Showing posts from 2010


“SHIT!!!!” PP hears the curse, and then a giant THUD.
PP knows who the Curser is—Scraping Walker Woman. And the THUD must be her flailing and knocking something or falling and hurting something.

PP had made a resolution not long ago not to ask SSW if she needed ‘help.’ She can’t remember the details now of why she’d made this promise to herself. It musta had something to do with being made to feel stupid asking SSW if she needed help.
And so, today, her first impulse is to just ignore the curse and obvious (from the sound of it) injury. But yet….What if she really had hurt herself? And was lying over on the cold cement floor, 20 feet from PP, hidden by two rows of lockers, writhing in agony? Or passed out? Or bleeding to death? Or…..


PP pulls on her black pants and marches over to SSW’s domain.
She’s there, as PP had pictured, crumpled in a heap on the floor, struggling with putting on her own pants.

“Are you okay?” PP has to ask now. She’s there.
SSW turns, totters on the floor, m…

Found Suit, Lost Time

“We’ve ______ you!” Hemophiliac Swimmer, Floyd, beams over at PP, stopped at the wall to adjust her mask.
“What?” She could take her ear plugs out, but then they’ll leak and….
“We MISSED you!”
“Oh, yeah, thanks. I usually swim up at Hilltop, but today….”

It was really too much to go into the explanation of why she was there at the Oakland Y on a Saturday afternoon instead of the more convenient Hilltopia. She’d lost her swimsuit. Horror of horrors. Wrapped up in a towel on Wed. There had been a Disruption of Ritual (DOR) by DL—-she’d had to show PP a lock---it was ‘cornflower blue’. Very pretty, but in the distraction of the pretty blue lock, PP had left her suit wrapped in the towel. Had tossed it into the dirty towel bin and left.

Needless to say, when she arrived home 30 minutes later the nervous breakdown was inevitable and full-blown. To lose a swimsuit is the worst! Esp. at Christmas when a trip to Ross would be from hell.

So on this Sat., she’d come to find the suit. And she had. O…

Hard Headed, Soft Bottomed

“Oohh, that’s hot!” Dyed Blond Ringlet Woman dips her big toe into the hot tub. PP laughs, nods, agreeing. She’s still sitting on the edge of the tub, unusual for her. Rarely does she not just plunge into the soothing heated water to counter the pool’s cool temp.

Yet this evening, the pool had been perfect. Warm and empty. PP had had the end lane where the stupid families usually frolic. This lane is the warmest since it has tiny heaters lining the wall.

She swims as close as she can to these without running into the wall.

So, when DBRW cries out over the hot tub temp, PP agrees. It is hot and maybe it seems this way since the pool hadn’t been too cold.

Glancing at the temp, DBRW grins, then shakes her curls, “106! No wonder!”
“That is toasty,” PP slips in now, the heat delicious.
“It’s empty. That’s why the temperature is so hot. The more people that are in the tub, the more the temperature goes down.”
PP’s puzzled by this. Wouldn’t it be just the opposite? The more people in the tub, the…

Was Mark Twain A Racist?

“Not to change the subject, but….” Sandy interrupts PP’s gushing rhapsody of her perfect swim: warm water (82), own lane, (rarity) and no air conditioning until the end of her swim. (Sorry to break that parallel structure, but in reality there was no parallel structure, just free form gushing.)

Sandy had been her usual listening self, nodding and agreeing with appropriate "uh huh’s” but she’d had enough. She needed an answer.

“Let me ask you this, Was Mark Twain a Racist?”
PP can’t change gears fast enough, from swimming euphoria to race relations. So she’s glad DL is there, and after a LONG pause, asks, “What do you think, DL?”

DL has the perfect answer, of course. Something about Twain writing about a certain period of history and thus documenting a certain truth of the times; however, on the other hand, in our time, today some might very well perceive his writings as racist.

She said it more eloquently than this, but you get the gist.
Sandy nods.
“Why do you ask?” PP wants to know.…

Utopia in 3 Parts

Something to Hold On To

“Oh…what a day!” African Princess sighs, lounges longer on the side of Aquatopia. DL and PP smile and nod. Every day is a long day if you ask PP. “All day I was directing traffic. And all the people. Picking up trash. We’d clear one street, then the trash was covering it…” She sighs deeply. “It was such a mess.”
“You were in the City today for the Giants’ parade?” DL asks.
“That’s right.” She shakes her head. “It was a mess. We didn’t write no tickets today at all. It was a free for all. Everyone got away with murder. People were crazy. There were so many of them. It was insane.”
“I wonder why the Giants winning the World Series is such a big deal,” PP muses aloud the unspeakable.

But there’s careful thought going on in Aquatoipa: “People have nothing else to hold on to,” In the Corner of the Hot Tub Woman nods. Serious.
And all the women nod. Serious. Knowing that it’s true.

Kissing Make You Sick

“You make the ginger, the lemon. You put in a cup of red wine. Yo…

The Richmond Plunge: 2 Perspectives

“You do Pilates?”
She eyes PP up and down, focusing in on her belly, then patting her own round soft melon of one, her wet turquoise flowers ballooning out.
“No,” PP laughs.
“Just swimming?”
“Yeah, just swimming,” PP answers.
“Bet she always been small,” Pilates Asking Woman’s Friend snorted.
Laughing, PP nods, “Yeah, that’s true. I’m small.”

And she is, esp. when confronted with the Richmond Plunge Swimming Crowd. No one did Pilates is one way of putting it, making PP and her partner today, CC (who’s really really small!) stand out even more.

The two Pilates Snorting Women give PP one more up and down before heading into the lovely lockerroom. Does PP need to describe how deluxe the Richmond Plunge is now? Maybe a little.

The women’s bathroom’s showers are white pristine tiles with little orange, red and green star fish mosaics in the floor. A sparkling mermaid graces the wall on the way out to the amazingly stupendous pool. A gigantic mural fills the far wall: a scene of a pond with white …

The Cost of Color

"Here we are losing jobs and they're paying 4000 dollars a day on orange lights around the rotunda!"

PP glances down at DL lying dazed on the utopia shelf below her. DL’s a Giant’s Fan. Yes, with capital letters.

What’s more important?

PP isn’t gonna venture into this territory. But she will do her usual prompts to keep the ‘ball’ rolling.
”You meant the top of the city capital building?” PP isn’t quite sure what a rotunda is. It’s late; she’s already done her swim, and now Utopia. None of this helps her recall of architectural structures.
“Yes, that’s right,” Sandy nods. “I mean, okay, I have nothing against Lesbians but why do they have to light it up pink?”
Does DL shift slightly? Again, PP isn’t gonna drag her into the dialogue, at least not yet.
“Why pink?” PP asks.
“That’s a good question,” Sandy says.
“It’s because of the Nazis,” DL helps now. “They used pink triangles to identify gays and lesbians during the War.”

“Really?” PP asks, not ever having heard th…

Is It Real? (Part II)

“You need to get out of here NOW!” Sexy Latina Clerk was having none of PP’s usual dilly dallying round getting dressed.

Not like PP was. Dilly dallying that is. With the shrieking HONK HONK HONK of the fire alarm and her (imagined?) smelling of smoke out at the pool, she was going as fast as she could.

But as any swimmer knows, there’s a LOT of stuff involved. The peeling off the suit (No, she didn’t even consider taking a shower –duh), drying off, putting clothes on. Collecting the cap, ear plugs, mask, water bottle, etc.

“Just wrap a towel around you!” SLC hollers over the alarm as she runs up and down the aisles of the locker room, making sure everyone is out.

Yeah, right, like PP is just gonna wrap a towel around herself, soaking wet, and run upstairs and stand naked (under the towel) in the freezing cold night fog of the Hilltopia parking lot.

Fire or no fire, she was gonna at least put her clothes on first.

And she did, skipping most of the drying off, and tossing her junk into …

It is Real?

~Part I~

It was a swimmer’s dream. The pool was absolutely empty with the exception of one quiet (very unusual) family floating about in the rec lanes.

No one was swimming laps. The water was smooth and inviting. PP couldn’t believe her good luck. This never happens, well almost never.

David Cassidy Lifeguard gave her his hearty excited wave as he invited her to partake of the empty pool. PP felt almost giddy. Friday night after a long week; the pool was going to be perfect.

She slipped into the silky smoothness and began her gliding stroke.


Her mask started to leak! Damn! So cranky! And she’d just bought it. Brand new and it leaked? Yet, she could manage this. Stopping at the wall every few laps and dumping the excess water out. It was a pain, but still, the pool was all hers and this is what really mattered!


The noise was deafening.
What the hell was going on?
She stopped mid lap and looked over at David. He …

Pool Renovation?

“What’s up with the cold air blowing on the far end of the pool?” PP asks the New Cutie Lifeguard after her freezing swim at the Oakland Y.
“Yeah, some other people have complained about that. It’s part of the renovation….”
“It’s part of the Renovation to freeze all the swimmers out of the pool?”
He laughs. “Yeah, it is cold. I was teaching a swim lesson the other day and I definitely felt it.”
“So, are they gonna fix it?”
He shakes his head. “I think they’re working on it.”
PP likes this answer. It works for almost everything doesn’t it? She can’t think what right now. But she’s working on it.

“What is the purpose of this Renovation”? she asks instead of commenting on the working time frame.
“It’s supposed to get rid of the mold on the ceiling.” He grins.
PP laughs. “You’re kidding?”
“I know. They think that if they blow air on the ceiling that it will help.”

“That seems like such a good idea,” PP jokes as Swim in her Shoes woman, who’d been sharing her lane, approaches. “Did you hear what he s…

3 Tales from the Bijou Pool at Tahoe

I: Priorities

PP’s so excited to be back in South Lake Tahoe and headed for the Bijou Pool. Swimming under the pines. Under the bright moon. In her own lane....

Until…..She gets there and whoa!

It’s crowded!

What the hell is up with that? When she’d swam here before it'd been calm and empty. Tonight there’re at least two swimmers in each lap lane and a full group of ‘water aerobics’ women taking up the rest of the pool.

Plus it was freezing!

Of course this is to be expected. After all, she was in the high sierras. But still……how could there be so many swimmers in such cold conditions?

The Tahoe swimmers must be a hardy bunch.

She dives in, sharing a lane with two other women, then one gets out and she’s just splitting a lane with Tattoo Bikini Jockette. She’s not such a great swimmer, kinda crooked and splashy, but hell she looks good and isn’t that at least some of what swimming is about?

Afterwards in the locker room, still freezing after her hot shower (and yes, thankfully it was h…

Channeling Esther

“That’s a BEAUTIFUL breaststroke you have there!”

PP continues her Esther Williams backstroke. She’s been practicing this elegant pretence since seeing Esther in Neptune’s Daughter. Esther swims gracefully, effortlessly around in coy circles as Ricardo Montabahn proclaims his undying love for her. Of course, Esther is safe in her little pool. Until Ricardo threatens to dive in after her……

Don’t worry, PP is not going to give away the entire scene!

But the reality is that PP’s backstroke is a pale imitation of Esther’s. It’s never been her forte. The only way she can do it at all, besides channeling Esther, is by donning her big fins to help keep her afloat.

“HELLO!!!!” Breaststroke Mistake Woman hollers more loudly at PP. “I said, ‘You have a BEAUTIFUL breaststroke!’”

PP stops at the wall and grins over at the pale eager moon face, eyes shining, nodding in rapt admiration.

PP wonders….should she tell BMW that she’s actually swimming the backstroke?

Nah, PP just nods, smiles sweetly, “Than…

Gram Swims Backwards!

“Soon, you’ll be swimming, Gram!” PP jokes as she stares down at her Gram, so small and frail in her pile of pillows after her harrowing 'episode' in the hospital last week. Now she’s home, resting at Uncle Joe’s as PP, DHBF and Ruthie (PP’s mom) visit.

Gram laughs, her bright blue eyes twinkling behind her wire-rimmed glasses. “Oh, no!” she giggles, “I don’t swim.”
“Yes you do,” PP asserts. “Don’t you remember?”
Gram shakes her head. The ‘episode’ of the last week has taken a toll on her. Not just her memory, though this is what seems to bother her the most,but her entire self, body and soul has shrunk dramatically.

Of course, this is to be expected. Still PP can’t help but be so very sad that her Gram may be …….

But tonight, Gram is in fine form. Why, PP’s jokes were welcome and definitely encouraged.

“I don’t remember ever swimming!” Gram exclaims.
“Well, you did,” PP grins. “Remember our pool in Hacienda Heights?”
Gram nods, “Yes, I do.”
“Well, I remember one afternoon, …


The Ugly Stick had bonked the hot tub at the Berkeley Y big time!

PP keeps swimming in the freezing B Y pool. She hates this pool. It’s always cold! But it was the only choice since the stupid Oakland Y closed their pool and in fact the entire facility for the week—so DL and PP had ventured into the land known as Bezerkely.

Now, trying to keep her muscles from completely freezing up on her, PP keeps an eye on the hot tub. Yet… she said, the Ugly Stick had been working overtime. At least a dozen Ugly Stick Men were lounging about in the tub, their scraggly beards wet and stringy, their paunchy stomachs hairy and wet, their….

Okay you get the idea.

PP doesn’t want to make you sick.
(What is it about Berkeley and the Ugly Stick? Later in Utopia, PP mentions this to DL and she just nods and pronounces: “It’s the Smug Lack of Hygiene Aspect.”)

Yup. PP doesn’t want to take a hot tub with this Aspect, yet no one seems to be leaving and she’s getting colder and colder and colder till, final…