So…. (PP likes this beginning today. Jon Carroll wrote about the empathetic reader usage of the word ‘so’—PP is paraphrasing badly here—and how the word ‘so’ implies a continuing ‘invitation’ to the reader. We were having this conversation before, we were interrupted because the column, blog, book ended, but hey, we’re back again, ready to story away. Or in this case, to blog away…)

So….PP was doing just fine until she tried to go to the Oakland YMCA. No one had broken down in tears over her paper; no one had flaked on sending in her paper over the email; no one had had anything but smiles and appreciation all day for PP.

So….she was in a good mood. Off to Utopia to meet DL. It was always an event to look forward to, right?

So, when PP landed at Broadway and 22nd street where the Y was situated, and there were no parking places, she thought, well, this was to be expected. She did expect it. She liked it when her expectations were not realized around this situation, but she never expected to just drive up Broadway and park right in front of the Y. This is a rare and wonderful occurrence.

So, as you may have inferred, this most assuredly did NOT happen this evening. PP went around and around and around the YMCA block. Car after car scooped her on parking places. Yes! There’s one on Grey Plush Cat Street. Sweet! Nope, that stupid bitch in her Cadillac Escalade does a U turn and swerves right into it ahead of her. Damn. Okay, this happens.

So, she circles again. Another spot opens up. This time right in front of the Y. YES! But no, there’s a zippy black Lexus backing into it at 79 miles an hour.

And so on…..

Finally, finally finally after 15 minutes, PP is very near tears. Muttering to herself, “What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do? Damn damn damn if DL wasn’t going to be meeting me I’d just to home...."

And there it is. A silver Chevy pulls out. She screeches to a halt. Puts the emergency blinkers on. Cars swerve around her. She doesn’t care. She’s staying put till the silver Chevy exits. He does. The space is super small. Between two huge SUV’s. Her first attempt at parallel parking is a bust. She tries not to cry. Pulls out again, tries one more time. And finally.

She’s parked.

For a moment she just sits in the car. Breathing. Okay, she did it. Everything is going to be okay. All she needs is a swim to put everything right.

And, the pool.

Up the stairs, lugging all of her junk, PP tries to smile at the chattering clerks. Till she sees the sign.

Pool closed
till further notice
due to Pump Failure.


How oh how could this be?

So…what do you think PP does?

Collapse in a crying heap on the lobby floor, sobbing piteously, wailing, “I can NOT believe the pool is closed. I can’t believe it!” at the top of her lungs, creating a scene worthy of a mad heroine in a Wilkie Collins novel?

Or….does she sigh, turn around and just leave?

Or….does she stand there for a moment, glaring at the clerks, who finally notice her, fins in hand, moroseness on face, “Oh, the pool is closed!” one of them exclaims, sympathy oozing.

PP doesn’t want any sympathy. She wants, no she needs to swim!

“Why?” PP asks, knowing the answer since it’s right there on the sign: Pump Failure. Whatever the hell that means. Why does a pool need a pump?

She was going to find out.

“The water level kept getting lower and lower,” one of the clerks offers, “and no one knew what was going on till we called in someone who told us that the pump was broken and so all the water was leaking out and so (so!) the pump has been replaced and the pool is filled with water again, but it’s too cold for swimming.”

”How cold?” PP asks.
“Like 60 degrees,” the other one shakes her head. “Too cold.”
PP doesn’t answer. As you all know anything under 80 degrees is too cold for her.
60 degrees?
The pool may as well have still been waterless. Cold water. No water. Same thing.

“I really needed a swim,” PP mutters, not looking at either of the clerks.
“You want go to Berkeley?” Cold Reporter One offers.
“NO, I can’t drive anymore!” PP sighs, grimacing. “I guess since I’m meeting my friend, I’ll just do the machines. But it’s not the same as swimming.”
CRO nods sympathetically.
“So, great!” The Other One exclaims. “Go ahead. Come on in. Take a hot tub. Relax!”


PP almost slapped her.

But she didn’t.

So, what to do but do the workout with DL. And it’s fun. So (Isn’t this word everywhere?) You Think You Can Dance was on the TV’s over the treadmills. PP doesn’t have earphones, but this okay. She can watch. And remember.

All was well before she came to the Y.

And now all is well because of DL and SO YTYCD!

So, next time you’ve had a really fine day and then something really bad happens like you can’t find a parking place and the pool is closed, remember: Swimming isn’t everything. There is fine Y time without the pool.

So….do you believe her when she says this?

Nah, you’re way too smart and have been in ‘this conversation’ way too long to believe even one word that PP writes!


Anonymous said…
Great parking suspence. So I fully expected the Wilkie Collins heroine option... So You Think You Can Wail. So glad that didn't happen. PP might win if it came to competitive meltdowns, so, might be too scary for entertainment. So, better not to win? So...

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