La La Laaa, Sanctuary!

“La, La, Laaa!” the handsome middle-aged Asian clerk sings at me as I walk into the lobby of the Oakland YMCA. I’m cranky, but can’t help but let a grin slip out. “Sanctuary!” he calls out as he swipes my card and motions for me to head on into the Y. “Enjoy your swim!”

As I grab a couple of towels and head down the stairs, I shake my head. Sanctuary? Okay, yes, sometimes I do believe this. That the YMCA is the only sanctuary I can find in my hectic and frustrating existence here in the Bay Area, esp. when I partake of Utopia with DL. This can be paradise. But today?

No way is the Y anywhere near a sanctuary. It’s all those New Years Resolvers. Crowding into the locker room. Into the pool. Into my psyche.
And frankly, this is no sanctuary.

Unlike the sanctuary-blessed Magdalena Ecke YMCA in Encinitas. Now here is Sanctuary. A Free Parking Lot! A locker room that’s uncrowded and clean. A big beautiful new pool that is sunlit and turquoisy even though it’s indoors. (The sunlight shines through the glass tiles of the tilted roof.)

And best of all: My OWN lane!

When the hell did I get my own lane here at Oakland? Certainly not today. In fact, today was Crash Day.

Foolishly, I thought, just maybe, I would get my own lane cuz the end lane became available and so I snagged it. And yes, for about 15 minutes it was my own. But then......

Wide Load Snorkel Woman got in and watch out.

“You wanna circle or lanes?” she asked.
I eyed her snorkel and wide load self and thought, I’ll keep my own lane. Circling with her would be a hazardous chore. And so we did. Split the lane. And it went ok for a little while till ‘whap!” she conked me on the arm. And being the HSK that I am, it hurt! But I swam on. And she did too. Of course.
Till she whacked me again. Then she stopped, “Sorry!” and since she was so sincere, I didn’t growl at her. But again, this is my Sanctuary?

I think not.

And what would be? I mean, what does sanctuary mean anyway? I can only think of a Bird Sanctuary where the wild near extinct ones can alight and be protected from all the housing developments and such.

Well, the Y was full of Housing Developers today and I’d had enough. “It’s sure busy,” I’d commented to Wide Load as I prepared to get out.
“IT’s always busy!” she harrumphed.
“Not usually at this time,” I argued.
“It’s all the New Members,” she agreed.
“Ah, yes....well, that won’t last long. You know how those New Years Resolutions go.”
She stared at me for a moment, then burst out laughing. “You got that right!” before heading down the lane, her wide load floating in slow easy fluidity.

And I hafta stop and think. This pool is Her Sanctuary.
And yes, maybe it’s even mine, thanks to her.

As far as the La la la Part?

Well, I’ll leave that for the Birds!


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