Showing posts from December, 2009

Lost and Response

“Can I help you find something?”

Shaking her head, PP smiles, “Oh, thanks. It’s nothing really. Just an earplug. I just don’t know where it could have gone.”

PP had been drying her cap where she stores the earplugs after swimming when one of them popped out. She’d been scanning the disgusting floor at Hilltopia, but it had completely disappeared.

Helpful Woman nods, her round wrinkled pale face sympathetic. “Yes, I know what you mean. I once lost an emerald green earring. It just disappeared. I searched and searched all over the place. Even in the emerald green stripe of the rug,” she laughs. “But it was just gone.”

”Well, that was something valuable,” PP nods, still frowning as she tries to squat down to examine the floor. Her neck is killing her today. So the angle isn’t quite right for an optimum examination.

“It was nothing really,” HW shakes her gray wet curls in front of the mirror before attacking them with the brush.

“I’m always losing things,” Scraping Walker Woman joins in. She’…

Merry Christmas

“Merry Christmas,” she sings out across the lane line as PP turns at the wall. It’s Scraping Walker Woman, happy and buoyant in the water now, wishing good cheer.

“Merry Christmas,” she sighs, her round dark eyes a mixture of resignation and knowing; she wraps her towel round her ample mounds as PP leaves the Sauna. “For one week, we have no Sauna,” she’d bemoaned, yet not letting this loss stifle her holiday spirit.

“Merry Christmas!” they all holler into Utopia between giggles, as DL and PP smile in rapt delight. Three generations of Ethiopian Women, grandma, daughter, granddaughter, all rubbing sea salt on their rich dark skin, their faces masked in green avocado salad.

“How do you say “Merry Christmas in Ethiopian?” PP asks. They tell her, too fast, between more giggles. PP doesn’t even try to repeat it.

“It comes one week after,” the granddaughter tells PP, as DL takes some Sea Salt from their favorite Green Mask Woman.

"It feels nice," DL murmurs as she slowly rubs it into…

Russian Beauty

“I know it’s one of these,” PP laughs as she searches for her locker. She’s marked the lock on the back with a Victorian Kitty sticker for just these occasions. But this means she has to lift up all the locks and inspect the backs of them.

It’s a little awkward, esp. with an audience.

The audience, a lovely dark haired Russian Beauty, laughs with, not at PP. Already many points in her favor. (The laugh, not the beauty. Though the beauty doesn’t hurt.) And who knows if she’s really Russian. She has a lovely accent that could be Russian. And Russian is so romantic, right? Rachmaninoff? Tolstoy? Tchaikovsky? Siberia…? Okay, not the last one, but you get the drift. It’s not often that one meets a Russian Beauty in the Hilltop YMCA locker room.

“I always take the same one,” RB remarks, smiling sympathetically as PP continues to inspect the backs of locks. PP’s completely spaced out: hungry, tired, relaxed. The usual aftermath of a swim and a sauna.

Which makes remembering where your locker…

Bad Man!

“She a cocktail waitress. That mean she not smart. He pick woman who not smart.”
“We don’t know that she’s not smart just because she’s a cocktail waitress.”
“Then why she do that kind of job?”
“She may like it. Or she may even own the bar. We don’t know. What we do know is that most men pick women who are ‘under’ them, not as smart as them. What do you ladies think?”

DL and PP grin at each other; DL’s big brown eyes wide with delight under her steamy wire rimmed glasses. The women at Utopia.
They know how to discuss!

“I think she dumb woman.”
“What are you guys talking about?” PP finally interrupts.
”We’re talking about Tiger Woods. His mistress who’s a cocktail waitress. T thinks that she’s not very smart because she’s a cocktail waitress.”
“Or she’s not very smart cause she’s Tiger Woods’ mistress,” PP laughs. Then reconsiders. “OR she’s very smart cause she’s Tiger Woods’ mistress.”

“Yes! She get all kind of TV now. The cameras are all on her!” T says, sitting up and adjusting the plastic…


“Wow!” PP pauses at the wall, looking up from her tunnel vision swim focus at the empty Oakland Y pool, “There’s NO one here!” she hollers at the two lifeguards flirting in oblivious abandon.

They laugh, forced to acknowledge her for a moment.

“I’m going to swim in EVERY lane!” PP laughs. They laugh. Loudly this time.

Then PP does it. Really.

Dives under each lane line, swims down the lane, then dives under the next lane line and swims down the lane.

It’s like a dream she wishes would never end.

Her life out of the water is in such turmoil. Her Evil Landlord walking in on her while brushing her teeth to show HER cattage to prospective buyers. “You have to give me 24 hours notice!” she’d shrieked at him, shaking.
“Didn’t you get my email?” he asked, sheepishly, knowing damn well that duh, she hadn't.
“Email!! I don’t look at the email every day. You need to give 24 hours notice,” she repeats, her shock at his trespassing into her private domain gone wild. Who the hell does he think h…


“I really appreciate it,” she murmured, smiling shyly as she finished tying the bright blue, gold and red leafed turban round her head.

PP nodded, spaced out and tired, but Turban Woman was right. The YMCA was something to appreciate. Esp. after these long arduous days of soothing students, fighting landlords, and cursing traffic.

Without the Y, PP would be completely insane. (Okay, she heard that!)

Yet appreciation is often something that is so clich├ęd and/ or overlooked in our lives today. Of course there’s the goddamn woo woo ‘affirmations’ where you’re supposed to write out what you appreciate about yourself. (I am beautiful. I am smart. I am loyal. I am stupid. Oh, maybe that last one isn’t really an affirmation, even though it often feels like it)

Hell, PP doesn’t appreciate anything about herself, unless it’s her ability to not appreciate.

Ah, but she gets muddled here.

“And you teach all day, too,” PP had answered Turban Woman, who’d given her another sly smile.

“Yes, I do. And …