Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Torrance Pools: Part II: Sisters


Nodding her head, Lil Sis smiles across the hot tub at the Gold Chained Adorned Sun Baked Tennis Man who’d just climbed in. PP hadn’t even noticed him. She was so engrossed in her gross story about the Belching Swimmer tale she’d been narrating. And now Gold Chain Man was interrupting her?

The nerve!

But Lil' Sis, always the polite sister, answers him sweetly, “Yeah. How’d you know?”
He nods. Self assured in his assessment. “Family Resemblance.”
“Ah.....” Lil Sis lets her voice trail off in a noncommittal wisp.
“There’s another sister in between us,” PP adds, grinning. Why not? May as well start a new story now in the Hot Tub.
“No brothers?”
”Too bad,”
“You volunteering?” Lil Sis asks laughing.
Gold Chain Man strokes his gauntly tan wet chin, contemplating as he eyes the sisters up and down. Not a bad gig, he’s thinking.
“You taking applications?” he jokes.

Lil Sis cracks up.
“I don’t think so. But if we do, you’ll be the first to know.”
”Hey, not so fast,” PP eyes her sister. “There are times when a brother might come in handy.”
”That’s right!” Gold Chain Man nods in agreement, rising to a standing position in the tub, his concave wrinkly chest heaving in Gold Chain Bravado.
Laughing, Lil Sis shakes her head. “Okay, well, like I said, if we ever need a Brother....”
”Ah, c’mon, Sis,” PP cajoles, “don’t you think we could use a Brother?”
”No,” she laughs. “2 sisters are enough for me!”

Gold Chain Man starts toward the stairs to exit the tub, giving the sisters one last Brotherly Leer, “Lemme know when the application process begins!” he proclaims expansively as he slowly makes his way up the tub’s stairs, the palm trees waving in the background above his balding head,the bubbling water lowering off his back and ass to expose his scrawny tanned legs. Tennis may be good for the heart and the head, but after years of sun exposure (which PP is admittedly overly aware of), it can wreak havoc on the skin.

“Have a good swim,” Lil Sis calls after him, shaking her head as she watches him amble slowly over to the pool.
“Watch out for the Burping Man!” PP calls out, but she doesn’t think he hears her.

Lil Sis looks over at PP, eyes twinkling. “A brother, huh?”
”Nah, I was just egging him on. I’m with you. 2 sisters is plenty!”
Lil Sis nods, dunks her head under the water, and then sighs, contented.
“This is the life.....”
“Yeah,” PP grins, “especially since we got rid of our Brother and it’s just us Sisters here!”
Giggling, they glance over at the pool where Gold Chain Man has stopped in the middle of the lane and is standing chatting with Burping Swimmer.
Of course they know each other.

All PP can think of is that she’s glad that Burping Swimmer didn’t want to apply for the Brother Job.

Cuz after all. Who needs a Brother? When you've got a sister like Lil Sis to ward off all the Gold Chained Applicants!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Two Pools in Torrance: Part I: The Belching Pool

“See that guy that just got in the pool?” PP’s sis is pointing to a spastic underwater swimmer, who’s just dived into the sweet little pool at the West Side Tennis Club Pool in lovely Torrance. He’s dived into the kids’ side: the lanes (only 3 of them) are all full, with a waiting list. (Oh, this is so Club Culture. The lanes will only accommodate one swimmer at a time. Well, so do the lanes at the Oakland Y, but this is a Club, not a Y—--more on the Torrance Y later!) Thus, the swimmers place their names next to the lane they’re taking:

Lane 1: Joe Time: 5:02
Lane 2: Carla Time: 5:04
Lane 3: Roger Time: 5:05

“Damn!” PP’s sis mutters as she glances up at the clock, 5:06. “Looks like we just missed our opportunity!”
So they add their names to the Wait List:

Waiting List: PP 5:06
PP’s Sis 5:06

It was a decidedly weird system. But hey, when in Torrance….

So there they sit, watching the Guy that just dived into the kids’ side to avoid waiting for a lane, PP guesses, when Sis continues: “I think he’s the guy that always swims crooked. He just swims with one arm I think. So he goes to the left too far one way and then to the right too far the other way. It’s okay to swim next to him going one way, there’s lots of room. But the other way, he runs right into you.”

PP is super glad that he’s in the pool with the kids, and as they watch, he runs right into one of them. A frolicking bikini tanned girl steps on him underwater. He doesn’t notice. She squeals.

It’s the summertime pool in action!

So PP and Sis wait…. And wait…… And wait…..

”They’re only supposed to swim for 30 minutes when people are waiting,” Sis points to the board with the lane assignments. “These people are all pretty good. They’ve put their times in. Sometimes they don’t.”

PP nods, thinking how since she’s had to wait for 30 minutes she wants to swim more than 30 minutes or her usual 45 minutes since her Sis did pay 10 clams for the privilege. Which PP thought was a bit exorbitant, cheapskate that she is. But hey, Sis just shrugged, saying it was okay. So PP went along with it.

But this isn’t really the story at all. PP digresses in her Pool Detail Obsession.

No the story is that when PP does finally get her lane, and starts to swim in the very sweet little pool with the balmy water temp and the cute blue dolphin tiles, and she’s on the kickboard, flippering happily down the lane, when Crooked Swimming Man, in the kids’ side of the pool where he’s created a wide berth for himself, is doing the breaststroke which appears to be not too crooked, but when he comes up for air right when PP is passing him on the opposite side, he lets loose a huge juicy disgusting guacamole infused BELCH that reverberates across the lane and floats over the water's surface smack into PP's face in all its glorious vaporous stench.

“ARRGGGHH!!! “ PP yells across at him. But of course, by now, he’s back underwater, completely oblivious to his Obscene Gastronomic Outburst.

Quickening her pace, PP kicks away from him, shaking her head and laughing. Some people.

But hey, maybe he needs the belch propulsion to keep afloat? Or he just ate too much goddamn guacamole and chips and couldn’t help it. Or he was just a gross old guy who didn’t give a shit.

PP thinks it’s probably the last, but whatever. She’s got her own lane. No one is on the wait list. The sky is bright blue. The palms sway in the wind. Her sis is next to her.

What more could she want?

Nothing, she thinks, as she reaches the edge of the pool, except maybe the the pull buoy she’s sharing with sis.

She makes a grab for it.
“Hey!” Sis protests softly. “I was gonna use those.”
PP pouts. “Me too!”
“Oh, go ahead!”

And now it is perfect! PP gets her own way from her little sis. As she should! Being the Big Sis and all.

But more about sisters in the next installment!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Broiled BART Baby

PP didn’t really need to hear about this. She’d had a pretty okay swim. Split a lane most of the time. Shared with a couple of calm swimmers. Twiddle Dee chose the next lane over. Thank God. She wouldn't have to swim in the splash sandwich again.

So when she plopped into the hot tub and DL was there Wide Eyes behind foggy glasses, rapt at the African American Princess lounging naked (duh, but sometimes swimsuits are worn), her lovely brown skin smooth, her bald head matching, her story….

Well, this wasn’t so lovely.

Evidently some businessman had forgotten his baby in the back of his car in the BART parking lot all day while he was at work and well…the baby died from the “118 degree temperature in the car.”

So awful. PP didn’t want to hear this, but then, she has no control over the conversation at Utopia. Though sometimes she wished she did.

“I can’t imagine!” DL shakes her head.
“Me neither!” AAP nods in agreement.
“That’s one of the many reasons I don’t have children,” PP sighs, “I could see myself doing something like that. Though it’d be intentional.”
PP didn’t actually say that, but she thought it. Babies scare her. They are so small and vulnerable. She can’t imagine being responsible for one.

“And his wife. Imagine!” AAP continues, “Why! She can’t even talk to her husband about it.”
”No, I guess not,” DL murmured.
“She hasta be on SOME heavy duty medication now I bet!” AAP asserted, dangling a long leg seductively into the tub. PP was distracted by this of course. It was so much more tantalizing than Drugged Mom Losing Baby to Forgetful Dad. If that’s what it was.

“It was just a infant. Only 4 months old,” AAP continues, “they can be pretty quiet at that age I guess.”
“Yeah, maybe it was sleeping,” DL offered.
“Maybe. I just don’t get it. Imagine!” AAP exclaimed again, taking her long leg out of the tub in lazy relaxation.

PP didn’t find the topic of conversation too relaxing. This is why she stopped watching the local news at 11 p.m. It was all about such tragedies. Babies dying. Teenagers shot. Families burned.
It was just too much.

This is why she came to Utopia. To forget about the wrong world out there for a few hours. Yet the world always intrudes. No getting away from this.

Even if you try to get away, it’s impossible.

Which is why AAP began to talk now of some political topic. Obama this or Obama that. It was too much for PP. She had to eat. She had to sleep. She had to move. (To a ‘cottage’ in El Cerrito! Yah! No pool,--she’ll work on the Landlady about this-- but it was its own little sanctuary with no Clomping Grad Student to drive her crazy at all hours of the day and night. )

But it was all so exhausting. She could understand how the father left the baby in the car. Sure it was tragic, and on some level beyond imagination. But on the other hand, the world was overwhelming. He was probably late for work. On his blackberry emailing his boss while running to catch the BART, trying to hear last minute instructions for a meeting on his cell phone voice mail. Then writing a report during his commute before landing in San Francisco to start his hectic office rat job.

No wonder he forgot the baby!

Sighing, PP heaved herself out of the tub and headed for the showers. To rinse away the world’s woes?

Nah. Just the chlorine. But sometimes this was all it took to feel better again. At least until the next Tragic Hot Tub Story was told.

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...