Thursday, March 25, 2010
"Where you talking about?"
PP plops down on the top shelf of Utopia. Interrupting Sandy and a Fluffy Blond Woman. Sandy'd been saying how she never goes there. Of course, PP has to know where it is that she never goes. Maybe she's been?
Nah, that's not her motivation. She just wants the story.
"Cache Creek," Fluffy Blond eyes PP suspiciously.
"Tanya, Penelope. Penelope, Tanya," Sandy introduces before rolling over onto her other side.
"Please to see you," Tanya says, though still with reservation. Then shrugging, continues on.
“You should see Those Chinese. Oh. They are smokers!” Tanya laughs, shaking her fluffy head at Sandy.
“And the way they hold their cigarettes," Sandy smirks.
Tanya stares at Sandy for a moment, shifts her towel up to cover her ample bosom peaking out, before frowning. “I don’t understand.”
Sandy holds up her third and fourth finger, (Can you tell PP teaches piano?) pins them together, pretends like she’s smoking.
Tanya continues to frown. “And the gambling! They love to do the gambling. For me. I don’t care for it. But it is my friends. They like it. Why one friend, he is retired and he is always gambling and I tell him, no I can’t go with you, I have to work, but he doesn’t understand. He wants me to come with him. But I only go sometimes. Not all the time. I have to see the sunlight.”
“Gamblers are Vampires!” PP blurts out. Wondering if Tanya's friend is Chinese too, or is it just racist stereotypes running rampant at 10 pm at the Oakland YMCA Sauna?
Figures that Vampire stereotypes would be less disturbing. Or not....
Tanya turns and stares at her, for a long moment, before nodding, “Yes. That is right. Vampires. But not me. I like to go to the sunshine and stay outside. Not inside in the gambling.”
PP eyes her. She sure looks like a Vampire. Pale. Shiny. Eyes wide and dark. Piercing. Of course, she must drink blood with That Accent.
Though with the blond hair, maybe not.
"I must go now," Tanya announces, rising, still holding the towel up, but it's no use. There's no contest between her bosom and the skimpy cloth. PP watches as she exits the sauna, then smiles, turns to Sandy, "Where's she from? Transylvania?"
Sandy chuckles, "No, Poland. But you're close. One of those Eastern Block countries.” She pauses for a moment, wistful. "I have visited Eastern Europe."
This doesn't surprise PP at all. Sandy seems to be a woman of some sort of Independent Means. Usually such means includes travel.
"Where to?" PP asks.
"Serbia?" PP wouldn't have guessed this. Who goes to Serbia? Of course, Sandy intuits her surprise.
"Yes, well....My half sister, we share the same mother, and her brother’s cousin married a Serbian Beauty and we were all invited to the Wedding. And let me tell you, it was something.”
“Yes. And so while we were there we toured around Serbia and saw the sights. Then we went on to Athens. I had to see Athens. My sweetie is Greek. And so he had family that had a sweet little hotel right downtown across from the Acropolis. We’d sit out on the porch and sip our coffee and gaze at those ruins and it was so….”
PP nods, remembering her own trip to Athens. How much she hated that City. But she does remember the enchantment of the Acropolis. Lit up like a magic castle, golden and orange and shadowy as she and O stood on the rooftop of their hotel and listened to a Crazy Greek play some ukulele-like instrument.
It was another world.
Like Cache Creek. Or Poland. Or Transylvania.
Monday, March 22, 2010
“Those Tea Partiers!” Danish Accent Woman almost shrieks, or at least it sounds like it echoing in the women’s locker room at Hilltopia.’
PP can’t hear any response as she makes her way around to the other side of DAW, the better to eavesdrop without engaging.
“That is how Hitler started!” DAW continues. PP can visualize her waving her scrawny arms in a wide dramatic arc even though she was on the other side of the lockers.
“No one remembers. No one puts two and two together. But in Europe....”
“Where are you from?” Some Brave Interrupter asks.
“Holland. I am Dutch. And let me tell you, in Holland, we remember. I tell you, these Tea Partiers. They are just like Hitler.”
PP finishes changing into her new cute suit ala LJ. So happy that finally she’s not dressed in her Punk Suit with the rip round the middle and back.(Though she was tempted to take CC's jest in earnest and use safety pins to accessorize the look.) Now, she wants to stay for more Fascist Eavesdropping, but the pool is calling.
Yet it's her lucky day! DAW is on her way to the pool too. PP ends up showering next to her before diving in; DAW smiles at PP, before donning her cap and heading out to the water.
She takes up the entire lane, DAW does, on her back doing her version of the Elementary Backstroke. It’s impressive in its flailing spectacle. PP is careful not to get in her lane; instead, she thankfully shares with gentle Asian Guy who does a languid breaststroke with nary a wave.
PP notes how everyone avoids DAW’s lane. She’s a terror. Maybe this has to do with growing up in Europe? You have to defend your territory from who knows who? It’s all so close there; all the countries are small and share myriad borders. PP can’t recall exactly how Holland is laid out, but she bets it’s vulnerable to invaders, unless those windmills are armed. And they might be.
It occurs to PP now that DAW’s backstroke is like a windmill. Her arms spinning wildly under the water. Lethal blades--that’s for sure.
Would Hitler survive such an assault?
PP thinks not. Though those Tea Partiers, that’s another story. They're a tough and supid bunch. Someone with the likes of DAW's weapons would be nothing to them.
Later in the Hilltopia sauna, PP lies exhausted on the upper deck when DAW lumbers in. She sighs deeply and begins:
“You see that sweet little boy? The one whose mama is 8 months pregnant?”
PP knows she doesn’t have to answer. DAW will continue regardless of a response.
“I told her she should go in the walking lane. Those kids. They are kids. They wouldn’t mean to, but she could get hurt. 8 months. She shouldn’t take a chance. And the little boy, he is so blonde, he loves the water. When I was growing up in Holland, I learned to swim at 1 years old. And by 3 years I was saving others."
PP does murmur an obligatory I'm Impressed Response, "Wow, that’s amazing.” She’s heard this brag before. DAW has a soapbox. Htler isn’t her only obsession.
No sooner does PP think this, then it’s off with Hitler again. “Those Tea Partiers!” DAW harrumphs, never mind that there is absolutely no transition between the 3 year old lifeguards in Holland and the Nazi Regime in Germany. “They are so scary!”
“Yes,” PP agrees.
”You know,” DAW pauses, dramatically. “That is how Hitler started.”
PP wants to say, “Really? What’s the connection between the Tea Partiers and Hitler? But she doesn’t. Just agrees instead.
“And in this country, in America. People just don’t know. I’m from Holland. And we remember.”
“Yes, that’s true,” PP agrees, “Americans are so gullible.”
DAW pauses for a moment, cocking her head at PP, eyeing her with a new found respect?
“You know, you are a very good swimmer!” she exclaims.
“Oh,” PP grins, only a little surprised at the non sequitor. “Thanks.”
“I love to swim!” DAW continues. “Nothing like it. I come every day. But I can, I’m retired.”
Sighing, PP wishes she were retired so she could come every day. But on the other hand, she’d have to be careful not to come at the same time as DAW.
That is how Hitler started. Remember?
Thursday, March 18, 2010
“I’ve been a Nurse for 33 years and I just haven’t been suited to it. Lately. All the time... I’m just Angry.”
“I bet,” PP answered, not sure at all what Hot Tub Nursie would be angry about.
“The HMO’s. Kaiser. You know Kaiser?”
Does she know Kaiser! She wrote a book about it, but PP just nodded.
“They are so gurgle gurgle gurgle….”
PP couldn’t hear what she said. The Hot Tub bubbles filling in the Kaiser Rant.
“I’m trying to get out of Nursing now. Doing more blah blah marketing.” PP didn’t understand the blah blah blah part either. But it obviously didn't matter.
“What’s that?” PP asked, pretending like she was hearing every word that HTN uttered.
“It’s like marketing, you know Amway, or Tupperware, though this is for Wellness.”
“Ah,” PP nodded. She hates Wellness. It’s so stupid. She’s all about Sickness. Well, not exactly. But she does get so tired of the woo woo buzz words.
"Anyway, I could get you a brochure, if you're interested."
"That's okay," PP rose to climb out of the tub, feeling just a little unwell. Fortunately DL had shown up, eyes wide, grinning at PP's Nurse Entrapment in the Hot Tub.
"What brochure?" DL asked. No, not really, DL just turned away from the conversation and tried not to laugh at whatever look PP had on her face.
"I could use one of those brochures," Jesus Tattoo Liver Transplant Woman had ambled over. PP tried not to look at where her liver used to be. How could that be that her liver was gone? That couldn't really be, could it?
PP was starting to feel very unwell.
DL held the door of Utopia open, and PP weaved into its sanctuary.
“Where Evie been?”
“I ran into her last Saturday, she was here early, and she told me she’s taking classes to improve her English.”
“Ummm…” African American Princess murmured.
“Yes; I hope when she finishes I’ll be able to understand her better.” Sandy sighed, turning over onto her back.
“I sure do miss her!”
“Me too, me too,” Sandy agreed, sighing again.
“I miss her laugh. I miss her talk. I miss her underwear hanging on the side of the hot coals there.”
“I don’t miss that!” Sandy laughed. “But you’re right, she is a presence.”
Laughing, AAP slapped her firm long thigh, “Aren’t we all? Why we all have our own Individual Characteristics.”
PP almost fell over. Did AAP really just say that? Did she know that PP was writing a Novel (cause that’s what it is at this point) about all of the ‘characters’ in Utopia?
“I just don’t need her Salad Dressing Vapors filling up the sauna,” Sandy frowned.
“Yeah, I tell her, she could eat herself!” AAP laughed loudly.
“Is it really salad dressing?” PP had to ask now, if for no other reason than to keep the conversation going.
“Nah, not really,” Sandy grinned.
“But it could be!” AAP disagreed. “It full of avocado, cucumber, lemon, what else?”
”Garlic” Sandy added, wrinkling her nose.
“But you’re right. I still do miss her in spite of the Salad Dressing.”
“Yeah….” AAP nodded, “She good people.”
“That she is. That she is.”
“I am so hungry! I’m going to faint!” PP announced to no one in particular while getting dressed. The row of lockers now filled with several women desperately trying to get their clothes on before the YMCA Get the Hell Out of Here Clerk kicked them out.
“Here,” Jesus Back Tatoo Liver Transplant Woman bent down, picked up a Trader Joe’s feta cheese container and handed it to PP.
PP didn’t really want any feta cheese right now, but felt it was impolite to refuse. So asked instead, “What’s in it?”
“Open it.” JBTLTW nodded, serious as she slipped on her thong panties that allow Jesus to peer over their tight elastic band.
Feeling a little scared, PP peeled away a side of the lid. Behold!
She grabbed a couple, popped them in her mouth. “Yum! Thanks!”
“Take some more,” JBT woman encouraged, serious.
“Nah,” PP handed back the container, feeling a little queasy, but also a little better. It was hard to tell. “I’m fine now. Thanks I just needed enough to get me home.”
JBT nodded, received the container, plopped it back on the floor. “I know what you mean. Sometimes I just need a little something, too, to get me home.”
Thursday, March 11, 2010
“I’ve just been so cold all day!” Sandy shivers, even though she’s in the hot heat of Utopia, naked, sanding the bottom of her feet.
PP, naturally, had just been complaining about the cold pool. Well, it wasn’t that cold, she’d been in colder, but it wasn’t what she’d call ideal.
“Me too!” Swimmer in the Dark Corner agreed. “It’s cold.”
“Yeah, we think it’s March and it’s gonna be spring, but in fact March is wrought with wretched wind and cold air.” PP sighs. She hates March.
“Getting in bed is the hard thing for me,” Sandy announces as she switches to sanding off her other foot. PP tries not to get too grossed out by this, but can’t get DL’s voice out of her head whenever she sees Sandy doing this, “She’s spreading little particles of dead SKIN all over Utopia!”
But, this is what Sandy does, and she’s very nice and entertaining otherwise, so PP tries not to hold it against her, but still….The things women do in the Sauna are often left best to the imagination and not the reality of Utopia!
“It’s so cold between the sheets,” Sandy continues. “I like to use a hair dryer to warm it up.”
PP nods. A hair dryer? What the hell was she talking about using a hair dryer to warm up the bed? Like she’s going to throw back the sheets, plug in the dryer, turn it up high and blast the bed with hot air? Or is she going to get in bed with the hair dryer nestled next to her and turn it on and…
Actually this sounds a little kinky.
PP is sure this isn’t what Sandy means, but then again, she doesn’t really know her very well except through stories at Utopia. Maybe she is into kinky hair dryer activities between the sheets.
This would keep one warm, wouldn’t it?
DL is lying quiet. Is she listening? Does she know what Sandy means by the hair dryer sheet method of warming? Or is she just in her own poet world, swirling around inside her brain, the hair dryer conversation not even registering?
It’s hard to tell. PP is gonna assume that she’s just taking it all in and will write a poem about it when she gets home.
She’ll ask her tomorrow.
"I'm hot," DL announces, sitting up. "I need to get out of here." She stands, makes her way out of Utopia and toward the showers.
PP wonders if all the Hair Dryer Talk had caused the Hotness?
Nah, it was probably just the sauna. It is hot. Unlike between Sandy's sheets. Before the hair dryer delight, that is.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
She was the Queen of Tortoiseshells. Macaroni was. Sassy, bossy, noisy, purry. She’d let everyone know what her needs were, and everyone knew that she would have them met! Or else!
She was DL’s constant companion. Through thick and thin to use a cliché. DL is lost without her. And PP knows this.
PP will never forget the time that for some stupid reason she thought she’d let Macaroni out! (Mac was an indoor only cat. The big city is a scary place. Full of dangers that no Queen Feline should face!) DL and PP searched all over. In the apartment. Down the driveway. Under cars. Where oh where could she be? DL was near tears. And then, voila. There she was. Somewhere obvious. In the closet, on her pillow system. In her quiet Queendom. Looking at the two women like they were crazy. DL breathing laughing a sigh of relief: “Thank God we found her. Otherwise, you and I would have to go through a lifetime of therapy to work through it.”
So, now, with great sadness, the Queen has passed to her special kingdom where there’s lots of whipped cream, fat mice and color TV.
DL will miss her oh so much (This is why there was no Utopia last week), but Queen Macaroni will always be with us, esp. when we're feeling sassy, bossy, or noisy (or not!). We'll hear her Tortoishell MRRROOOWWW and know that whatever we're doing, it's with the Queen of Tortoiseshell's approval.
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