Thursday, May 29, 2008

God Bless Her!



She perched on the side of the slimy hot tub, her delicate, broken legs hanging limply in the bubbles, an open copy of Vogue or Oprah at her side. She wore a fancy black shower cap with ruffles round the edges, (PP could envision Bette Davis sporting such a cap in one of her 40's screwball comedies) a one piece black swim suit circa 1967, with a black gemstone pendant dangling between her thin cleavaged breasts.

PP had seen her before. Wreaking havoc with her motorized wheelchair. Actually it wasn’t really havoc. Just running over someone else’s flip flop in the chair's way. Maybe PP’s regular readers remember?





But tonight, she was beatific. Gentle. Wistful even, when PP climbed into the tub’s welcoming warmth after a cold hard swim in the vortex of Running Man in the lane next to her and Behemoth Man sharing her lane.

Sometimes! PP just feels like she’s being swept away at the Y. It’s the same feeling she gets when she’s driving the Geo down 880 and everyone around her is going 90 miles an hour, and the drag and push from the trucks jostle her little vehicle precariously in the narrow lane.

This is how swimming at the Y can be. PP is the Geo. Behemoth Man is a Big Rig loaded down with piles of redwood lumber. Jogging Vortex Man is the SUV on her tail that drives perilously close to her rear bumper before swirling around to overtake her.

So, then after this swim, PP is so relieved to be in the Hot Tub. She knows that Broken Legs Lady is trouble, but she’s okay with that tonight, esp. since there’s sure to be a story involved.

And oh! There is!

“I was jus walkin across the street. In the crosswalk. And this Japanese Lady came at me and run me down at 70 miles a hour!” BLL proclaimed to everyone that came in or out of the tub.

Damn. No wonder she couldn’t walk. It was amazing she was still alive. And alive she was! 'God Blessing' the two teenage girls whining about their moms. Chuckling with Big Orange Suited Woman over her driving days, “I was HELL on wheels!” she proclaimed. And PP believed her!

But then, at the end of the night, after Utopia and its myriad conversations of teachers’ woes around budget cuts, and running into old friends from high school. “Get outa here! You seen Sharma? Damn!” PP came back out into the Hot Tub room to witness two women trying to help BLL back into her wheelchair.

They looked like they could handle it, but…..PP had a nagging suspicion that maybe not, so she hung back shyly watching for a moment before asking if they needed another set of hands.





“We might,” Buxom Swimmer Woman nodded, trying to get the wheelchair to move with its little motorized handle gizmo. “You can stick around if you don’t mind.”

PP nodded,knowing that she couldn’t help with the wheelchair. Her experience with the Lovely I’s had been so long ago and hers had not been of the motorized ilk,so now, PP stood behind the chair, holding it steady on the slippery tiles, while a third woman, her pale breasts hanging in useless poetry, tried to get BLL’s poor legs swung round and out of the tub.

This was harder then it would first appear --BLL was so tiny, so delicate. Yet her legs in their limp paralysis were heavy logs as PP watched helplessly. After a few minutes that seemed like an eternity, the two women finally managed to lift the thin limbs with their blue black swollen feet out of the tub. Oh….PP’s heart hurt at the sight of them.

But BLL was undaunted. She laughed. She grunted. She God Blessed Amens as PP got up on the right side of her to help Poetry Breast Woman with this half and Buxom Swimmer took the left side.

“1….2….3…..lift!”

And they did! Off of the tiles and up into the chair. Whew!


“God Bless y’all! You are such dears! Thank you thank you thank you!” and with a final harrumph into her chair, BLL grabbed hold of the motor gizmo and prepared to ram into the steam room.

Later, in the showers, Buxom Swimmer Woman grinned and beamed at PP. “Good Team Work there!”
“Yeah.” PP agreed. “I don’t know how she woulda done it without us.”
”I guess she just has to ask for help,” BSW nodded. “It must be hard….” Her voice trailed off.
“But what choice does she have?” PP dunked her head under the steamy hot shower. And really, what choice did she have? It wasn’t like she was ever going to walk again. That much was clear. And the alternative? Stay at home and stare at the walls?

When you could come to the YMCA and entertain, inspire and motivate a small group of women in your honor?

Hell. Which would you choose if you were in BLL’s place?

“Makes you appreciate what you’ve got, doesn’t it?” Poetry Breast Woman murmured to PP as she made her way back toward the lockers.

Yes. It does. PP can walk. She can swim. She can drive like Hell.

But most of all, she can yearn. For those who don’t have what she has. She is so blessed.

Yet, don’t tell BLL woman she ain’t blessed, cuz she sure as hell is gonna disagree with you!

God Bless her!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It’s the Tree






“You sure do got you some good height there,” Flower Shower Cap Woman observed when Amazon Goddess Woman strode into the hot tub arena, her powerful legs longer than PP’s entire torso.

Damn. PP had to agree. AGW was a fine specimen, but PP had never had the brazenness to say it to her out loud, even though she'd been thinking it for weeks now. Yet she'd had no opening, only exchanging ‘hello’s' passing in the locker room.

FSCW had no such qualms, as she sunk into the bubblin' tub, nodding ever so seriously. “I bet you got you some Indian Blood in you!” she announced, as AGW grinned broadly, pleasant surprise on her lovely face.

“Now how’d you guess that?” she smiled. “Was it the freckles that gave it away?” (Native Americans, because PP just assumed that it was this group of people and not the ones that hailed from the other side of the globe, had freckles? PP never knew this! See what she learned in the Hot Tub at the YMCA? Images and information never seen in a John Ford movie!)

FSCW shook her head, “No. It ain’t that. Though now that you mention it, yeah, I can see it. But no. It your nice height and proportion. How tall are you?”
“5’11,” AGW answered proudly.




“Ooohweee! That some nice height! Me! I always wanted to make it to 5’6” but never did,” FSCW chuckled, glancing down at her round ample 5’3” frame.
“Oh, me too!” PP joined in. “My sister made it to 5’6” but I never did…”
Both women nodded in understanding at PP. Maybe they had taller sisters too?
“I bet you ‘bout 45 or so?” FSCW continued her assessment.
AGW laughed, beaming. “Add ‘bout 10 years to that!”
“Get outta here! You serious!”
“Yup!’
“Why! I never usually that far off. And you got you some nice breasts too. That what usually give it away. But you. No folds there. Nice and firm.”
“Yes…..” AGW laughed shyly, but so pleased. “I noticed that too. Why sometimes I just look at myself from here up,” she made a gesture with her hands, framing her upper torso from the waist up to the top of her head, “ and think that I don’t look half bad.”
“I say NOT!” FSCW harrumphed as they all laughed.
“But I bet you have yourself a hard time finding you a man with that height,” she continued.
“No. Not really.”
“Really?”
“No. It’s just never been an issue.”
“That real interesting. Cause from my experience with my Ex, men intimidated by Tall Women. They intimidated by the Height. They intimidated by their Salary. They intimidated by their Vehicle.”
PP was waiting for the inevitable Intimidation of their Manly Part, but FSCW had made her point. The unspoken hung, so to speak, heavy in the air. No need to say It out loud.


Shrugging, AGW paused, then repeated, “I don’t know. But I just never had a problem with my height and Men.”
“That cause you find yourself a Real Man. You find yourself a real Man that not intimidated and then you don’t hafta worry bout it. Now me!” FSCW laughed good-naturedly, “I don’t seem to have much luck in the Real Man department, but hell, it OK. I got my own needs to attend to if you know what I mean!”

Again, the women joined in laughter. At men’s expense. One of the beauties of the Women only hot tub. The Girl Gossip can run fast and furious and free.

Later, after her shower, PP had to reach around AGW lounging on the bench to grab her bag of stuff hanging on the hook behind her.Feeling like she needed to continue the conversation, she asked about her Height again, even though AGW must get so damn sick of talking about it all the time.

“Are your parents tall too?” PP asked, suddenly feeling self-conscious, but now she’d started it.
“Nope.”
“Really?”
“Nope. But lemme tell you a story,” AGW's eyes twinkled at the memory and the audience. Delighted PP nodded. A story! And from the Amazon Goddess whom she’d been wanting to talk to for months now. Thanks to Flower Shower Cap Woman she was gonna get a story! Too cool.

“When I was a little girl, growing up, and I grew up in New York City, but when I was a girl I would always go outside in front of our house and sit under this giant tree and just sit there leaning against it…..” AGW relaxed against the locker room wall, suddenly transported back to her girlhood tree. “…..and my Daddy would always say, what are you doing? Leaning up against that Tree all the time? You gonna grow into a tree yourself. And you know what, that’s where I got all my height. From That Tree!”





She sighed, wistfully, stretching her long legs out to demonstrate for PP the Power of the Tree. Which of course delighted PP to no end. Tree Power.

For herself, PP had had her share of Tree Power. She and her sister, not the youngest one that had reached 5’6” , but the middle one, had made tree houses in the branches of the Forest in Hacienda Heights, then relegated their little sister to The Bush. Ironically, it was this sister that had gotten the Height of the three girls.

But PP’s real power had come, of course from the Pool. Every day, she’d seek refuge in its watery sanctuary. Swimming back and forth and back and forth. 100. 150. 200 laps a day. (It was a good sized pool for a 12 year old, maybe 25 feet in length, thus the amount of laps did sound awfully impressive, though probably the total yardage was the equivalent of a mile.)




Pool Power. It gave her the strength to cope with her suburban day. Here she could escape into a watery world that was all hers with no interruptions. No demands put on her by others. Just her own rhythm. Back and forth back and forth.

To this day, it is the Pool that gives her strength with its predictable rhythmic sameness.

Tree Power? Pool Power? Sister Power?

Didn’t all this power come from the same source?

Deep inside the roots of her consciousness, PP knew it was true.

The real Power was in her soul, corny as that sounds. Though looking back, she wished she’d spent just a bit more time leaning against one of those tall ‘forest’ trees in Hacienda Heights to gain just a little bit more Height Power for today.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Yin & Yang




As an ASS (academic support specialist) at WWU, PP by all osmosis expectations, should be an expert in the basics of yin and yang. But yet. She is woefully clueless about even its most basic tenants. Why, she even has the Brilliant Tomoko Murakami as her student, whose Master’s Thesis expounds upon the elements of light and dark, spirit and body, life and death in eloquent glory. (Check her out at: http://www.mayu-art.com &/ or email her at: yusaifu@earthlink.net)


So, you’d think that when the Shivering Post-Cold Shower woman entered Utopia, announcing to the group of heaterized women that she was there to warm up after her freezing shower( “That shower needed more Yang!”) that PP would know what the hell she was talking about.

No, she didn’t. Yang? A shower with Yang? Like is that some sort of.... what? Why, PP is even sitting in her office here at WWU, trying to soak up the spirit of Yang and it’s not working.

So she asks Yang Shower Woman, like the Chinese Clueless Culture Moron that she is, what Yang has to do with the showers.

Yang Shower Woman looks at her for a moment, perplexed. She has to explain such a simple concept? DL is across Utopia trying not to look at PP or she’ll burst out laughing. Hah. Easy for her to giggle. She knows what Yang is all about. Or maybe not. Yin is more her cup of tea.

So to speak.

But more on that later.

For now, Yang Shower Woman explains to PP how a shower needs a balance. Both Yin and Yang. And PP remembers Tomoko’s thesis. Of course. Opposites. That complement. Or is that compliment?

Shower woman explains how Yin is female and Yang is male.

So now, PP is really confused. More Yang in the women’s showers? Well, she wouldn’t mind, but maybe all that Yang might be a little disconcerting to many of the Yin in the locker room.

Later, when PP and DL trudge up the stairs, the Y now closed and quiet so that PP can drag DL over to view the now beautifully peaceful and empty pool, (the Serene Yin to PP’s earlier Crowded Yang experience), DL gets that little smile on her face and then tells a story. How she used to have a ‘friend’ who worked at the Santa Cruz YMCA, who’d she go “workout” with after hours. Say round 2 a.m.


Their workouts were, no doubt, full of much Yin and Yin.

PP adores this story! And thinks that she needs to find her own “workout” buddy here at the Oakland Y so she could swim in the pool when it’s completely Yinned out!

Round 2 a.m. would suit her just fine.

Maybe the beautiful Tibetan Woman?

Way too much Yin for PP to handle.

Maybe in her next life.

Now, if only the brilliant Tomoko can send her the necessary spirit Qi to get there!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Beautiful....




Standing in front of the mirror, drying her hair, PP sees her stop and stare, then continue on behind her.
What now? she wonders. PP’s so tired of all of her unforeseen transgressions at the YMCA, as the Petite Asian Woman stops again, this time right next to her, a slow wondrous smile breaking out on her pockmarked face.

Pointing at PP’s hair (Is it all about the Hair? Yes it is!), PAW nods in quick enthusiastic jerks, her own straight dark hair divided into two stubby pig tails. “Beautiful…..” she murmurs, as PP dries another golden curl through her fingers, the dryer blowing it romantically across her hand.

Feeling a little sheepish since she’d been expecting the worst, suspecting some sort of abomination she’d committed while hair drying, PP turns around to give PAW a quick smile, “Thank you,” she beams, relieved.

Of course it’s the Hair, remembering how when she was teaching in China she was the local Circus Freak with her blonde hair and blue eyes, everyone always stopping and staring in fascination and disbelief.



But here in Oakland, don’t the sweet Chinese ladies see plenty of blonde hair?

You’d think so, but maybe not. Or at least, it’s still so unusual and unreal and ‘beautiful’ that such locks still garner stares of unabashed appreciation.

See. It all depends on your point of view, doesn’t it?

One YMCA member HATES her hair; (see previous blog) while another one LOVES it.

Finally, someone gets just how beautiful PP is.

And it’s all because of her HAIR, what else?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Beware The Turban Tub Tyrant




Dunking her head under the warm bubbles, PP sighs in post swim tiredness. She looks so forward to this moment, especially after a hard swim. The hot tub is her relaxation sanctuary.

Unless Turban Tub Tyrant is there.

Shit.

PP still can’t believe it. What the hell is up with some of these women? They think they own the joint. Don’t they realize that the YMCA is NOT their Domain, no matter how long they’ve been a member, how big their boobs are, or how mean they are?

Yet time and again, PP has witnessed the bitchy cat fights that ensue over the most trivial of territorial issues.

Someone’s left a suit in the sink.
Hisssss!
Someone’s forgotten to rinse off the sauna boards after dropping salt down the slats.
HISSSS!!!
Someone’s wearing too much goddamn green goo that sinks into their skin and no matter how long they shower it’s still in their skin and then they get into the hot tub and….

HISSSSS!!!!!

So, after dunking her head under the water, when PP comes up to the sound of disgruntled mumbling from across the tub, she’s not entirely surprised. She’s just surprised it’s aimed at her.
What the hell line could she have crossed over today?

Of course, she can’t understand the mutterings. Her earplugs are still in. But somehow she knows the grumbling is aimed at her.

Cluelessly confused, PP turns to the sweet looking soft woman sitting next to her. “What did she say?”
Sweet Woman smiled. Unsure. “I’m not sure. Something about your hair.”
”What about my hair?”
“I dunno….” Her voice trailed off.
PP glanced over at Turban Tyrant holding court in the corner. TT gave PP the evil eye and then muttered again something that PP couldn’t understand. If she had a problem with PP why didn’t she just talk to her directly? Why mutter under the bubbles?

Sweet Woman tried again. “What do you mean about her hair?”
”She shouldn’t be puttin' her head under the water like that!” Turban Tyrant snorted, her white turban shaking in indignation.
What? PP is completely confused. Since when can’t she dunk her head under the water? Like how the hell long has she been going to pools and hot tubs and dunking her head under the water after taking her cap off?





50 years.

Hell.

But Turban Tyrant would have none of it.
“Why is that?” Sweet Woman was trying to ameliorate the situation.
TT muttered something else unintelligible in specifics, but highly understandable in meaning. TT was pissed off and she was NOT gonna take it anymore!
“You mean for the hygiene?” SW prompted.
“That right.”
Perplexed, PP just shook her head, “I’ve just been in the pool for an hour and took two showers before that so I don’t think I’m too contaminated. That pool is pretty chlorinated. Not much could survive on me after That hour long dousing.”
This was supposed to be a joke.
Turban Tyrant was not amused. But came right back at PP. “That don’t matter. You not supposed to put your hair in here.”

Shit. PP sank down into the bubbles. Decided to ignore her. Hell she wasn’t gonna argue. Didn’t have the energy today. So tired. So hungry. She certainly didn’t need to get on Turban Tyrant’s bad side.

But evidently she already had. Now what?

PP tried to pretend like there weren’t wet daggers in the air. Flying at her wet head.
Off with it!

She tried to chat with Sweet Woman. About swimming. Kids. Babies in the pool.





Of course, she had nothing to say about any of this. Having no babies and thus no experience taking care of them and the kinds of sacrifices that motherhood demanded on one’s pool schedule.

Turban Tyrant of course loved the baby talk. “Oh, you have two little ones at home now,” she chuckled warmly, pointedly not looking at PP. “You gotta take care of them before anything else.”
“Yeah. That’s true, but….” Sweet Woman gave a tired smile, sighing as she started up the steps.
“Have a nice swim,” PP called after her, wishing she’d stay. Her presence kept PP from drowning TT.

“Thanks, I gotta go now or I’m gonna be completely unmotivated.”

Nodding, PP watched her saunter toward the pool, leaving her alone with TT.

Did PP dare say anything in her own defense now?

Sittin up in the tub, she glanced over at the signage posted above the tub in 3 languages. Lots of instructions about NO soaps, oils, masks, etc, being allowed in the Tub.

NOT one damn thing about No dunking one’s head under the water.

Of course not. This is what everyone does. And PP guesses this is TT’s problem. Everyone is polluting HER Hot Tub with their hair! Like PP’s hair is gonna fall out and contaminate the tub in the 3 seconds she was under water.

Hell.
It was all so ridiculous.
But yet….it made PP so angry and frustrated. Why pick on her? Why not admonish the pert Chinese woman next to her with soaking wet hair that undoubtedly had been dunked in the tub water numerous times?

PP has to wonder. Was TT just in a pissy mood? Did PP set her off for some other reason? Did TT wish she had lots of long blonde hair on her nasty old head?

Who the hell knows!

All PP knows is that she just doesn’t need this. The YMCA is one of her few sanctuaries from that overwhelming workaday world and the often chaotic pandemonium of her apartment. At the Y, she feels like she can navigate its intricacies.

At least most of the time.

Unless TT is on watch.

Then watch out.

Or else.
Or else what?

Shit.

Fortunately, PP watches lots of soap operas so she has a plan full of vengeance and backbiting bitchiness.




Next time PP gets into the tub and spies TT there, you know what she's gonna do?

Take her cap off. Give TT a great big How’re ya doin today Grin.

Then Dunk her head UNDER the water for as long as she damn well pleases.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Red Devil



“Those plastic bags look like they should have Goldfish in them!” PP exclaims as she watches DW dump another bag of water on the redwood slats of the sauna. She’s pissed off in a quiet way. PP can tell. She’s not smiling. She doesn’t chuckle at the Goldfish remark.

She’s still mad about last week and the Goo Blame Frenzy. This washing off of the redwood slats must be a reaction to whatever happened with the Girl Fight that PP and DL never quite understood.

Stalking out of the sauna, the now empty plastic bag clenched in her hand, DW barely turns around to wish everyone a good night.

Damn. There’s some bad mojo goin on still!

“Do you have fish?” DL ventures shyly, spying a sparkle of fish response in Smells Like Roast Chicken Woman. How DL knows this, PP can’t fathom.

Call it Fish Intuition.

“Why, yes I do! How did you know?” SLRCW beams, shifting her sparkling salt vault mass to avoid the dripping water from DW’s water cleansing festival.
“I don’t know,” DL murmurs, “I just saw something and….”
”I do. I do!”
”What kind of fish do you have?” PP asks, realizing that she’ll have no clue about the answer. Fish she doesn’t know. Ask her about cats and she can tell you every breed in the book. Tortoiseshells. Russian Blues. Rag Dolls. Himalayans. Abyssinians. Somalis.




But fish?

She’s about to find out about!


“I have me one Red Devil” Fish Woman chuckles, “he a Real Aggressive Fish. And I also have a bunch of Corrines….”
PP knows that she’s got the name of the second kind of fish wrong. She’s too focused on the Red Devil for godsakes!
“Does the Red Devil eat the other fish?” she asks.
“Oh, yeah, he do if He get HUNGRY. But I try not to let that happen. I give him lots of Pellets and Guppies.”
PP nods, stricken. Aren’t guppies the ones that turn into cute little frogs? Damn! Is the Red Devil worth sacrificing frogs for?




Evidently!

PP doesn’t know what the Pellets are, but it doesn’t sound like they’re alive. She hopes this is the first course of feeding, but has a feeling that the guppies might be the preferred delectable for the Red Devil.
And what does the Red Devil look like she wonders, now that she knows how evil he is cuz he eats innocent little guppies!



Well, duh, he must be red. And he must have horns. And he must have a big mean mouth with lots of deadly sharp fish teeth to munch up the poor little guppies.



Oh! PP can’t write about it anymore. It’s all too horrible. She sees the scenario now. The plastic bag filled with unsuspecting little guppies being poured into the aquarium and then the Red Devil swooping in and scarfing them down before they even have a chance to swim away. But of course they can’t escape cuz they’re in the goddamn fish tank, being terrorized by a Red Devil.

Hell, it’s as bad as driving down 880 in the 103 degree heat and having Big Rigs ram up on your rear end before swerving around you, leaving you in a cloud of putrid exhaust!

Later, in the shower, PP spies Fish Woman soaping up down the aisle from her and can’t resist asking, “What’s your Red Devil’s name?”
“Big Red!” she beams. “It just me and him! Just the two of us! That’s all!”

And PP has to wonder, what’s it like to be a Fish Woman who comes to the Y, salts up for hours in the sauna telling stories of her Red Devil and then going home to her Big Red at the end of the night?






It might be just fine.

If you’ve got a little bit of the Devil in you.

Which, PP is certain, Fish Woman does.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

From Glitter to Vicodin




“Do you notice that the hairs on your arm are all bleached from the chlorine?”

PP sinks into the hiding tub bubbles. This is gonna be good. She can tell. And today, she’s just gonna eavesdrop since her energy level is so low. But more on that later.

Or not.

Bleached Arm Hair Woman nods to her companion, who eyes her politely from under her Red Bandanna. ‘No, can’t say as I have noticed that particular phenomenon.”

BAHW chuckles, “I always have been hairy. My family is all hairy. Hairy runs in the family. But it’s always been dark hair. This hair….” She holds out her arm above the bubbling water, shoving it in Red Bandanna Woman’s face, who glances at it for a moment, then smiles. Gently.

Then, nodding, she raises her own arm and looks it up and down. “I’ve always had light hair. Now particularly that I’ve gone gray.”

They both laugh, PP grinning silently to herself in the corner of the tub. Gray hair. Don’t even get her started on that one. Everyone always says that she doesn’t have any gray hair. But she does. It’s just that the blonde kinda covers it up. Esp. when she does her clip head on top of the gray mass.



“It kinda looks like glitter in the sunlight…..” BAHW murmurs in awed reverence as she pulls her arm back to her own side, still gazing at it in wonder. Not that there’s any sun here in the dungeon of the YMCA, but that glittered chlorine effect—it’s a Phenomenon.

“And I can’t take any kind of drug.” Somehow BAHW has moved on to pharmaceuticals. PP doesn’t know how she’s made this segue, but has eavesdropped on enough conversations to know that dialogue is rarely linear and often full of non-sequitors.
“….I can’t take morphine when I’m in the hospital. Or the anesthesia makes me sick. And then they always wanna give me Vicadon, but that makes me throw up something awful.”





RBW nods sympathetically. Here PP is sorely tempted to join in on the conversation
since she also has the insanely high sensitivity to any drug, esp. Vicadon.

But today, she’s just not in the mood. Her neck hurts something awful. And her spirits always suffer from this chronic pain. It’s not like she’s debilitated or anything. Hell, she doesn’t even have any problems really. It’s not like she’s a Cyclone victim in Burma or and Earthquake victim in China, or even a tornado victim in Oklahoma. All of these natural disasters are adding to PP’s distress. She can’t really explain why. She doesn’t know anyone in any of these faraway places. It’s just that, lately, the Woes of the World are snaking into her consciousness.

The YMCA helps. It’s such a soap opera and this is a fine distraction.

Yet, PP wonders what will become of them all? Will Nature take its vengeance on humankind at last for all the hellish demolitions they’ve caused in their never-ending selfishness? (Yes, PP realizes this is a little heavy-handed, but she’s in a Mood today!)

“You have yourself a Blessed One, is all I can ever say!” RBW heaves her gray body out of the tub and waddles slowly across the room to the showers.

BAHW sits wistfully, staring into space; the empty space left by RBW looms large. PP often feels like she at least needs to smile or make eye contact when it’s only 2 women in the tub. But not today. Today she just sighs, trying not to think of the Drought or Sudan as she stuffs her gray/blonde hair into her cap and heads out to the pool.

At least she glitters, she thinks to herself.





No not really. She didn’t think that at all. She only thinks of it now, after one of the cute kids in the First Wave swim team hollered “Hello Lady!” at her; she finished her velvety blissful swim without crashing into Muscled Jogging Man; and she’s home now, drinking tea, writing a story, and feeling very very blessed.

That’s all she can ever say!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

THE BLACK TOWER





Where to start? PP’s head is still swimming!

Maybe she should start with her technical difficulties surrounding the goddamn PowerPoint presentation snafu at WWU?

She did find the ‘Zero Footprint’; she did not find the Black Tower.
Maybe this was the problem?

And then, once at the YMCA, working out on the Torture Machines, DL arrived, expressing her amazement at PP’s adeptness at the new kneeling machine.
But when PP tried to show, DL…..
Whoops.
Kaboom!

And then……

“HEY!!!! DON’T Y’ALL GO BREAKING MY MACHINES!!!” bellowed across the gym.



DL was mortified. PP was stricken. Tony was only concerned about his goddamned machines and not DL’s safety!

Maybe PP should put him in the Black Tower.

Then, finally after a lovely swim in the warm velvet water, PP entered the Hot Tub Arena, only to come upon Tornado of Estrogen Induced? Consternation. Damn! Where to even start with this? Diabetes Woman was shrieking at the top of her lungs inside Utopia. PP couldn’t hear what her exact words were, but the upset was palpable.

Floating in the Hot Tub, the perturbed looking Smells Like Roasted Chicken woman was frowning. Was she the Object of DW’s wrath?

20 Minute Fin Woman sat on the edge of the tub watching as DL and PP climbed in, her eyes wide with concern. SLRC Woman gave DL and PP a cursory goodnight before heaving herself out of the tub, leaving 20 MFW to try to explain.

“They have the oil. They go in the Hot Tub. The oil it is on the skin. The oil it come off. She no have Oil.”

PP and DL nod. PP has Zero Footprint understanding of this explanation. Maybe SLRC needs to go in the Black Tower too?




Later, PP tries to ask DW in person. She is so upset. Standing in the Locker room, putting on her golden gloves to rub in the oil.

“What happened?” PP asks.
“She think I have Oil on me! I have no Oil. I always clean.”
“We appreciate that!” 20 Minute Fin Woman calls out over her shoulder from the tub.
“I see Her. She no shower. She go in tub. She say I no Clean. It make me so angry. I am 50 year old!!!”

DW shakes her head in disgust as she turns away from PP and stalks into Utopia.

What happened?

DL asks DW too. Gets the same run down as PP, but her powers of interpretation are so much better than PP’s. Must be that Poet Thing. They’re good at imagery and inference. PP doesn’t know what this has to do with anything, but it sounds good.

“Did you understand?” PP asks after DW finishes the story again for DL, as they head out of the locker room and up the stairs.
“I think it has to do with someone putting Goop on and then getting in the Hot Tub and then DW was blamed for this, but she always washes the Goop off, but she told someone else, I don’t know who, to take a shower cuz the Goop can do us harm you know soak into our skin cause of the Hot Tub…..

DL’s voice trails off.

PP starts to laugh. “That clarifies it. Thanks.”

Chuckling, DL holds the door open as a gust of wind whips off Broadway.




“IT was a Girl Fight!”

Oh, yeah….
And girls will fight. Especially if they can’t find the Zero Footprint, the Goop Police admonishes them, or they get confused trying to find the Black Tower!

Monday, May 05, 2008

A COMA FOR 33 DAYS




“That sure is a real pretty suit!”
Stepping gingerly into the hot water from the side instead of the stairs since Suit Complement Woman blocks these, PP beams at the blue suited floating woman taking up almost the entire hot tub, “Thanks,” PP nods, glancing down at the bright pink designs on her suit. “I like it too!”
“I had this one for 25 years!” SCW boasts, grinning in buoyant satisfaction.
“25 years? Wow! I’ve never heard of a suit lasting that long,” PP exclaims, noting how from the looks of her ample figure, SCW probably hasn’t done much swimming in the last 25 years.
“Yup. Got it back in…..” SCW pauses, gazing up at the dripping ceiling in concentration for a moment. “…..1986…..and now it’s 2008?” She chuckles. “Well, almost 25 years!”
“That is amazing,” PP laughs. “I’ve had this one for a year and I can’t believe it. I usually go through a new one every 3 or 4 months.”
“Mmmm….”
“But this one has more …. ?”
”Spandex?” SCW offers.
“No…. I mean, yeah it has spandex or Lycra or whatever, but it has more….oh what’s it called?” PP racked her steamed brain. What the hell was that fabric called that swimsuits are made of sometimes that lasts longer? Damn. She knows it but….. “Polyester!” she exclaims, triumphant over her slow brain fabric recall.

“Mmmm….this one’s all made outta Polyester,” SCW nods, pointing to her shoulder straps held up with a multiple safety pins. Neither woman mentions this lack of seamstress aspect about the suit.



PP sinks down into the tub, letting the bubbles soothe her aching neck. It’s really bugging her today. But the heat always helps.

“I been in a Coma for 33 days!” SCW announces, floating into the middle of the tub.
PP gapes in astonishment. A Coma for 33 days? Hell, what’s she complaining about with her stupid sore neck?
“33 days?” is all PP can come up with as a response. What the hell do you say to a complete stranger who divulges such information in the Hot Tub? Congratulations for waking up?
“Yup, 33 days. Actually my hospital stay was 62 days, but I was only in the Coma for 33 days. Got me a tracheotomy too.”
PP, of course, had been trying not to stare at the over sized band-aid on her throat, but obviously she hadn’t been too discreet. Or else, it was just Hot Tub Ailment Confession Time and she was the only one in the audience.


Not wanting to ask about the tracheotomy, PP did ask about the Coma. This was more intriguing. She’d never actually met anyone who’d been in a Coma. Of course, they were always going in and out of Comas on Soap Operas. Kendall had been in one when JR had mistaken her for his slutty wife Babe and knocked the loaded shelves of Fusion Remolding material on her head. And Mike on Desperate Housewives had been in a Coma when Orson had run him over in a drunken meltdown till Eddie woke him up with a hand job.




Comas were de rigour in Soaps, but in Real Life?

Hell, this was an opportunity!

“What caused the Coma?” PP has to ask.
“Respiratory Failure. That brought on by Stress. My husband died on January 7 and then I buried him on Jan 19 cause I hadda wait for his brother to come up from Brazil and so it was all too much stress on me.”

PP nods sympathetically. Damn. What Real Life people that come to the YMCA go through! It was astounding! Of course, the Respiratory Failure probably explained the Tracheotomy, but PP wasn’t gonna ask about this. She wanted to ask if she remembered anything while she was in a Coma, but maybe this was pushing it.
“When I woke up, it seem like I had been in the hospital for only a day. So when they told me 33 days imagine!”

Really, PP couldn’t. When Kendall was in her Coma she had lots of fantastic Kendall monologues to herself about how Zack had to postpone the C Section to save her unborn child, Spike, but of course, this was simply for Dramatic purposes and probably such inner thoughts don’t really happen in real Comas.

Or do they?

Should PP ask Coma Woman if she remembered thinking about anything while she was in a coma?




A pudgy cell phoned distracted care taker ambled over to the tub, giving PP a sweet grin, before informing Coma Woman that they had to leave by 3 for their next appointment.

“Ooohweee. I had no idea it was so late!” Coma Woman chuckled as she tried to heave her bulk out of the tub. Care Taker Woman reached to help her up the stairs, before crooking her arm into CW’s and slowly directing her towards the pool.

“See ya in the Pool!” PP called after them.
“That you will. That you will. But only for a few minutes. I had no idea it was so late!” CW repeated.

Shaking her head, PP began to stuff her hair into her cap. Imagine. Being in a Coma for 33 days and then the first thing you do is come swimming at the YMCA!

Of course, this wasn’t what Kendall did.

But if PP were ever in a Coma and then woke up, hell you know what she’d do!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

YOU CAN BUY CLARITY!





Settling into the warm cave of Utopia, PP and DL sigh in unified contentment. Closing her eyes, PP breathes in the dry heat. Tonight, though, there’s a lovely citrusy scent. “It smells so good in here,” she murmurs.

DL sighs, agreeing.

“It smells like lemons?” PP ventures.
“Or oranges?” DL offers.
“It’s actually called Ylang Ylang. You can buy it from Personal Product on-line,” an Authoritative Product Voice announces.




PP opens her eyes to glance across the sauna at the Voice. Damn if it isn’t Oblivious Mask Woman, stretching her scrawny form out on the redwood slab, inspecting her toes. (Which, by the way, DL had joked were crazy. Well, no, she didn’t exactly say that. When PP had asked DL if she’d seen the look in OMW’s eyes and seen that ‘crazy’ glassed over gaze, DL and giggled and said, “I can see IT in her toes!”)

Now, Crazy to her Toes, Oblivious Mask Woman was the authority on scent?

How delightful! She speaks! And with Information!

OMW Crazy to her Toes continues, “I usually can’t tolerate any scent, but this one I liked. It’s for Clarity.”

PP eyes widen. A scent for Clarity? Hell, she could use that! She was always in a fog. A little bottled Clarity might be just the ticket to help her usually hazy brain.

“A scent for Clarity?” PP questions out loud, as the woman lying supine in front of her grunts in amusement.
“Yes.” OMW nods, “You can buy Clarity.”





PP wonders how much Clarity costs. Is it something she can afford? Or is it out of her price range? Or out of her Credulity Range? She wonders if there are other scents for other calming emotions. Hell, such potions might be cheaper than Therapy!

“What other kinds of scents can you buy?” PP prompts.
“Oh, well…..” OMW continues to pick at something between her toes, as DL glances sideways over at PP, trying not to let a loud giggle out. “You can buy things like Arnica and……”OMW pauses, shifting, exchanging one foot for the other and begins to pick anew. “……but I don’t really like the smell of that one.”




”What’s it smell like?” PP asks.
“It’s kinda more like Eucalyptus and mint and it’s…..stronger….”
DL makes a face. “I don’t think I’d like that one.”
”No, me neither,” OMW agrees. “But in any case, this one here tonight is very nice. It’s very calming. But you can only get it on-line. It’s not available at Whole Foods or anyplace like that…..it’s part of the Professional Pyramid. The Professional Pyramid v. the Personal Pyramid.”

OMW stretches her stick-like legs out in calming relaxation, the Clarity Scent working its magic on her limbs.

PP glances over at DL. What the hell? Professional v. Personal Pyramid? But she can’t ask DL now with OMW present even though she’s dying to know what DL’s interpretation of this is. PP can’t imagine. She’s heard of Pyramid Schemes. But she’s never understood what these are. Something to do with scamming people out of their hard earned life savings with bogus investments that have nothing to do with Ancient Egypt.





Glancing over at DL, PP nods toward the garbled YMCA announcement bellowing outside Utopia about how the facility will be closing in 10 minutes. PP knows she better get to the showers. She is so damn slow. But the Calming Clarity Inertia is hard to break.

“You ‘bout ready?” PP asks DL.
“Yup,” DL grins, her dark eyes twinkling in delight.

“See you later,” DL calls out to OMW, who glances up for a moment, her foggy eyes unfocused behind her glasses.

Does she realize what she’s said? Does she have any idea of her momentous impact on PP’s blog?

PP guesses not as she and DL languidly make their way to the showers, discussions of Pyramid Possibilities and Clarity for Sale heavy in the steamy air.