 8?

Seemed like a good idea……
Till PP tried it.
She was just too damn tired! The thought of driving thro the stupid tunnel and then down the dark freeway to the scary Broadway Y just was not as appealing as heading home to snuggle with the kitties and watch her tape of AMC!

So, no Y on Tuesday night.
No Y on Wednesday Night.
Maybe Sat?

Yes, this could work. At least it did for one week when she got a free pass. Made herself drive to the Y in the rain on a late grey Saturday afternoon. Completely exhausted after brainstorming with wacky psych students on their dubiously broad Masters Theses….


So, PP knew a swim would be divine if she could only get herself to do it.
And she did.
And it was lovely.

The cute Asian guy that she shared a lane with gave her a very welcoming smile.
And the lady wearing the shower cap while jogging didn’t seem too weird. (Maybe compared to the Psych students?)
And the immensely breasted Anne Rice Reading Dyke in the locker-room just seemed homey.
And the pretty girl with the alabaster skin and pert young breasts spacing out after her hot tub?

Yeah, PP kinda liked the Y. She could get to be a member. Maybe not read Anne Rice or wear a shower cap in the lap lanes, but the other perks?

These could very well be an excellent way to ‘chill out’ after ‘stressing out’ on those cold rainy windy Saturdays.