Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Chaos!






“You swim in the water. The rest of us just walk.”

PP nodded at Well-Preserved African American Gent, M’s talkative friend. She was tired and ready for the hot tub; it’s been a helluva week at the Y. The holidays make everything so hard, esp. the pool. Yet, she’s glad to know that her swimming ability still somehow survives the Chaos.

And why so much Chaos at the Y? It’s like everyone in the entire Bay Area swarmed into the YMCA on Christmas Eve. And then to top it off, DL thought that it was a Meter Holiday and got a damn ticket!

“That ain’t no Christmas Card” the smart-ass clerk at the front desk had remarked to DL when she showed her the ticket.
No. It’s not. It’s one hella expensive trip to the gym.

And then the chaos in the locker room! Crowds of women in the hot tub, hanging out on the narrow white bench in their towel turbans, waiting in line for the showers. PP was definitely feelin claustrophobic and overwhelmed.

Not to mention, Bragging I’ll Save You From a Coma Woman had everyone rapt with her story of keeping an elderly Indian Woman from slipping into a Coma while hot tubbing.

“How’d you do that?” PP was naturally curious since it seems like Comas are all the rage at the Y.

“I just knew that I had to keep her Core alive. Her Consciousness There. So I just took bottles of cold water and kept on pouring them over her head and she kept on just waking up before slipping into that darker world. She's had a Hard Life. You could see It in her Eyes.”






PP had nodded, loving the poetry of this line in addition to this vital anti-coma resuscitation information.

You never know when she might need it. Though she hoped she wouldn’t. Not being the resuscitation type and all.

So, now she’s off to the sunny warmer climes of San Diego for the week. She hopes to swim at the Encinitas YMCA and also the Boys and Girls Club Sunshine Pool and maybe even the Claremont Pool and there will be less Chaos than what she's encountered this week in Oakland.

PP is hot on the Pool trail. She may even try to swim at the Super 8 Pool in Santa Clarita.






Now there would be a story!

So, Happy New Year and thank goodness the Christmas Chaos is over.

PP will continue to swim on water.

She’ll leave the walking on water to you know Who!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Rule Breakers





“They know they not suppose to be hanging stuff on there.” Rhinestone Turban Tyrant (What is it about turbans?) wrinkled her nose and sighed and frowned and shifted and all around harrumphed at the large pair of pink rose panties hanging over the wooden bar by the sauna rocks. “They’s rules about that.”

“Don’t you know that the rules are for Other People?” Super Swimmer Woman chuckled. It was a joke after all. Who cares if the panties are hanging out to dry in the sauna? Seemed like a good idea to PP.

“That the problem,” RTT continued, truly miffed. It was no joke to her.

“They say that if we see someone breaking the rules, we’re supposed to call upstairs,” SSW added, “But I don’t like Policing People.”

“Yeah, it’s not relaxing,” PP affirmed, thinking how she wasn’t gonna go around calling up the front desk every time she witnessed a ‘rule’ being broken.

Which reminds her of how Sneaky Oprah booby trapped her studio audience the other day by setting up a ‘snitch situation’ to test them out. Some of the empty chairs in the studio had ‘reserved’ flyers on them, and one of Oprah’s producers came in and looked around and then snatched the flyer off the chair and sat down, trying to take advantage of someone else’s ‘reserved’ seating. Then the women all around the Seat Stealer gave her dirty looks or laughed, or raised their eyebrows, but no one ‘snitched’.





Oprah was appalled by this. But the Guest Psychologist wasn’t surprised. People won’t ‘risk’ their own safety for a ‘moral principle’ unless it directly affects them.




Oprah’s such a Devious Bitch. Like anyone would ‘tell’ on someone that took a reserved seat: PP knows she wouldn’t. Hell, she thought it was empowering to go into Oprah’s Studio Audience and snatch away a Reserved sign and then sit yourself down.

“They know better. They been tol before,” RTT further scolded into the Utopian Air.

“But what’s wrong with hanging their stuff there?” PP asked, broken from her Oprah musings. “I mean, is it gonna catch on fire?”

RTT turned on PP and gave her a look like ‘Are you kidding me?’ but then answered anyway. She was the Authority, “That..... Yes...... Plus, it’s Unsanitary.”

Unsanitary? Now PP really wanted to pursue this idea. How could the drying panties be unsanitary? Were their Panty Koodies wafting on the waves of heat into the Sauna air and infiltrating all the women's opening pores causing all sorts of dirty diseases?

Somehow, this didn’t seem likely, but then, again, what did PP know?

Even so, PP wasn’t gonna ‘snitch’ on Diabetes Woman (for this is who had hung her Panties out to dry). Nor was she gonna risk her Utopian Experience by telling RTT that she was full of shit.

No, not her. She had her own agenda when it came to Utopia. Call her selfish, but unless Oprah's around, PP isn't gonna stick her neck out.

It's just too much risk.

Besides, she's all for breaking the rules. Especially if a Turban Tyrant's involved.

Friday, December 05, 2008

It Stuck



"It stuck."
PP glances down at the murky water where Hot Tub Mama (HTM) is poking around with her large brown toe.
HTM makes a face: it's disgust and exasperation but also one of resignation. What do you expect with the riffraff that frequents the hot tub?

PP can't tell what is 'stuck' exactly, but she doesn’t try to see very hard. After all, HTM’s big bare foot isn’t what she wants to focus on when hot tubbing.
"Band-Aid." HTM nods.




"Oh," PP nods, still unable to see the object she's pointing to. Yet does register a similar disgust--aren't band-aids banned in the pool and hot tub?
"It stuck," HTM repeats.
"I guess it can't squeeze through the cracks of the drain down there," PP offers.
"Ummm...." HTM nods. It's enough to convey that….. what? Who knows? After all, PP is stuck on not being able to see what's stuck so she guesses she’ll just have to take HTM’s word for it that it's a Band-Aid.

Several other women are in the hot tub, babbling away in Chinese. They don't pay attention to the 'stuck' conversation. It’s unimportant, but PP doesn't know what is important since she doesn't speak Chinese. Probably food. Or kids. Or lazy good for nothing husbands. Or the lack of hot water in the showers. Or all of the above.

Probably not stuck band-aids!

Frowning Asian Woman slides down the steps and grins over at PP, a first. This pleases PP. She hadn’t realized she was in FAW’s scope at all.
“Hello,” she nods as she squeezes in between PP and HTM.
“It stuck,” HTM begins again to FAW.
FAW peers curiously down at the pointed place. “Ummm….” she murmurs noncommittally.
“Band-aid," HTM grunts.
FAW’s frown increases, “Band-aid,"she repeats.
“It stuck,” HTM also repeats.

PP tries not to laugh.....





Someone is definitely Stuck.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Thanksgiving at Vichy Springs





Winding down the dark quiet country road to Vichy Springs, PP can barely contain her excitement! At last! Back to her favorite pool in the world (well, so far!). She can't wait to jump in.

And sure it's November. Thanksgiving weekend. The pool will be cooler than it was in June. She knows this and is prepared. She's brought her wet suit and her leggings and her anti-chill resolve.

She will swim in the Splendid Vichy Springs pool no matter what the temperature!

Now, tired but relaxed in post Thanksgiving haze with the family--so much food, so much T.V., not enough swimming (translation--no swimming!), PP is ready to dive in to the pool as she and DHBF tromp up the front steps lined with chubby orange pumpkins to the resort office.



"Hi, we have a reservation," DHBF greets the usual charming young man who helps out with the routine hotel check-in stuff. They chat, PP spaces out, dreaming of the pool and how she's going to dive in the next morning.

"And anything else I can help you with, just let me know. I'm going to be going home early tonight since it's the holiday but you can reach me on my cell--the number's posted on the front door here."
"Great, thanks," DHBF nods and hugs PP's round the waist as she leans into him.
"Before you go, can you tell me the temperature of the pool?" PP manages to ask in spite of her pool reverie.
"The Big Pool?" Charming Young Man is trying not to laugh, or is she being too sensitive & imagining his smirk? Her HSK is always on high alert when it comes to pool temps.
"Yeah, the Big Beautiful Pool!" PP grins.
"58."
"58 degrees?" she repeats. Could she have heard this correctly? Can a pool really get this cold? Impossible!
"Yeah, we've had some cold nights. The days have been warmer, but the nights. They've been pretty chilly."



"I guess so," PP nods, still in shock. 58 degrees! What's she gonna do? She was thinking that if the pool were, say, 72 or even 70, she'd just take the COLD plunge, don her wet suit, swim a really fast lap and then run screaming into the hot tub.

But 58 degrees?

Could she do that? Or would she go into swimming core temp shock? Freeze in mid-stroke and then sink like a big ice cube to the bottom of the pool?

"The hot tub is 104 and the champagne baths are 92," he offers unhelpfully as PP continues to stare at him in disbelief.

"See, Honey," DHBF teases, "we'll just have to go in the hot tub and baths this time."

"Yeah, I guess so."

But PP is not going to listen to such sage advice. She's gonna get the wetsuit out and dive into the 58 degrees anyway. Throw her HSK chill factor to the polar bears!





And so she does. The next morning she rises with the warming sun. It must be nearly 70 degrees outside, so this is good. She stands at the edge of the blue blue pool and sighs at its clear inviting calm. Takes a deep breath. Then puts on her wetsuit. Her mask. Her fins. And then....

Are you kidding?

No way was she gonna swim in 58 degree water no matter how delicious it looked.

Appearances are so seductive, esp when it comes to your favorite pool in the world!

But she won't be seduced. She knows where she's headed as she climbs up the gravel path, across the vine covered bridge to the 104 degree hot tub to soak up its soothing embrace.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Snow Swim????




"Ahhh....It feels so good on your back, doesn't it?"

"Oh, yes!" PP agreed, even though her neck was hurting much more than her back after her frigid swim at the Berkeley Y (Oakland was closed for "Family Float Night"--PP had considered trying to SINK all those families in some diabolical plot outta AMC, but then had decided it might be easier, though perhaps less satisfying, to just swim at the B. Y.)

Now in Utopia of Berkeley, she was finally thawing out and relaxing. And happy that someone was talking to her here at this Utopia even though it was AGAINST the rules! You may or maybe not recall how PP had marveled at a previous Berkeley Y visit how one of the rules listed on the Sauna Door was, "Please refrain from conversation".

Hello?

So when Good On Her Back Woman spoke, it was ,WOW!, a Sauna Rebel.

Well, she wouldn't expect anything less in Berkeley!

"I've been painting all day!" Berkeley Rebel sighed.
"No wonder your back hurts!"
"Yes. And it's an Old House. Had the original paint."
"Mmmm..." PP wasn't sure what the significance of this was, but it sounded harder on your back. That original paint. But why? It took more coats? Or it took more sanding off? Or, it was just inconsequential as far as back pain, and BR was just finally getting around to painting her house after 50 years?

"I try to do a lot of stretching in here. When I'm warm!" BR exclaimed completely off the paint topic. PP did note that this was another rule being broken. She was pretty sure the signage also forbade stretching in the Sauna.




"That's a good idea," PP agreed, trying to stretch her arms over her head without the neck pain. But hey, voila! It was gone--thanks to Utopia. At least for now.

"Yes, I find that I am much more able to stretch in here than out in the cold."
"Yeah, I don't stretch well in the cold. Or swim well in the cold. The pool was COLD tonight."
"Was it? I remember when I was in Munich....or was it Innsbruck....?" BR's voice trailed off wistfully; PP couldn't tell how old she was since it was so dark in the Berkeley Utopia, but maybe this was a memory that was coming out of long ago?

"Anyway, I think it was Munich. No it couldn't have been. We were there in the wrong time of the year. There couldn't have been any snow then..."
"Snow?"
"Yes, it was Innsbruck. And you wouldn't believe it. People would go swimming and then go jump in the snow and then jump back in the pool. And of course the pool felt warm compared to the snow. I had to do it once. Just to say I did it!" she proclaimed proudly, chuckling.




PP shook her head, laughing. "No way would I do it! I hate the Cold, esp. the Snow. I can't imagine combining the pool and the snow, unless I were inside a nice warm glass pool house and you could see the snow from the pool!"
"Yes! That was exactly it! It really was quite something."

PP nodded, even though she knew that BR couldn't see her. Swimming in the snow. Why would anyone do such a thing? Wouldn't the water from your wet swim suit then turn to ice? Or how does snow work anyway?

PP doesn't want to know.

"I should get going before I roll out of here. And believe me, that wouldn't be a Pretty Sight!" BR laughed at herself as she rose, out of the shadows and PP beheld a typical Berkeley Rebel Type: Roly Poly, 60 something, White Woman with long gray hair.

PP wanted to see her roll out to be honest. She'd never witnessed such an exit from Utopia.

But it was probably against the rules.

And it definitely would NOT feel good on your back!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I am Woman She is Woman.....




Resting her forehead on the shower wall, PP lets the warm water beat down on her tired head. After the swim. After the hot tub. After Utopia.

She's finally relaxed.
Until.....

A loud, disgusting, loogie spitting throat clearing snort to her right, at the end of the row of showers, breaks her Relaxation Trance.

Gross.

Why do people spit in the shower? Not only is there signage all over the YMCA shower scene forbidding such phlegmy transgressions, but it's also just goddamn inconsiderate not to mention unsanitary!

She glances in the Spitting Direction to see two women in a heated argument. She can't tell what they're saying. Part of this is cause they're too far away, the other part is that her ears are still plugged up with water and another part is that she's just too tired to try to gather a story. Sometimes it's just so much effort. She just wants to relax and not write, even if the story is right in front of her.

Or to the side of her.

Which this one was.

One of the women, PP knew. A sweet, pale Pear Woman who often chats with PP in the hot tub, but sometimes not, which is cool. She's gesticulating and her face is a Huge Angry Grimace as she glares at the woman who PP assumes in the Spitting Woman.

Spitting Woman she hasn't seen before. A brown, stout, folds on stomach woman, who has her back to PP and is also yelling.





It's a little disconcerting since such outbursts are relatively rare here at the YMCA, but they do happen.

So, PP speculates that Pear Woman is yelling at Spitting Woman for laying the huge blastoff sounding loogie in the shower, which from PP's perspective is reasonable. Though PP wouldn't say anything. Or maybe she might. It would depend on her mood. Though generally she doesn't want to start any confrontations at the Y. Esp with Stout Spitting Women.

And so, a few minutes later, after both women had finished their Yelling Showers, PP was drying off by the steam room when Pear Woman shuffled by, her face still in an angry frown. PP couldn't help herself; she had to find out the story.

"What was That all about earlier?" she asked, knowing that PW would know what she was talking about.
"She is so Rude. She told me. I can Not WASH THERE!" PW lifted one leg and pointed at her Vagina. PP didn't look too closely, but it was quite a dramatic showing.
"Really?" PP wanted the story to continue. "That's odd. Why did she care?"
PW shrugged, still mad. "I dunno. She told me I had to go THERE!" She pointed to the steam room.
This puzzled PP. You were supposed to go wash your vagina in the steam room and not the shower?
Interesting.




"That's weird," PP nodded.
"I know!" PW stamped her little bare foot and placed a pudgy hand on her hip. "I don't know what the problem is. I am Woman. She is Woman. What the Big Deal?"
"I don't know," PP offered unhelpfully. "That's a good point. We are all women here."
PW nodded in angry agreement. "I don't know her. I don't understand. I not go in THERE!"

And then she stomped off, her plump bottom wriggling in angry jiggles.

So. It wasn't about spitting at all, but about washing. PP thought about checking out the Steam Room and seeing if there were a crowd of Vagina Washing Women in there. But then again, this did seem a bit unlikely. While a good story.

Plus,why the banishment to the steam room anyway? Why not utilize the shower for this, admittedly, private activity in a public place. Cuz, maybe some women just took showers at the Y and didn't shower at home at all? Or maybe some women liked the exhibistionistic aspect of public showers. Though PP thinks this isn't the case. They just want to get clean.

And isn't this what being in the shower is all about? Washing? (Though PP has to admit that sometimes the Vagina Washing can get very inhibited, but this kind of inhibition fascinates rather that repulses her.)

As Spitting Woman must have demonstrated? Was she spitting in disgust at PW's Vagina Washing?

Could this really be?





Nah. This couldn't really be.
Or could it?
Well, if so, PP is gonna have to just point out to Spitting Woman that, in fact, the signage is very clear:
"No urinating, no spitting, no tooth brushing in the showers."
Nowhere does it say, "No Vagina Washing in the Showers! All Vagina Washing must be transacted in the Steam Room."

PP smiled.
Stories.
She just couldn't help finding them.
And then she was strangely compelled to write them down.
Now what the hell was that about?





Maybe she'd have to spend some time in the steam room to find out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

DL's Time Poem



you know time is passing cuz you're not saying that
anymore
you know its passing cuz you have to work again and run
outa the door
you know its passing cuz mac and dom are screaming proudly
you know its passing cuz they want their kibble badly and
LOUDLY





you know its passing cuz tidbit finally got you a chapter
you know its passing cuz you're hungry at utopia and after
you know its passing cuz lizard neck is back
you know its passing cuz you just wanna go to hawaii and
unpack





you know its passing cuz its fucking freezing outside
you know its passing cuz you had a melt down and cried
you know its passing cuz your hair is bad then beautiful
you know its passing cuz you were late answering this
email!!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

How do you know Time is passing?





"Where is everyone tonight?" PP asked DL as they luxuriated in the hot tub post swim and workout at the Y. All the usual suspects were absent this evening--no Diabetes Woman, No Hot Tub Mama, no Breast Pumping Woman, no Marvelous M.

"I dunno...." DL murmured, happy in the warmy bubbles.

"It's the showers." Super Swimmer Woman called out to them from her drying off routine at the bench. "They're cold."

"But how would you know they're cold till you got here?" PP asked.

SSW laughed her silent hunched over chuckle, shaking her head. "Good question."

"I think it's the Time Change," PP began. She likes to blame everything on the time change every year. This year she even rebelled. Didn't turn back her clocks for 3 days. She just HATES it when Daylight savings time ends. IT so sucks. The dark. The dark. And the dark.




"Maybe," DL nods.
"Yeah, everyone thinks it's really 10:30 instead of 9:30, so they're all at home watching Dirty Sexy Money instead of swimming," PP jokes.






True no one had been in the pool either. Which was lovely! A lane to herself. What a luxury even if the water was a bit cold. (Again, the cold water situation---the showers affect the pool? But how does the pool know the showers are cold? And why do cold showers mean a cold pool? Does the cold water run off the showers, down the drain and into the pool? Disgusting!)

And so, PP is always wondering, and tonight she wondered if it really was the time change. And then why is there a time change? And isn't Time just an artificial construct to quote her co-worker at WWU? And when she asked DL this, "How do we know that time is passing?"
DL had said, "Cuz you're not saying that anymore."
PP had to think about this for a moment and about how it was true. But then. How else do we know time is passing?

PP is always much more literal than DL, who is a poet and is always saying profound and poetic observations. So PP came up with this poem beginning with DL's profundity and ending with PP's literal soap operaness. If that's a word:


How do you know that time is passing?

You know Time is passing cuz you're not saying that anymore
You know it's passing cuz the can of cat food is empty



You know it's passing cuz your bangs are in your eyes again
You know it's passing cuz it's DARK
You know it's passing cuz your lizard neck is better
You know it's passing cuz the dove bars are all gone
You know it's passing cuz that crazy needy yin yang student just left
You know it's passing cuz you have to go to the bathroom again
You know it's passing cuz you're HUNGRY
You know it's passing cuz the water bottle is half empty
You know it's passing cuz it's goddamn standard time again
You know it's passing cuz the Election is FINALLY over
You know it's passing cuz you Eliana got eliminated from ANTM
You know it's passing cuz Reese asked Bianca to marry her on All My Children and Bianca said
YES!!!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tango Fanstasy





Such a delicious swim in the rain at Mills super warm bed bathtub pool!(The Lovely I had said her swim was like being in a cozy bed --all warm and snug--PP hadn't heard this comment, but only second hand from JJ--yet it made sense, for most people. But for PP, the pool is so much better than bed! Bed is so problematic what with neck aches, and wrong dreams and the stupid cat waking her up 5 times a night to be let out. The pool, on the other hand, is heaven! Esp. when it's warm and she has her own lane and the little rain drops come pelting down on her cap creating tiny cold beads of sound in the warm cocoon of the water!)



Yet this isn't what she was gonna write about. Of course there's the lady with Feline Obsession Disorder who showed PP and JJ her album (No, this is no joke--she ran outside in the driving rain to retrieve her cat photos to show JJ and PP her cats in various upside down poses in her beauteous garden while PP and JJ were trying to get outta the bathroom to the tune of the obnoxious screaming swim team girls who were yelling about how they'd be right out, "Just gimme a minute, Kristy! I just gotta take a Poop and call my mom.)




Anyway, FOD woman was insane with her cat photos and PP and JJ were suitably cat polite, but this is just too much to write about right now.

No. PP really wants to write about Tango.

Prof Russian Woman Swimmer with an opinion about everything and an expert on everything was encouraging JJ to take Tango lessons after JJ mentioned that her neighbor or a friend of her neighbor or her cousin's neighbor or whatever taught Tango and wouldn't that be fun? But she needed a partner. And PP had said, "Well, isn't that why you take tango? To meet a partner?"
And then PRWS nodded and announced, "Yes. Tango is full of men. They equate Tango with the Slave Master Fantasy. And what I've found is that in this case, the Reality is Better than the Fantasy."





So, Tango. Yes. The reality is better than the Fantasy?

PP is ready for some reality like that!

Hell, her fantasy life is sorely lacking. Maybe it's time to taste a bit of this tango reality?

Can she take Tango lessons in the pool?

Now there's a Fantasy!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Black Panty Pundit 30 Minute Infomercial



"Did you ladies happen to catch Barack's 30 minute infomercial?" Black Panty Political Pundit asked into the hot tub air.
DL, PP and Bleached Blonde African American Woman all shook their heads, "Darn!" PP exclaimed. "I was at work!"
"Was it good?" DL asked as BBAAW sunk deeper into the hot tub's bubbly warmth.
"You know. It was. Very good. You know they said that he would have nothing new to say, but I didn't find this to be so."
"Really?" PP asked, intrigued. What else could he say at this point? Well, now, BPPP was gonna tell her. Thanks goodness for the YMCA Hot Tub Political Updates!

"Yes Ma'am. What he said he was gonna do was touch our Hearts."
"And did he?" DL asked.
"Yes. He did." She paused for a moment, near tears before continuing. "And you know how he did this?"
"No," DL encouraged.
"He talked about his father. And here's a detail that I never knew. Did you know that he only met his father once? And that was only for 30 days."
"Wow!" PP exclaimed. "I never knew that."

"Me neither. And what this did for him is shape him into the man he is today. Some people, they woulda gone another direction. But for Barack, it's what made him want to make that sacrifice. To be president. To give back. To sacrifice himself. His family and his children."

"That's what I like about him," BBAAW piped in. "He weren't given no Gift Package. He's like some of us who were raised in a single parent household...no Gift Package for us...no that's not the term...." She paused, frowning as she searched for the correct term.




"I like Gift Package," PP nodded. Indeed she did. She never got a Gift Package so this made her like Barack even more.
"No, I don't mean that. I mean...Trust Fund. That's it!" BBAAW exclaimed, pleased at retrieving the term.

"Oh..." PP laughed along with the rest of the women in the tub. Though she still liked Gift Package. It had a nice political ring to it. All those politicians and their Gift Packages! What's up with that? Why did they get all those packages filled with the 3 million dollar condos, Lear jets (is that still a gift item?), vacations to the Bahamas, expensive dinners out?

Why, it was good to know that Barack wasn't a part of the Gift Package Circuit!

"And you know what else?" BPPW stood up in the hot tub her gap in her front teeth distracting PP from her message just a little. "He said he could only make one promise. And we hear how politicians are always makin promises."
"You can say that again!" BBAAW harrumphed.

"Politicians are ALWAYS making promises!" BPPW repeated. "But Barack, he said he could only make one promise that he could keep and that was the promise to listen...." Here she paused dramatically, holding all the hot tub women's attention, “and to HEAR!" She pointed to her ears and nodded emphatically as they all tried to digest this distinction.

For it was. A distinction. Someone can hear, but they don't listen. Or someone can listen but they don't hear.

You'd think it was one and the same. But it's not.

Esp. when BPPW was pontificating. And all the women in the hot tub. Listened.
And heard.
About Barack.
About Promises.




But mostly about how one woman, in her black panties and her impassioned speech, can hold an audience rapt for her own 30 minute infomercial.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Swallowing







AAAHHHCHHOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”

The humongous sneeze rang out from the locker room, echoing hilariously into the hot tub where PP and two other women sat relaxing. Opening their eyes wide in astonishment, they all shared a look before breaking into giggles.

“Someone’s allergic to something!” PP joked, as a Jovial Asian woman sitting across from her nodded while the third woman in the tub, one that PP usually engaged in random chit chat, just turned back to her concentrated water jet massage action. For a moment, PP wondered what was up with her. But JAW engaged her before she could explore.
“My husband,” JAW began, “He sneeze very loud too!” she giggled.
“Does he have allergies?” PP asked.
She nodded, “Yes, but I sneeze too. When I sneeze.....” she covered her mouth with her sturdy brown hand, “I am not so loud.”
PP nodded. “Yeah, me neither. In fact, I try to stifle the sneeze.”




“Stifle yes....” She thought for a moment. “I think my husband. He have very different personality. He much more loud. But me. I’m quiet. I....” She searched for the word.... “I....swallow my sneeze...”


PP nodded, loving this idea of ‘swallowing’ one’s sneeze. Almost like it was some kind of nourishment that you couldn’t let out. You had to keep it inside you. Not let it escape.
“Yeah, me too...” PP agreed. “Though it might be better to let it out.”
“Let it out. Yes. They say that.” she repeated, nodding.
“Though I sometimes wonder what the good of letting it out is,” PP mused aloud, thinking how she really had to work at not letting things out. It just got her into trouble. It was better to keep things inside. Swallowed up. Even though the prevailing psychobabble wisdom instructed otherwise.
“Women. We must keep things inside. This is our way,” JAW continued. “But I am changing. I let more out. Wonder that I could be so wise when I was young!” she laughed.
“Yeah,” PP searched for that cliché about youth being wasted on the young, but couldn’t retrieve it in time.




“I have a friend. She live in L.A. She live in a BIG house. 6 rooms. Her children are all grown but they still come to visit and when they do she cook she clean she is exhausted.”
“I bet!”
“Yes. And so I tell her. You need to tell them. You will not cook for them. You will not clean for them. You must do for yourself.”
“But I bet that’s hard for her?” PP guessed, not having this experience herself of serving other people she didn’t really get it, but she heard a lot of women at the Y complain about this.



“Yes. It hard for her. Very hard.”
“Change is hard. I mean, old habits. They’re hard to change.”
”Old habits. Yes. That is true. But change is good. I changed!” She laughed proudly. “I no longer cook for my husband. He want to eat, he cook!”
PP laughed. “Good for you!”
“Yes. Good for me! And we moved from L.A. When I was in L.A. I couldn’t believe all the people. It so spread out. Where I live now. It’s so much smaller.”
”Where do you live?”
”Honolulu.”





”Oh! I love Honolulu!” PP exclaimed. “It’s my fantasy place to live.”
”It is so nice. Very warm. The water is very warm. The air....” JAW sniffed the chlorinated air of the hot tub room and wrinkled her nose. “It smells so good.”
“Like flowers!” PP exclaimed. She loved the air in Hawaii. What was it about the air? The warmth? The scent? (It did smell sweet like flowers)




“Yes. Like flowers.” She repeated. PP began to notice that she would repeat all of PP’s comments. This seemed like a typical ESL conversation tactic. One that worked for PP. She liked it when whomever she was talking to agreed with her!

Was this shallow and superficial of her? she wondered. Not wanting any discord in her conversations? Wasn’t her teaching life all about ‘critical thinking’ and exploring other points of view.
Yes.
And maybe this is why when PP was away from teaching, she just wanted to languish in agreeable waters. Not have the constant strife of always having to argue or justify her opinions.

Not that she had any opinions.

Well, unless you counted her ideas about swimming. Or writing. Or cats. Or politics. Or food. Or ice cream. Or....

“The air is so fresh!” JAW exclaimed, grinning as she moved to sit next to PP.
“Yes,” PP agreed. For it was true. Fresh air was in abundance. In Hawaii.

She only needed to get there and drink it in. Swallow it up. Let it nourish her.

When oh when will this happen? she thought to herself, suddenly feeling a little tickle in her nose. “Ahhhchooo!” she sneezed softly, but letting it out, not swallowing it.

JAW laughed. “You allergic too?”
“Yeah, maybe.”
JAW nodded, “Me too, to my husband!” she giggled, her eyes sparkling, as PP gulped in the chlorinated air nourished by the fertile womanly mirth.



Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Best Lady Swimmer





“Did you know that you’re swimming with the Best Lady swimmer at the Y?”

Hemophiliac Swimmer is talking to Pleasant Hairy Man with whom PP is sharing a lane. Earlier, when she’d asked if she could share his lane, PHM had said, “Absolutely!” and he meant it.
Damn. PP never means it when someone asks if they can share her lane.

Yet now as HS bends down and nods toward PP who gives a tired chlorinated laugh, she thinks, no way is she the best ‘Lady Swimmer’ at the Y. Maybe the second best behind the marvelous M, but she’s not in the pool today so maybe HS is right.
For now.

Yet, PHM just nods, pleasantly, and then grins, “Yeah, I knew she was good cause she didn’t run into me!”




They all crack up. PP likes this definition of a ‘good swimmer’—-one who doesn’t crash. And so if this is the criteria, then yeah, she is the best Lady Swimmer at the Y! She never crashes into anyone.

Unless, of course, they’re cute.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Distracted and Distracting




“Where’ve you been?” M asked, as she followed PP from the pool to the hot tub. “I haven’t seen you in awhile.”
“Oh, I’ve been outta town,” PP sighed, thinking how she wished she still were at the Mary Anderson Center. Well, maybe this moment was okay since she was talking to the beauteous M! “Where’ve you been?” PP asked since she hadn’t seen M either since she’d been back from MAC.
“Oh, I’ve been DISTRACTED!” she giggled, as they both climbed into the tub, DL waiting on the side, her eyes big with delight at the two of them already engaged in a story.
“What’ve you been distracted by?” PP asked, always nosy.
“A MAN!”
“Ohhhhh!” PP and DL both exclaimed, even though PP wondered if DL mighta been a little disappointed cuz she hadn’t been distracted by a woman.
“Yeah….” M got a little shy, but not too much. She’s definitely one of those Extrovert Types. The shyness is just a ploy to ask more questions!
“Where’d you meet him?” PP asked.
“E-harmony…” Again, she said this softly, almost like she was embarrassed? But not too, cuz PP easily got her to keep talking!
“That’s cool,” PP nodded, having met Dashingly Handsome BF on Craiglist she thought the internet was a perfect place to meet someone distracting.
“Yeah, this time it worked out. It’s only been a week and half and we’ve already had 4 dates!”






“You are DISTRACTED!!” PP joked.
“Oh, yeah, but honestly, I gotta get here to the Pool at least 3 times a week, preferably 5 or 6 times.”
“Get him to come swimming with you!” PP’s answer to any dilemma. Swimming.
“Ummm…..yeah….maybe….I hadn’t thought of that……”
”But he might be too distracting?” PP asked.
M giggled, “Yeah, he might.”
DL sat perched on the hot tub’s side, grinning behind her wire rimmed glasses. She was the Cheshire Cat of Distraction!





“What’s he like?”
”HE LIKES SNOWBOARDING! YAHHOOO!” M exclaimed.
“Wow, that’s cool. You musta put that on your profile?”
’Yeah, but usually those profiles don’t work. The middle-aged guys, you know the 47 year olds, just love me.” M wrinkled her pretty nose. “I mean. I’m 31! And this guy is 27.”
”A younger man?” PP teased. “That’s fun.”
“Yeah it is. I mean, nothing against the old guys, but the young ones….well….” Again, she got shy. Or distracted. It was hard to tell. PP didn’t mention how 47 was a young guy to her. Maybe M thinks she’s younger than she really is?

PP likes this idea, so she lets the Old Guys just stew in their middle aged reputations of chasing after beautiful 31 year old snow boarding therapists! (Is PP giving out too many details about M? Okay, well, then just pretend that they’re made up!)


DL hasn’t said much that PP can remember. She was probably distracted by M’s beauteous self in the hot tub post swim sans swim suit.

PP knew she herself was!





And those Middle-aged guys? PP knows they’re distracted by M. Why, M gave up almost her entire swim this evening cuz some middle-aged guy, a well-preserved African American swimmer who always talks to M, kept M at the side of the pool chatting for 15 minutes before they both started to swim. “…..and it’s not that they don’t understand the language. They do, M!” he had exclaimed. “It’s just that they don’t understand the legalize and that’s not their fault….”

PP turned around in the pool, thinking poor M. How boring! But then M was smiling and laughing and lounging on the side of the pool seemingly engaged in the chat about legalize. Maybe Well Preserved AA Man was distracting too?

Evidently.

PP thinks that M is probably easily distracted. She’s that beautiful type that likes to be distracted.

And distracting.

She’s certainly that too, as PP and DL watch her climb out of the Hot Tub and head for the showers. “You guys have a good evening,” she called out, her long legs enticing, her swimmer’s back elegant and muscled.

Oh, we will, M, we will, PP thought as she nodded to DL to head for Utopia now that The Distraction was in the showers.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Roach Utopia?



“What that Nasty mess all over?” Utopia Assessment Woman wrinkled her nose at the white gummy whitish goo layering the cement floor of the sauna.

“They better clean up after theyselves or else….I hate to say this, but I saw a Roach in here the other day!” Roach Sighting Woman shuddered as PP and 82 year old Chinese Gram opened their ears in horror.

“Ummm…I am NOT surprised!” UAW nodded. “I seen these women. They bring their yogurt in here. They slather up in the yogurt and then…” She nodded at the nasty mess. PP thought this must be the Yogurt Aftermath. She had no idea that Roaches liked yogurt, but as she was to learn, they like everything.

“Not only yogurt. Mmmm.... they will even eat the GLUE in between the pages of a book!” RSW asserted, nodding in Roach Expertise.

“Yes, Ma’am. I seen a Document and it say that if there was a nuclear war, if everything on the planet was wiped out except for one thing, you know what that one thing would be?” UAW asked.




“Roaches?” PP ventured, wanting to leave Utopia now, not because of the roaches, but cause she was getting overheated and hungry. But with a roach story in the offing, she couldn’t tear herself away!
“Mmmmmm…” RSW agreed.
“They Prehistoric! They will survive everything and anything!” UEW proclaimed.

"That’s right. And you know. When they dead, they can still have babies?” RSW asked.
“Really?” PP asked in spite of herself. “How’s that?”
“They still have their little pouches and when the exterminators come, and they spray them, if they don’t come and sweep up the dead roaches all those babies will hatch outta the little pouches and you think you got rid of them. But they keep on.”
“That’s why they will outlive all of us!” PP exclaimed, completely grossed out by the little baby pouches. How disgusting.





After the baby pouch story, Chinese Gram got up, waddled out, grunting a muddled goodbye—-did she understand the conversation? PP thought probably not, but you can never tell. PP has always thought that the Chinese women in the locker room are not letting on how much they are getting. Maybe they just like to listen to the stories, too?

“And when I saw this roach the other night,” RSW continued, “I jumped up and screamed.”
”Of course!” PP commiserated. “I’d do the same thing.”
”Thank you! The woman who was in here with me, she didn’t see the roach and so when I screamed and pointed and then she couldn’t see it, she just patted me on the shoulder and said, “That’s OK. That’s okay.” Like I was crazy or something. But you know when I was little and we were visiting Hawaii my mom put me to bed and then all these roaches came out of the dark and were crawling all over my face and my body and I was screaming and screaming till finally my mom came in and turned on the light and they all ran away."


"They don’t like the light." UAW observed.

"No. they don’t."
“How old were you?”PP asked.
“Just a toddler. Maybe 1 or 1 and half.”
“Well, no wonder. I’m sure that you remember that Roach all over your body experience somewhere deep in you psyche and that’s why you have such a visceral reaction to them now."
“You said it!” RSW shuddered again. “I don’t like to do this, but I’m gonna report them to the health department.”
”Yeah, I think you should.” PP agreed. In theory at least. But then she got worried. What would be the ramifications of such a report? Would the Health Dept close Utopia? The Pool? The entire YMCA? This would be horrific! What would she do without Utopia at the very least and the pool at the very most?

Hopefully, RSW wouldn't get around to it. She seemed like more a talker rather than a doer.





“You know if you get a appliance like a refrigerator or a radio or a heater and you get it at like a estate sale or a garage sale or second hand somewheres what you need to do is leave it outside for at least 3 days and spray it good before you bring it in the house cuz those roaches can live inside a appliance for days and if you do spray, like I said before, you gotta make sure you sweep up all the dead ones cuz of those babies. Some places don’t do that." UAW nodded, with a loud mmmm....
“Clark is a good one. They come back and sweep up the dead ones.”
”Clark….” PP nodded. My she certainly was learning a lot about Roaches and their extermination. But again, since they were prehistoric and seemingly invincible unless you got Clark to come out and spray well then…



“It came right out from under where you’s sitting!” RSW pointed to the wooden bench where PP was relaxing, interrupting her Clark Musings. (Past tense. PP was not relaxing anymore, but bending down to look under the bench for the roach.)
"Yes.... Right there” RSW got up and knelt down, with a suitable amount of caution given her childhood Roach Trauma.
Fortunately, no Roach was spied on this afternoon, but PP is wary.

Should she forgo Utopia because of the Roaches? How could they survive in all the heat?



Yet, she can't live without Utopia! Besides, RSW could just be having a unconscious flashback to her childhood trauma surrounding her Roach Face Crawl-Over. So, she could just be having Roach PTSD! And they're really aren't any roaches at all!

So, until PP actually sees a roach herself, she's gonna keep going to Utopia. Cause even if they are there? What's a little roasted Roach gonna matter anyway? It's not like she's had any childhood trauma about roaches.

At least not that she can remember.....