Friday, October 23, 2009

Own Lane!

PP got her OWN lane!
How happy is she?
This never happens at the Oakland Y.
Cuz there are too many swimmers who want to share your lane. And you don’t want to share your lane, but you have to; otherwise, you’re a swimmer without morals. Which PP admits she’d like to be. But when it comes right down to it, she can’t help but share the lane if someone asks, albeit begrudgingly.

DL thinks that PP should keep track of the number of times she gets her own lane (for the entire swim!) She thinks that there’s some way to track this on the blog. PP is gonna look into this. But she doesn’t have to hurry with her investigation.

She won’t get her own lane again for a long long time.

Unless she does.

Which will make her very very happy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


“She really is a fish, isn’t she?”
GP grinned as she relayed her husband’s assessment of PP. Going swimming in this weather?

In the worst storm of the year? (Okay, it was the first storm of the year, but still.....)

“Or he coulda said she was the Craziest Fish, really!” PP muttered aloud to herself as she vainly tried to see the freeway in front of her through the driving gray sheets of windy rain.

What she will do for a swim!

Is the pool worth risking your life for?

Goddamn right it is.

PP hit the brake as the cars in front of her slowed to a crawl, red brake lights thankfully warning her to keep her distance. The gargantuan yellow truck at the front of the line of cars spewed a ghastly black smoke as it chugged up Hwy 80 toward Pinole.

Glancing down at her speedometer, PP saw that she was barely going 35 miles an hour.

This is for the best, she thought. Of course unless some stupid idiot rear-ends her. “Maybe you should think less about what’s behind you and concentrate on what’s in front of you instead,” DHBF had advised when she complained of yet another harrowing drive to his apartment on Fruitvale Ave.
“But I’ve been rear ended twice!” she’d exclaimed.
“So have I,” he answered. Why the hell does he always have to do that? Whatever she’s being highly sensitive about, he’s already done it. And it was nothing.

Trying now to follow his advice, PP kept a good distance between herself and the car in front of her, thinking to herself how CRAZY this was to be driving to the pool in such a storm. Esp. after her nervous breakdown earlier that morning after getting caught in the torrential downpour in the parking lot of Safeway. Couldn’t get the Geo’s door open. Had to run around to the other side of the car, spastically fitting the key into the front door, finally opening it to let the rain gush into the car. Tossing the plastic sopping wet bags all over the back seat. Her hair matted to her forehead in a pitiful clump. Slamming the door, she sat inside the car, soaking in the front seat, breathing in and out rapidly, trying to control herself.

PP tries not to have breakdowns in public places.

Was inside her car a public place? she wondered.

Damn. She breathed in again. Watching the rain hurling down from the sky through the foggy windshield.

If she were really a fish, a little rain wouldn’t really have bothered her, right?

Now, finally taking the exit for the pool, PP waited at the light, before making the left hand turn. A angry "HONK"! from behind startled her already rattled self. Had she just cut off someone behind her because of her fogged up windows? Damn!
That's what she gets for the followment of DHBF’s advice to not be so concerned with what’s behind her.

Oh, blame him! She grinned to herself as she headed down the windy hill toward the Hilltop Y.

Yet. 15 minutes later. In the pool. Only one other Crazy Fish was in the water.


It had all been worth it, she thought as she jumped in, streaming through the glassy water, feeling her arms stretch out and cut through the water.

Later, post swim, relaxed and satisfied, PP came out of the sauna and ran into Scraping Walker Woman, who had just done her water walking. “The weather is pretty bad today, isn’t it?” she said, giving PP her blue eyed twinkle even as she grunted toward the shower.

“Oh, yeah!” PP agreed as she turned on a shower. “The rain is Nasty. Esp. driving on the freeway.”

SWW nodded, considering PP’s plight before answering. “Yes, well I live close by. But I thought to myself that I needed to come here today. Because there were lots of days before when I wasn’t well enough to come at all.”

PP had nodded. Now here’s a person with real problems, not just Parking Lot Breakdown Disorder.

And she appreciated what she could do today. And of course, the Pool was key. Admirable to be so optimistic in the face of physical limitations, PP thought.
Oh, to hell with Optimism, she grinned as she headed back over to her locker.

She’d take Crazy any day.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Marriott at Kalapaki Beach

”Not that I don’t LOVE all of you beautiful people, but….” Love Fest Woman glances around the pandemonium that is the Lihue airport and sighs, “…I’ve booked a room at the Marriott.”
“How much is a room at the Marriott?” someone asks wistfully.
“$199.99. But I don’t care. I can’t take it anymore. Ciao!”

PP watches in a jealous cloud of exasperation as LFW strides purposefully out of the airport, husband and luggage in tow. Damn! Why can’t she go to the Marriott?

Oh, yeah that little thing called money.

Damn again. Bet there’s a really great pool at the Marriott too!

Sighing loudly, PP plops back into the uncomfortable plastic chair, her head aching, her nerves frayed.

She’d asked if they could be sent to a hotel when the flight had been canceled and there wasn’t another one till the next day. But nooooo….

“We can book you on a flight to LA and then from there you can get a connecting flight to SFO.”
“Are you serious?” PP had practically screamed at the Stony Faced Agent. “I’m not flying to LA! That’s ridiculous.”

Stony Face looked right through PP before continuing. "Or there's a flight out of Honolulu to SFO tonight. We could...."

"We just came from Honolulu! I'm NOT going back there! This is insane!"

“I’m sorry, Ma’am," she answered, gathering up some papers to prepare to walk away. She knew an abusive passenger when she saw one! "... but that’s the best we can do right now. Why don’t you just take a seat and wait.”

Wait for what? PP had wanted to holler at her. But what was the point? Obviously, Stony Face was NOT going to help her.

The sleep deprivation was debilitating at this point in the ordeal. (They'd gotten up a 6 a.m. to get to the Honolulu airport for the connecting flight to Lihue. Ass backwards, did anyone say?) And so, PP was NOT gonna spend the night on a flight to LA or in the goddamn waiting room at the Honolulu airport where she'd already spent an hour lying on the floor in the air-conditioned room. Why the hell is everything kept a miserable 53 degrees in Hawaii?

Hell, if she wanted 53 degrees she woulda stayed in San Francisco.

And so, she waited. And waited. And waited.

DHBF, on the other hand, was standing is some line, talking to various other passengers. He could juggle waiting on hold for United Airlines while chatting away amiably with complete strangers. How the hell did he seem, at least outwardly, to to be having a great time in all the chaos? While she, on the other hand, was way past a nervous breakdown and could only sit mutely in the damn plastic chair trying not to cry.

Must be in the DNA as her mother would say. Or all that acting background. Pretence would come in handy right about now.

“I’m gonna go make a reservation at another hotel,” Marching over to DHBF, PP had finally gotten up after an hour of watching the pandemonium of non-action in action. Nodding at her, he continued to listen to both the phone and some dumpy guy go on and on about his flight to LA that he was just so relieved to get.

Shit, she thought as she went over to the phone booth and looked up hotels. There were only 4 listed on Kauai. (Of course, the Marriott caught her eye first) Dialing the number on her too small cell phone, she got on the line with the Kauai Inn. Had made the reservation when felt herself nudged in the middle of the call my Marin Aussie Woman who wanted a reservation too.

Funny how everyone bands together in a crisis.

Not that everyone would view being stranded at the Lihue Airport on Kauai a crisis. But an airport waiting room full of angry passengers is the same wherever you are: Kauai, Bakersfield, Beijing. (That’s another story. But even China Airlines put them up in a hotel when the flight was canceled. Hell, if it can be done in Communist China, why not America the Beautiful?)

PP and MAW made the reservation at the Kauai inn. Then sat down to wait for vouchers for tomorrow’s flight that their respective mates were supposedly getting.

Hours and hours and hours slogged by. By 6 pm there were only a few of them left.

No announcements had ever made about what United was gonna do with them. But something had happened to most of the passengers, cause by this time (the flight had been canceled at 1? 2? After waiting on the runway in the airplane for an hour) there were now only a handful of them left.

And United gave in.
The new crew came on at 6 and guess what?

They were going to the Marriott!

Relief poured thro PP’s tired limbs and brain. Thank goodness. At least this ordeal in the airport was over and she’d get to swim!

After settling in their deluxe FREE room, PP had to do you know what--find the pool!
And when she did, her expectations were more than met. Because this Marriott had the most amazing pool in the world. Five hot tubs surrounded by Greek columns that you had to swim to. The pool itself was not rectangular or the insipid liver shape, but ROUND!

Why this pool looked like a tacky replica of William Randolph Hearst’s Pool at his famous Castle. But this one at the Marriott---you could swim in!

When they arrived, it was dark evening, but the pool was lit up in romantic magic. Embracing couples floated in the dark, the girls riding on the boys' backs, their arms slung lazily round the boys' necks. Leaving little to the imagination even in the dark. The air was a balmy 78 degrees; the full moon shone its pearl light on the dark turquoisy water; the black tiles glistening seductively under the glimmering surface.

Enchanting and enchanted. PP couldn’t wait to jump in.

And when she did?

All the stress of the day just melted away. Floating in the warm moonlight under a giant statue of a Rabbit, she swam in circles till she was dizzy!

Once again, a pool saves the day.

But of course, you all know this already.

If only United Airlines had figured it out earlier!

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...