Monday, April 30, 2007

Fast Friends

PP wishes she could write elegant purrfect stories like Jhumpa Lahiri, whose stories she’s been savoring for the last few days, but alas, she’s sadly lacking in such classy craft. Of course, Lahiri may not write pool stories as well as PP, but then again, what the hell good are pool stories if they don’t pay the rent? (Granted, Lahiri may also have gone thro dry spells with her writing, who knows? And now that she’s got the movie out about her novel, The Namesake, she’s in the money. Hell she could probably buy her own island with pools all around, but then, again, why would she care and….)

Oh damn!

PP has no idea what she’s writing about.

Shall we start over?

What happened at the YMCA today? Nothing of note. PP thinks this is a good thing, esp. since too much happens all the time everywhere. Bridges burning up. (An oil tanker crashed and infernoed the Macarthur Maze over the weekend. PP was afraid to take the freeway home from the Y for fear that the traffic would be horrific, but the drive up Broadway was horrific in its own way. Lanes blocked by loading and unloading mighty truck carriers—Broadway Auto Row has lots of loading and unloading to do. So much in fact that as PP was driving past the Nissan dealership and had to stop in the middle of traffic to allow a Yahoo to back a new Z down the truck ramp landing almost smack dab on top the Geo that PP caught her breath and swerved into the next lane, narrowly missing a silver BMW convertible with Mr. Suave Shaved Headed African American Wheeler Dealer yaking on his cell.

So….PP had to consider just how much the rest and relaxation from her uneventful day at the Y was worth.

Was it worth almost crashing into Mr. Suave?
Was it worth the heart racing sweaty palms following the above near miss?
Was it worth the hilarious hot tub with the two crazed Chinese swimmers?
Hell yeah!

Swimmer #1 PP had spied in the pool during her swim. Her blue flowered suit woefully see through, but of course, #1 didn’t give a shit even if she had noticed. She did have on the most delightful shower/swim cap with a giant hot pink Doggie and yellow rubber duckies lining the border. She had her pale blue jogging belt that was completely unnecessary since the pool is only 3.4 feet deep. But what the hell, the jogging belt helped with the workout. PP had no clue how, but was sure that there was some complicated reason for it.
Or not.
Maybe the belt was just lying on the deck and #1 had picked it up, tried it on, and given it a go.

PP had noticed, or correction, couldn’t help but notice, #1 last week. She’d been in the Hot Tub, soaking before her swim, and then had gone to use the toilet. Remember the toilets at the Y are right there in the hot tub room. There’s a stall, but really that’s all. So, when #1 came out of the toilet and looked in the mirror, she noticed that she had little bits of toilet paper stuck all up and down her bare wet legs. Shrugging, she’d stood there, picking the wet tissue off in nonchalant methodicism.

PP hadn’t wanted to stare. But she had.
And thought. Damn. Too much intimacy with strangers here at the Y!

Today, though, #1 had either gotten all the TP off already, or hadn’t followed the same routine but instead had come in the Hot Tub after her swim. PP was soaking in her Post Swim Space Out Euphoria, when #1 entered the tub. Naked except for her string of white pearls (were they real, PP wondered?) overlaid with a yellow rope necklace for her locker key, and still donning her hot pink doggie with the duckies shower/swim cap. She gave PP a snaggled toothed grin as she entered, planting herself at the opposite side of the tub and proceeding to do some sort of kicking exercises.
The Hot Tub was no place to slough off for #1!

Then enter her friend, #2, in her black suit and constant laugh. As soon as she splashed down into the tub, a loud and friendly gossip session started up as #2 started to jump up and down spastically in the center of the tub creating little waves that washed over PP’s chin.

They were very busy in the Hot Tub, PP thought. Both with the exercise and the talking. PP wondered what they were saying, but not knowing Chinese, just felt like she was back in China. The lone white woman privy to nothing as all the women yak yak yakked!

Maybe they were talking about their workouts?
PP had to smile to herself.
Yeah, right.
They were probably complaining about their husbands and kids. But then, they seemed so happy. #2 just kept laughing and laughing. Something was very funny and PP so wished she knew what it was, but….

Then again, maybe it was better to not know. To just guess. To let herself relish the anonymity that was the Y for her. So different from Mills where everyone knew her, if not by name, at least by sight, so that in the hot tub there, she was always chatting to someone.

PP missed this sometimes. But not today. Today she was just happy to be in the tub, with these two friends, for it was very clear that they were fast friends, and not be responsible for reacting or listening or participating in the conversation at all.

Not even eavesdropping. Which granted, was one of PP’s favorite pastimes, but sometimes even this seemingly passive activity was exhausting.

And so, PP knew that while she was never gonna write stories like Jhumpa Lahiri, she was gonna keep writing stories about swimming and tubbing and eavesdropping and driving and hell…..

Why not?
No one else could write a Pool Story, like PP.
At least she liked to tell herself this as she climbed outta the tub and headed off for the shower.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


When in Paradise, Dashingly Handsome Boyfriend hankers for adventure, while PP purrfurs to lounge about under a palm, devouring Trollope. Sometimes, he can rouse her for a walk on the beach or a drive down the coast, but this takes some coercion on his part. Or bribery works.

PP will usually do anything for a swim!

So, the day he wanted to find a beach outta the rain, PP shrugged, and nodded, what the hell? As long as she got to swim in the sea (or a pool—the pools were FREE on Oahu, can you even believe that? Now there’s civilization for you!), PP was happy.

And lord knows, DHBF wanted to keep her happy.

So, they hopped in the Pontiac Grand Am—yes, the rental car was supposed to be a Tercel, but they were outta the compacts at Alamo, so the gas-guzzler muscle car was theirs for a week.
What a way to tour the island!

But the rain! PP was trying to tell herself that it was a good thing. That with the rain was less sun and so less chance of more skin cancer. But yet…..she longed for a bit of that bright yellow light on the blue turquoise sea, so down the coast they went. To the awesome snorkel beach at the dead volcano next to Diamond Head, H Cove (PP can’t remember the entire name of this beach, but it did start with an H—close enough for a PP blog.)

Heading down the coast, it rained rained rained! PP was getting pretty cranky about both the rain and her bladder. She really hadda go to the bathroom. Thank God for the Sport of Golf in Hawaii. Those country clubs all had great bathrooms. The one on the way to the awesome snorkeling beach was bigger than their condo and smelled like bottled hibiscus.

PP was in Bathroom Heaven.

No wonder she loved Hawaii!

Yet, later, pulling up to the parking lot of the awesome snorkel beach, PP spied too many tour buses full of Japanese Hello Kitty Swimmers. Damn. The snorkel beach was a tourist trap?

The parking lot lady was fat and friendly. “You can just pay a $1, and stay for 15 minutes. If it’s not your cup of tea, you get your dollar back.”
DHBF nods, smiles, hands her a dollar. “Can’t lose, eh?”

Glancing around the parking lot, PP thought otherwise. It was fucking Disneyland. In addition to the tour buses, there were hundreds of rental cars full of screaming pasty families from Minnesota to Texas, armed to the hilt with their snorkels, beach chairs, ice chests, laptops, and umbrellas.

This looked like a big Adventure Mistake, PP thought. But she was trying to be more flexible. Have an open mind and not be so set in her ways. There was more to Paradise than Trollope and Kailua Beach.

From what PP could see, the More was Wrong.

Undaunted, DHBF bounded up to the lookout point. “You just wait here, and I’ll go check it out,” he called back to her, delighted.
PP felt the crankiness creep in despite her resolve. Hell, maybe at least she could find a bathroom.

Following him up the hill, she caught up to him and looked down the rocky cliff at the most beautiful turquoise corralled cove she’d ever seen.
Too bad it was chalked full of screaming families.
“I don’t know….” she murmured. “Looks kinda crowded, but it’s not raining at least.”
DHBF nodded enthusiastically. “Yeah! Should we try it?”PP shrugged, trying to be adventurous, but it was really against her better instincts. While the beach was incredibly beautiful, the droves of tourists weren’t.
She glanced over at him. He was smiling but worried. Knew that she wanted to go, but couldn’t contain his excitement.
“Okay,” she headed back to the car, “Let’s get our stuff and head on down.”
”You sure it’s ok?”
“Yeah, sure. Maybe I can find a bathroom.”
Grinning he nodded. “I’m sure they have a bathroom.”
”Yeah, Disneyland usually does,” she muttered as they started to gather their stuff outta the Grand Am.

Confused and cranky, PP stood in the middle of a crowd of sunburned tourists wolfing down French fries and talking on cell phones. Where’s the goddamn bathroom, she wondered. Glancing around, she spied it under a cave overhang, and headed toward it, narrowly missing a bleached blonde with a gargantuan plate of fries and catsup, followed by her water buffalo hubby, in gold chains and wrong too tan.
Damn. This was not the beach for her. Just use the bathroom and fuck the adventure, PP thought to herself.
Inching through the crowd, the smell of grease and Coppertone enveloping her, PP stopped at the “CLOSED FOR CLEANING” sign and stood staring at it, crestfallen.

Hell, can’t she even go to the bathroom at the French Fry and Gold Chain Beach? What a gyp. Wonder if they can still get their dollar back.

“Did you find the bathroom,” DHBF caught up with her after she’d turned and headed back up toward the parking lot.
“Yeah, it was closed.”
”That’s what I said. Let’s get the hell outta here.”
“Yeah, I agree. It’s costs another 5 bucks to get down to the beach.”
”You’re kidding.” PP shook her head. No bathroom and lots of grease, both of a fried and human variety.

No thank you.

Back in the car, she breathed a sigh of relief. “Can we stop at the Golf Course again so I can go to the bathroom?”
Grinning, DHBF looked over at her, “Of course.”
“And then can we go back to Kailua Beach?”
“Just what I was thinking.”
“Cool, cuz the French Fries and Gold Chain Beach really made me long for Trollope and a palm.”
”Me, too,” he chuckled as he pulled into the parking lot of the Diamond Head Country Club and let PP out to find the bathroom, happy now that she was gonna not only get to use the Condo Bathroom again, but also supurr relieved that the Adventure was over!

Muscle Mass

If PP has to listen to one more Trying Too Hard to be Positive Before She Crashes middle aged woman rhapsodize about the golden opportunity presented by fuckin menopause to embrace CHANGE and IDENTITY, she’s gonna scream! ARRRRRRGGGGHHH!!!! (Sorry must be the Hormones yelling? That is one nice thing about menopause, you can blame ALL physical and emotional maladies on it. )

When Muscle Mass Loss Menopause Woman started to get into the Menopause is Opportunity Lecture, PP almost puked. I mean. What the hell is so great about it?
The Hot Flashes?
The Night Sweats?
The Vaginal Dryness. (Sorry, but it’s true)
The Sleeplessness?
The Hypersensitivity to any and all chemicals from antihistimines to alcohol. (And Lord knows, PP needs that glass of wine when she comes home, esp. after a Menopause Lecture)
What else?

Oh, and don’t forget, Loss of Muscle Mass. Hell, MMLMW had already admitted that women start to lose their muscle mass (Has PP said that enuf times? It’s obviously bugging her!), so NOW IS THE TIME to start doing something about it. Weights. Weight bearing exercise. Swimming is great, its cardiovascular, but it’s not gonna help with the Muscle Mass Loss Situation.

What’s a Menopausal Swimming Kitty to do?

Take the weights into the pool?
Somehow, PP doubts this is what MMLMW had in mind, and after all, she was just trying to be helpful while undressing and dressing for their respective workouts at the YMCA.

PP hadn’t liked her right off the bat. She’d come in, demanded PP move outta her way. Okay, maybe she wasn’t that demanding but it felt that way after PP’s long day at Psycho University hearing about the Lost Souls of Maui and Orinda. Now, she just wanted to swim. So when MMLMW had barged in, glaring at PP for taking up the entire aisle (Hey, no one was around when PP first came in!), PP's fur had been more than a little ruffled.

“I need to get right there!” she’d announced, pointing at the floor. “Locker 732.”
PP glanced down at her crap spread out all over the floor. ‘Oh, ok. Sorry, I can move,’ she apologized crankily.
Then thought better of her Cranky State. After all here she was at the Y and this was obviously someone who knew her way around. She had a locker! And she was FIT. Solid, muscled, curvy Asian Woman. No nonsense. That muscle mass was calling.

“You a swimmer?” PP asked, knowing she wasn’t. How could PP tell? She just could. There was something about swimmers that set them apart. They were, oh, more soft? Less intense? Ummm….PP will have to think about this since she has known some very intense swimmers in her day.

But this woman, of course, just chuckled, and glanced up at PP as she was lacing her Athletic Shoes, “I swim, but no, I’m not a Swimmer.”
“Oh, what do you do?”
“Oh…I just swim.”Glancing at her suspiciously, MMW sighed, as she looked PP up and down. “Yes, it’s very important that we start working out with weights. We start to lose our Muscle Mass during menopause. How old are you?”

PP tried to keep the aghast reaction of ‘None of your fucking business’ going thro her brain from showing on her face. Doubted that she was successful, but MMLW wasn’t paying attention to such nuances. PP wondered, should she lie? Say she’s 39? Could she get away with it? Probably not since the subject of Menopause had already come up, so PP swallowed hard, admitted the truth. (Wait, she’s not gonna tell here. )

“I’m 48,” MMLW asserted strongly as she headed for the toilet. “It’s time you started doing something about it,” she called out as the tinkle trickle began.
“But it’s a time issue.” PP whined. “I mean, if I have time to make it here to the Y, I swim. I don’t really wanna give up my swimming time for weights.” PP also didn’t want to admit that she was supurr intimidated by the goddamn weights. So heavy and sweaty.


“You don’t have to do them all the time,” MMW continued after flushing the toilet. “You could just start slow, do it once a month. Get a buddy to exercise with.”
“That’s a good idea,” PP lies as she heads for the toilet too. It’s a little weird how the toilets are in the midst of the dressing area, the hot tub, actually they’re all over. So you’ve peeing and talking and …..okay, whatever. It’s weird. PP’s getting off the track here about peeing, but it is a Big Consideration with her. Did she list it with the Menopause Woes? You can add it on. Peeing every 30 minutes—Menopause. Don’t ask the details. Too icky!

When PP does return from the toilet, MMLW is sitting on one of the square wooden stools (Why does everyone sit on the stool, PP wonders? She never has, but has observed that everyone else does. Plops down. In bra and panties. Staring into space.
Exhaustion inspires stool use?)

Anyway, MMW is sitting on the stool, bent over a book, sniffling. PP thinks, oh no, she’s crying? But why would that be? About the book? About her loss of Muscle Mass? About Menopause?
Closing the book, she glances up at PP, and then smiles fakely. “Have a good swim.”
“Uh, yeah, you have a good workout too.”

Happily exhausted from the swim and hot tub, PP half wishes that she won’t run into MM woman again, but no, there she is, getting dressed. “You have a good swim?”
”OH, yeah, and did you have a good weight workout?”
”Oh, yes, those endorphins. They make all the difference.”
“That’s for damn sure,” PP agrees.
“Esp. now that I’m just starting Menopause.”
”Yeah, I’ve been in Menopause for years.”
“Really? Well, you’re doing the right thing.”
She was? PP shakes her head and smiles slowly in confusion, remembering the admonishment regarding swimming vs. weights only a little over an hour ago.

“Just think of our Mothers. All those kids and no one talked about IT.”
“Yeah….” PP thinks that talking about IT has its drawbacks, but hell maybe it’ll turn into a good story.
“IT is a Big Change, tho,” MMW muses. “But what I tell my friends, is that if you don’t like it, if you don’t like the New ME, well, then too bad. This is it and I’m glad of it.”
PP nods, not knowing what the hell she’s talking about. Menopause creates a New Me? Maybe so, for PP at least, it’s created a new Crankier Me.
“I see it as an opportunity for transformation and change, going forward to a New Tomorrow.”
Did PP just hear her right?
No, PP thinks she just made that part up.

Yet, maybe MMW had a point? If we can’t do anything about Menopause, then why not embrace it? Treasure it? Rejoice in it?


PP hates it. There’s nothing rejoicive about it on any level. Hell, maybe if she still had periods it’d be a relief on that end, but even with her friends that still have periods, it sounds like Menopause just messes their cycles up. Makes them unpredictable and painful.

So, what’s to Embrace?

PP glances over at MMW and shrugs. She is fit. And her Muscle Mass looks pretty good.

But still, PP wonders…..if Menopause is such a wonderful life transforming change, then why the Hell does everyone bitch about it?


Tossing her stuffs back in her big blue bag, PP heads out of the locker room and past MMW chatting with a new victim. “And I tell my friends, if they don’t like the NEW ME well then…..”

Giggling to herself, PP heads out of the locker room and into the gray rainy afternoon. Thankful that it’s Saturday but even more thankful that she’s finally learned what to do about Menopause.

Ignore it!

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Two Pool Day

No wonder PP is exhausted as she sits at the computer, 11:15 p.m.—after all it has been a two pool day. One for the Lovely I’s Water Therapy at the Big Blue Albany Pool; the other for PP’s own Water Therapy at the Oakland Y.

Therapy is hard work!

Yet, after hers, the Lovely I was still able to recite The Canterbury Tale’s Preamble in Middle English on the car ride home; and PP is still able to file her state income taxes on efile. What a nightmare. No pool at the IRS. Damn! A pool would really help. Then you could just put all those damn forms on their own little individual kickboards and float them out to their appropriately numbered section. The W-2 could head to the deep end. The 1099 for the little skimmer drain at the opposite end.

It’d be a very floaty way to do your taxes.

PP thinks she’ll suggest this to the IRS for next year.

In the meantime, remembering the day, PP’s swimming again at the Y in her own lane and thinking of how to tie together her two pool day. Glances over at the red faced rollypolly white gent with the bulbous nose clinging to a kickboard with a gigantic grin on his face and it hits her.

Pools are Bliss. She sees it with Bulbous Nose Man. She saw it with the Lovely I walking up and down the Albany Pool chatting happily to the Asian Stroke Guy who lost his fiancĂ© over the Black Panthers. She sees it with the tiredly happy Mole Man making his way slowly slowly slowly up and down the ‘walk and stalk lane’ (no it’s not really called that) at the Y, his quiet smile belying the slowness of his water walk. She sees it with the Intense Bird Woman, entirely and completely in the Moment at the Lovely I’s water therapy, her determination to finish her workout with her overwhelmingly yellow equipment the only thing on her mind.

Yes. Pools are the answer to all for just a little while.

And so PP says goodnight to them all.

Good Night Mole Man.
Good Night Asian Stroke Guy.
Good Night Bulbous Nose Man.
Good Night Intense Bird Woman.
Good Night Lovely I.

But mostly, Good Night beautiful Pools from Albany to Oakland to Dalian to Amsterdam to Montreal to Arcata!

And may thee wander happly in the bluey aqua marine ferevereveer more!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Pretty Good for a Man with One Leg!

PP loves Sundays at the Y!
No scrounging for quarters. No worry that she’s lounging about in the Hot Tub too long and gonna get a ticket. No wishing she lived in the Suburbs where they have that unheard of luxury—a parking lot!
Nope. On Sundays. It’s free for all. Plus no one seems to be around much on Sundays. The construction workers are taking the day off. The office workers are watchin football on their wide screen TV’s. Or is it baseball now? The obnoxious screaming kids are home torturing their siblings.

So, on Sundays, PP feels a certain lightness from worry about the whole cranky parking sitch at the Y. Today, she pulls into a nice sunny metered spot on 23rd and sighs happily, preparing to brave whatever chaos may await her in the pool. Spies a Disorganized Giant White Guy with his gym bag splayed haphazardly on the asphalt outside his beat up Volvo two cars behind her and then a Jockey Looking Blonde Woman across the street, neatly throwing her big bag over her shoulders.

They all converge up Broadway at the same time, hitting a mighty wind tunnel.
“What’s up with all the Wind?” DGWG jokes.
JLBW makes some rejoinder but PP can’t really make it out cuz of the wind.
“…..guess it isn’t really a good idea for a White Guy to say that round here.”
Damn, PP thinks. What the hell did she miss now? Sounded like something politically incorrect. A favorite of hers.
“You a Tango Dancer?” he asks JLBW, who smiles, unsure, shakes her head. “Uh…no.”
He chuckles, then turns to PP, “You a Tango Dancer?”
“Hell, no.” PP laughs.
“It must keep you in pretty good shape,” JLBW tries. PP glances across him at her. Maybe she likes him? Though he doesn’t seem like a match for her. DGWG is lumbering between them, his ungainly pasty legs slowing to match the two women’s gait.
“Yeah, maybe,” he answers her, “It’s just my Obsession right now.”
Both women laugh uneasily. “Plus it’s really a good way to find a relationship.” He guffaws heartily as he speeds up to bounce pass them, climbing the stairs to the gym. Not waiting for a response to this line.

PP and JLBW make their way up the stairs together. PP looks at her sideways. “Haven’t heard that line before.”
“No,” JLBW laughs.
“Maybe he thought since he was surrounded by blondes he had a better chance.”
She looks at PP in perplexity, then shrugs, holding open the door for them to present their ID’s to the overly friendly clerk, (Did he get some this morn, PP wonders), collect their towels and head down the stairs away from the Tango Studio (Does the Y have even have a Tango Studio?) and into the Women’s Locker room.

“You’re not finished already, are you?” PP asks as she dips her toes into the cool gray water after watchin Pudgy African American Rolling Swimmer make his way slowly down the lane toward her.
He turns round, his goggles perched on top his curly grey hair. “10 laps!” he announces, “Pretty good for a Man with One Leg.”
PP nods, astonished. So that’s why he was rolling so strangely in the water. Only one leg to kick with. Though PP doubts that he’d be much of a swimmer even with another leg.
“Wow!” she exclaims, beaming at him as he heads toward the stairs and his awaiting wheelchair. “10 laps! That’s fantastic!”
He nods, dignified and tired. “Yeah it is. You have a good day now.”
“Thanks, you too,” she returns before diving into the now empty lane and zipping to the other end, her two legs kicking mightily as she revels in their working.

“You are a very good swimmer!”
“Thanks,” PP smiles as she sinks thankfully into the hot tub’s warm embrace. She’d seen Swimming Compliment Woman in the lane next to her, arguing with a Gold Chain Guy about some feminist issue. PP couldn’t quite make it out between her earplugs and being underwater most of the time, but she’d hear SCW nod and point, then exclaim, “WOMEN HAVE A DIFFERENT BIOLOGICAL CLOCK THAN MEN! Then GCG would shake his head, laugh, point his finger at her, “Now you got me going. I’m gonna prove my point. I got two granddaughters. Both more aggressive at 14 and 16 than the guys.”
A couple more laps and PP would catch another snippet. “More men are joining the Nursing Profession every day,” SCW was asserting seriously.Was GCG a nurse?
PP didn’t think so, but hell appearances can be deceiving, esp. when you’re wet.

So, when SCW pronounced to the air in the locker room PP’s Beauty Swimming, PP wasn’t really surprised since she’d been in the lane next to her and had noticed her too, though admittedly not for her swimming. More for her animation, large blue flowered suit and fake red curls cut short round her pale face.
“I’m from Minnesota,” SCW continues. “Land of 10, 0000 lakes.”
PP nods as she tries to figure out a way to dunk under the hot water without appearing rude. “So, I learned how to swim when I was a girl. We had swimming in Jr. High and High School. Were you on a swim team?”
PP nods after quickly dunking under. “Yeah, I used to be on a swim team, but not anymore.”
“I was never on a swim team, but we all learned to swim. Minnesota! Land of 10,000 lakes. But the snow! It'd be snowing on Halloween. We’d go out trick or treating in our galoshes. That’s what we called them. And then come Easter, we’d be out hunting for eggs in our skis.”
PP nods. Sounded like hell to her.
“My friends, who still live there, they have snow sculpting in their garages and cross country skiing round the neighborhood. They Embrace the Snow.”
SCW shakes her head, “I never got that.”
“No, me neither,” PP agrees as she sinks down into the warm soft water, thankful that it never or rarely snows in Oakland, and NEVER snows in the pool at the YMCA!

Outside on the Broadway Wind Tunnel sidewalk, PP saunters back toward her no ticket guaranteed Geo. Passes a quiet round African American Man waiting patiently in a wheel chair. Notices he has only one leg. Smiling, she pauses, “See you in the Pool next time,” she calls out to him. He stares at her perplexed. Of course doesn’t recognize her dry and non-pink suited. Or maybe he doesn’t recognize her at all? PP falters a bit. Should she not have said anything? Shrugging, she tries again, “Maybe next time you can do more than 10 laps!”

Now a sudden glimmer of recognition passes over his fine features, and he smiles and nods, “You have a good day now,” he says softly as PP turns and heads up Broadway, the lazy afternoon sun and her two good legs suddenly lifting her mood out of the snow, and into the windy blue skies of Downtown Oakland.

Monday, April 09, 2007


Post mammogram, PP heads out to the pool, relief following her clean bill of health spilling over into the chlorinated air of the YMCA. Surveys the scene.

Swimming chaos.

3–4 swimmers per lane. And at the Y, this means trouble. Harried Lifeguard catches her as she steps onto the deck, brow furrowed through her tired smile. “Hi, what speed are you?”

PP glances at the lanes. No one’s goin at too brisk a clip. So she shrugs; gives the standard swimmer noncommittal answer, “Medium, I guess.”

“Cool,” HL answers, nodding officially. “He,” she points to a Confused African American Gent, “is a medium too, so both of you can circle swim here,” she points to a lane with 3 zigzagging women in it. “That’ll be a nice medium lane for you.”

PP thinks NOT as she glances at CAAG, who shrugs and tries for a grin, but PP can tell hell, he just wants to swim, too. They both glance over at the ‘slow’ lane with one Meandering White Guy with lots of back moles. PP shakes her head, “I don’t understand,” she points to MWG, alone in his own lane, “Why do we hafta swim circles here? Why does he get his own lane?”

CAAG chuckles in a serious way, “Evidently, he has some sort of Blood Condition. If we touch him, he’ll bleed and then they’ll hafta close the pool.”

“Ah, well, guess we better not get in HIS lane,” PP giggles as she remembers the Swimming Hemophiliac.

Yet, doesn’t it seem a bit risky, not to mention unfair, that the SH gets his own lane while the rest of the swimmers are relegated to circle swimming? Not that he shouldn’t get to swim, but does he hafta swim at swimmers rush hour? In fact, maybe swimming isn’t really a good idea for him at all. If bumping him will cause the entire pool to be closed down. Hell, it’s nice the Y is so accommodating to its Various Swimming Wounded, but giving SH his own lane everyday seems a bit much.

Couldn’t he take up some other sport? Say, trampoline?

No, maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea. What if he jumped so high that he bumped into the ceiling or jumped so spastically that he fell off? All that blood would splatter all over the walls and they’d have to close the entire facility down.

PP giggles as she prepares to get ready for the dreaded circle swim. Slowly slowly picking out her kickboard, pull buoys. Maybe if she takes her time someone will get out. She’s noticed that no one swims for very long at the Y. Usually only 20 minutes or so…..and now!


SH is getting out and motioning for CAAG to take over. PP follows him, “I’m pretty slow,” CAAG grins.

“Oh, that’s ok,” PP shrugs, “We can just split the lane.”

He looks at her dubiously. She’s not sure why till she watches him get in and plow down the center of the lane causing the most ferocious washing machine splashing she’s seen in a long time.

Oh, well, she thinks, at least I don’t have breast cancer, and dives in beside him, zipping by as he continues to thunk mightily through the turquoise water, lit by the afternoon light filtering through the high slanted windows.

It’s almost like Kailua Beach, PP thinks but then opens her eyes to the intense chlorine.
Well, there’s a lot more chlorine than Kailua Beach, she giggles as she turns around at the wall and heads off to continue her workout.

Afterwards, soaking in the Hot Tub, exhausted from her swim, which actually turned out fine since all the 20 minute swimmers got out, leaving PP with, miraculously, her own lane, she sinks tiredly into the soothing warmth as Topless Chinese Woman with her faded blue flower suit rolled over her bottom sits languidly on the side of the tub, staring into space. PP tries to make eye contact, but no go. Sometimes she feels like she’s back in China with all the beautiful, silent Chinese women spacing out in the locker room. Another one gets in, this one slimmer, her breasts like perfect white cupcakes perched on her chest. Sinks into the tub and closes her eyes. PP watches as TCW shifts around on the deck, her long, brown nipples pert and unashamed.

Breasts. So many of them. PP loves the women’s locker room at the Y. It’s so full of breasts. But then, she thinks about her own. And how worried she’d been an hour ago during the mammogram. How if she got breast cancer this would just be the worst. Much worse than if the melanoma had taken hold. It’s hard to explain since the melanoma is frankly much more likely to be deadly. Something about losing a breast or breasts. Well, it must be devastating. PP thinks of O’s friend, the Beautiful Redhead, who’s just had a mastectomy. How horrible this must be. She had such Beautiful Breasts.

But yet, O had said the prognosis was good. That they’d gotten all the Cancer. That the BR would probably be fine……

PP sighs as she glances down at her pink suit, her breasts still tightly bound within its confines. Why doesn’t she take off her top like all the Chinese women?

Was PP really that shy?

Especially since she should be celebrating her Breasts after her successful Mammogram?

Hell, why not?

PP hesitates as another stunning woman gets into the tub. Some Asian Mix with a large tattoo of a rooster on the small of her back. Wait. Could that be right? Could she really have a rooster tattooed on her back?

Hell, maybe. She could have been born in the year of the Rooster and so she wanted to what?

Remind her back of it? Let all the women at the Y know?

Somehow, this seemed too weird as PP watches her small soft breasts sink into the tub next to her.

It was all So Sexy Safe in the Y Hot Tub.

PP started to slip her top off but then…..

Got shy.


Shrugging, she climbed out of the tub. Maybe next time she’ll go topless.

It took awhile in Greece too!

Grinning, PP headed into the shower, nodding at a statuesque African American Princess with Enormous Gold hoop earrings and majestic breasts to match.

Yup, maybe next time she’ll bare her breasts, till then, PP sighed a happy smile as she headed into the shower to her favorite stall, #26, turned on the hot water, closed the dark green curtain, and took her top off.