Friday, May 29, 2009

Green Alert

“Why’s the pool so crowded?” PP asks Burly Nice Lifeguard as she stares at the pandemonium of circle swimmers. She was so sick of the crowds! The pool had been an odious, wretched, heinous, hellish, claustrophobic, menacing Mayhem all week!

BNF shakes his head and sighs. “Actually the pool’s been closed for the last 24 hours.”
“Really? But I was here yesterday.”
”Yeah, well it just reopened.”
“Why was it closed?’
“A little kid had an accident.”
“Oh….” A Brown Alert, PP thinks. She didn’t make this up. Some smart ass at another pool, she thinks the one in Encinitas perhaps, quipped it.

Well, she’d asked. And she’d gotten her answer. So this is why the pool was so crowded this evening as she climbed into a lane and began the sinister circle swimming. Ugh. Then the two swimmers got out.

Yahoo! She had her own lane! But not for long, cause here come Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Two pasty white guys with Easter egg caps (PP thinks it’s kinda weird when guys were caps anyway. Why this is she hasn’t really analyzed and doesn’t feel like doing so now, but there it is.) So, TD and TD’s caps were purple and green respectively, their dorky white guy ears protruding outside the bright colored caps.

Oh, my. They were from hell. PP was in a Splash Sandwich with one on either side of her, making waves that nearly drowned her. Nevertheless, she got through her swim with only a minimum of water swallowed.

Exhausted, she thankfully, plops into the Hot Tub afterwards where DL joins her followed by another swimmer, a round, middle-aged, Pasty Pink Woman with many sighs of “Ahhh….this feels so good!”

PP tells DL of the Brown Alert (Gross! I didn’t need to know that!) And of the Splash Sandwich construction of TD and TD. DL cracks up just like she’s supposed to when PP tells her stories. PPW smiles over at them, nodding in agreement about the splashing and then goes into a harangue about the damage the chlorine does on the hair and skin.

DL is staring at PPW, but trying not to. PP can tell. Yet, It can’t be ignored, though DL is trying to. But not very hard.

Why is she staring?

PP can’t mention it at the time, but PPW has a giant snot line hanging under her nose. PP feels a little nauseous writing this down. But there it is. It's one of the hazards of swimming. Yet why doesn't she notice it and wipe it off? This makes her more than a little suspect.

“….and so I always take time off between swims because of the chlorine,” PPW announces.
“Yeah, that’s a good strategy,” PP agrees, trying not to stare at her nose.
“Do you?” she asks.
“Nah, I need to swim all the time. It’s good for my Brain.”
PPW stares at her for a moment, perplexed, before nodding, “Yeah, I can see that. It gets Oxygen to your brain.”
PP nods. This isn’t what she meant, but clarifying her psychological inferences to PPW seemed too arduous a task what with the distraction under her nose and all.
“Well, you two have a good evening,” PPW signs off, lumbering out of the tub and into the showers.

As soon as she disappears behind the wall of showers, DL busts up. “Did you see that?’
Giggling, PP nods. DL doesn’t have to identify it. But she does, in her own poetic fashion.
“She had a Green Alert!”

They both crack up! “It’s like I’m 6 years old,” DL gasps between giggles.

And it’s true. 6 year olds know how to call it.
If only PP had had a 6 year old during her Splash Sandwich. She was sure somehow that woulda helped with TD and TD.

Or maybe not.

Lord knows, the pool definitely didn’t need any more Brown Alerts. At least when PP wanted to swim.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Daisies from....

“Nice suit!” Liver Transplant Woman exclaims as she watches Flailing Chinese Woman wriggle, with the help of Walker Red Headed Woman, into a bright sixties style daisy suit. You know those kind of daisies that are bright colors like hot pink and lime green and sunshine yellow? Today, they dance on a background of jet black with jazzy square shortie bottoms of FCW's new suit.

LRW is right. FCW is HOT today in her daisy suit, as WRHW snaps the strap playfully on her shoulder, nodding in agreement with LTW.

Hot Tub Mama bestows her approval also, giving a subtle but powerful nod. She’s always up to the task of Locker Room Maven, no matter that she just got out of the hospital after "11 day. My diabetes. My doctor said. Blood in my stomach I cough up. A diarrhea come out all black. But better now.”

And it’s a good thing. What did they all do without her around for 11 days? Though PP thinks that she didn’t really need to hear the details of her ordeal while enjoying the Daisy Suit Fashion Show, but there’s no containing HTM.

“Where you get suit?” HTM yells out from the tub.
“She don’t speak English. She don’t understand,” WRHW shakes her head.

With a sly wink, LTW grins over at HTM, PP and then WRHW before whispering an aside, “She understands. Watch.”
“Where’d you get your suit?” she hollers at FCW, who for a moment pretends that she doesn’t understand, but then realizes she’s been found out when LTW continues to eye her, smiling a broken toothy grin at her.

Grinning her own missing tooth smile back at them all, FCW announces: “Hong Kong!” and then proudly gathers her stuff up to head out to the pool.

Shaking her head in amazement, WRHW deadpans, “Hong Kong? Hell, I get mine at Ross.”

They all crack up, even FCW, or is it especially FCW?

PP has the suspicion that she’s the one who’s gonna have the last laugh.

Hong Kong?

PP grins to herself, thinking how she bets FCW got her jazzy sixties daisies at Ross too.

In the Hong Kong section, of course!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Carmex Angel

“You dropped this.”
Turning around, PP beholds an Angel. Her hand extended with a jar of Carmex in her pale palm.

Where the hell did she come from? PP wonders, as the soft, accented (Australian? English? PP can never tell the difference. But who cares. It’s sexy) voice lilts through the empty row of lockers. She’s tall, this Carmex Angel, and pale (Okay, PP already said this, but it does make her more angelic right?) with long alabaster limbs, a firm white bottom, and rounded breasts dancing in PP’s line of vision.

Understandably speechless, PP, nevertheless manages to mutter an “Oh, thanks,” as she takes the proffered Carmex from the Angel’s soft palm.

Carmex Angel floats down the row of lockers; PP tries not to stare, but hell, why not? Shouldn’t she get some sort of fringe benefit from braving the crowds at the YMCA Monday afternoon pool time?

But what to say? Can’t she come up with something better than ‘Thanks’?

Giggling, PP calls after her, “Good thing you found that for me. I wouldn’t have gotten far without it.” Which is true. Carmex Addiction. But that’s another blog.

Carmex Angel glances back over her delicate shoulder. She really is a vision. PP is gonna put her in her novel. But for now, CA just smiles, politely. Not joining in PP’s little joke.

She doesn’t get it?

Of course not.

Angels don’t need Carmex. Their lips are always heavenly soft and supple. No need for artificial lubricants.

PP better stop now. Before she gets out the Carmex again, and starts strategically dropping it all over the Y, letting it roll to a stop at unsuspecting angels' heavenly feet, lining the rows of decidedly earthly lockers.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mooney Moods

”Man, I’m feeling it. The full moon. It just messes with all my fluids, you know what I mean?”

PP nods, she has no clue what FRW (aka Daphne, she later learned) is talking about, but when has that ever stopped her from nodding and pretending otherwise?

”And my last name is Mooney (or did she say Moody?). That makes it doubly worse.” Daphne laughs heartily as she settles back into the warm hot tub waters.

Laughing along, PP doesn’t know how to respond since she isn’t sure which last name Daphne really said. Though maybe it doesn’t matter. If she said, Mooney, well then there are fluids involved in this, right? Or if she said, Moody, well then there’s hormones involved in this.

PP opts for an answer that covers both—“Yeah, well, the Moon does move the tides and so it makes sense that it’d move the fluids in our bodies and psyches too.”
Daphne nods. Likes this answer. It resonates with her Mooney Mood. “Exactly. That’s a good point. Plus the other fluids. Like when I’m menstruating, hell watch out.”

“Those tides are flooding!” PP jokes.
Daphne slaps the surface of the water, grinning broadly. Oh dear, PP thinks, is she making a new friend? Does she really want one? It’s so overwhelming. She already knows too many people, esp. Mooney moody people. Does she really need another crazy woman in her life?

Of course.

So when Daphne starts in on the benefits of swimming and how she’s taken a week off and how she’s missed the water, PP knows that she’s not so crazy after all.

Anyone that agrees with PP’s Pool Philosophy of How Swimming Can Cure All Ills is a friend of hers.

At least during the full moon.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Wipe That Look Off Your Face!

"Girl, you're stressin me out with That Look!" Face Reader Woman sighed heavily after delivering this verdict. PP felt like hitting her, but refrained.

"You can see the disappointment all over your face!" she continued, turning to another woman who was sharing the locker room bench with her. “We’re talking ‘bout disappointment here if you wanna know.”

PP didn’t.

She was more than Disappointed. She was furious. Imagine! Closing the pool for some unknown Random Reason on a Tuesday afternoon right when SHE was here to swim.


Yet the signage when she’d arrived said:

Pool closed on Tuesday, May 5 until 2 pm

PP has an inherent distrust of signage. Especially when it comes to pool closures. Extra especially when it comes to such closures at the Oakland Y.

So, yeah, waiting in the locker room for the pool door to ‘unlock’ at 2 pm., and believing that it might not, was making her extremely cranky. Stomping around in her pink suit, carrying her fins, frowning and cursing inwardly, (No she wasn’t saying what she was thinking OUT loud) PP was ready to explode.

Thus, when FR Woman commented upon her ‘disappointment, PP just glared at her. How the hell was she supposed to keep the ‘disappointment’ offa her face? (Her face, unfortunately, always displayed ALL of her emotions. This was something that often caused her great consternation not to mention trouble, but this day, she was trying to maintain some semblance of non-emotive decorum.)

Obviously, it wasn’t working. At least not with FR Woman.

Where the hell did she get off anyway? Telling her that PP was ‘stressin her out’? Piss off is what PP wanted to say, but FRW was bigger and looked mad too.

After all she was sitting there, suited up too, also waiting for the pool to open, and sharing her disappointment with her comrade. Maybe she just wanted PP to join in?

Like PP was gonna join in any goddamn Group Disappointment Circle while waiting for the pool to open!

"I just really need a swim!" PP managed to mutter.
FRW nodded, "I hear ya, Girlfriend. The pool's supposed to open up at 2."
"Well, it's 2 now and the door to the pool is still locked!"

FRW nodded in commiseration. She looked like she was gonna cry actually. So PP decided to go upstairs and ask at the front desk if the pool was really gonna open to avoid any actual tears.

Naturally asking at the front desk was a complete waste of time. Tromping up the stairs in her pink suit, which would usually make her self-conscious, today just added to her fury. When she reached the front desk and demanded an answer to the pool’s still closure, she was just told, “They have the go-ahead. They have the keys. They can unlock the door.”

Okay, then.....when? Today? Tomorrow? Next year? When dolphins fly?

Back down the stairs, only to confront FRW’s sad mug. “They’re supposed to open the pool any time now,” PP announced.

FRW continued to sit motionless on the bench, her disappointment partner gone now. She really did look depressed. PP wondered if she was experiencing any Pool Closure Thought Distortions, such as: “The pool will never open.” (Overgeneralization, Predicting the Future) or “If I weren’t such an Idiot I would have called first before coming all the way down here.” (Negative Self-Labeling) or “If the pool would just open goddammit, I’d be happy!” (Blaming a Situation for your Unhappiness)

PP was thinking this last one wasn’t a Distortion at all! The pool being closed unexpectedly when she really needed a swim WAS causing her unhappiness!

Stomping through the showers again, PP pushed at the door out to the pool and Voila! It was unlocked!


Stepping into the pool arena, there were already a few sneaky swimmers in the water. Damn. How the hell did they get here before her?

Whatever. PP stole over to the empty end lane and jumped in (shower be damned) and started swimming.


See she was happy now. Distorted Thinking be damned! The water’s soft embrace always did the trick, and as she swam, she started to relax until someone got in the lane without telling her and nearly ran into her head on.

Cursing and swerving to avoid a collision, PP turned and headed back down the lane only to confront FRW resting at the wall.

“You happy now?” FRW beamed, her eyes shinning behind her foggy mask.
“Oh, yeah!” PP grinned, forgiving her the non-communication lane entry transgression.

And she was. The ‘disappointment’ had been washed away. She only hoped her Pool Joy showed on her face as much as the previous distress had earlier.

Judging from FRW’s reaction, it did.

“Stopped both of us from crying!” FRW joked as she gave PP a final nod before heading back down the lane.

Laughing, PP grabbed her fins, slipped them on, and followed her in joyful non-stressed out, gliding glee.

Diving into the Plunge! (Part II)

“Is that it?” PP pointed across the busy street where a large “P” was peaking through the trees.
“Looks like the right kinda building,” DHBF nods as he waits to make the turn into the parking lot of the “PLUNGE”

A parking lot. Now there’s a concept! And they’ve found it—PP claps in delight as DHBF grins. He loves it when she’s delighted, which frankly doesn’t happen often enough lately. But that’s another story.

Yet now with only 20 minutes left for lap swimming, it seems that the actual swim will have to wait. But maybe not. If they hurry….PP’s eternal optimism is only rampant when it comes to pools.

They park. PP rushes out. Hurries toward the entrance. It's so exciting! But oh dear! DHBF takes so long to get out of the car. PP is gonna get in trouble for this, but what the hell is he doing? Leave whatever for now hurry! The Lap Swim Clock is ticking!

She stands on the curb. Waiting waiting waiting. Finally he’s done doing god knows what in the car….

And into the office they march where a cheery Hayward kid greets them.

“Are we too late for lap swimming?” PP asks.
“I’m sorry but there’s a half hour wait,” he apologizes.
A half hour wait? What the hell does that mean? And besides, since it was 6:40, wasn’t the pool closing in 20 minutes? How could they wait a half hour to swim when it was closed? Maybe they were gonna keep the pool open just for them since they’d gone to so much trouble to find the Plunge?

“But aren’t you closing in 20 minutes?” PP asks.
“Since there’re two aerobic classes going on on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the pool stays open till 8:15.”
“Really?” PP can’t believe their good fortune. Imagine. They thought they wouldn’t even find the pool. And then when they did find it, it was gonna be too late to swim. And now it was open later? Cuz it was Tuesday?


It’s Pool Kismet!

Still she didn’t understand the half hour wait caveat.
“Yeah,” he nods, “but like I said, there’s a half hour wait.”
“I don’t understand….” PP shakes her head. “What do you mean a half hour wait?”
It’s complicated. Something about putting your name on a list. Everyone gets their own lane and when someone gets out another swimmer off the waiting list gets the go ahead.

A Lap Swimmer Reservation List?

With a Lap Swimmer Host?

How very cool is that?

Who knew the Hayward Plunge would be so refined.

But the refinement stops at the front counter as PP heads down the steep stairs to the Changing Room Dungeon. Truly. This is what it feels and looks like. Wet concrete floors, weird blue pipes on the walls pumping water through to the Plunge making an eerie gushing whooshing water noise. A couple toilet stalls where the doors close too tight so when you wanna get out, it's hard.

Yet, PP is so thrilled to be here, that she shrugs the dungeon off. Who cares as long as she can swim!

Climbing back up the sinister stairs and now up on the deck, it's a SCENE! The two aerobic classes at either end of the huge pool that must be 100 meters long and she finds out later, 20 yards across, are bouncing and grinning. Water aerobics share the same happy energy wherever you go.

Venturing out onto the deck, PP finds DHBF, and then the Pool Host!

He ambles up to them, clipboard in hand, "You guys know you hafta wait?"
"Yeah, we were told a half hour," PP nods.
He shakes his head, "Nah, it shouldn't be that long. Lemme get your names and I'll come get you when a lane opens up."

What service!

Now she and DHBF sit down on the sunlit bench and watch the aerobics class and wait for their lane. The class is full of the usual shower cap ladies and an occasional brave middle-aged man, with the instructor on deck, perky and shouting. Why must they always shout? PP wonders. Of course it is noisy in the vast dome, but really, can't they just use the 'watch me and follow me' system of teaching and NOT shout so much?

But it's entertaining. And passes the time till the Pool Host comes over and directs them to their lanes. PP goes first ahead of DHBF. (He’s such a gentleman!) Swimming on the black line, while the swimmer next to her swims between the black lines, then the next swimmer is on the black line, etc. She'd been in such a system before at the Oceanside Pool, but there was no Host there. The Hayward Plunge had all the class!

The water is cool, greenish and fun! PP's finned feet slip on the olive green tiles circa 1938 every time she turns around. She kicks on her back and revels in the golden greeny afternoon light and the atmosphere that feels like another era. Why, she doesn't even mind when Butterfly Man gets in the lane next to hers and goes at it.

She's in the Hayward Plunge. It's fabulous. Why, she feels like one of those bathing beauties from the 30’s. Must be the pool. And the kismet.

Since only a bathing beauty would have this much ‘luck’!

Mad as Hell!

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” Remember that line? Remember that movie? Network , right? What was everyone so ma...