Wednesday, May 06, 2009

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?

How LUCKY is THAT?

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’!

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