3 stories in 1!


Claremont Days

“We may be able to swim in the eye of the storm.”

PP grins, delighted as always, by her best friend from Jr. High (Can you believe it? Jr. High?!). JB, or Banana,who has a knack for what? Trying to make the best out of a conceivably bad swimming situation?

It’s Claremont Days at her pool. This happens just one day a year here in San Diego and of course this is the day that PP and DHBF are visiting. PP doesn’t really believe that it will be the mayhem that Banana is foreseeing. Every time she’s gone to this ‘Claremont Pool’ in the past it’s been nothing but lovely, warm and EMPTY! (Every swimmer’s dream!)

Yet today, according to B, the festivities at Claremont Day may take over the pool. “Though maybe no one will be swimming laps,” B muses.

So they head up the hill in B’s racy little Audi and PP can’t believe what she sees in the field surrounding the pool. Actually she’s never even noticed a field before—but today, it’s packed with merry-go-round, spinning barfing ride, frog will toss you ride, cotton candy booth, and…

But the pool?

B was right. No one was swimming laps. So the eye of the storm was a calm and peaceful swim. The water warm. The sky blue. The fears unfounded.

And so they all swim. B and PP and DHBF, but finish at different times-- B swimming the longest –3000 yards! ‘She’s a real athlete” DHBF observes.
Uh, yeah, PP thinks to herself, wondering where her own athleticism has vanished to.

So when PP and B meet in the locker-room, happy with their eye of the storm swims, they dress and then head out to find DHBF.

He’s nowhere to be found. Not at the car. Not on the pool deck. Not in front of the building.

“I bet he’s at the fair,” PP smiles.
“Yeah, you’re probably right,” B agrees, leading the way to the scary circus like situation.

PP follows with considerable trepidation. She loathes crowds. Her crowdaphobia worsens with each passing year.

But at Claremont Days, there’s a Draw. And DHBF has already found it.

Dancing Girls!
They’re on the portable stage. First tap dancers in hot pink hot pants. Then Bollywood in silks and slippers. Then more tap dancers in turquoise bellbottoms.

It’s hilarious, charming and completely unexpected.

Relief spreading over her, PP’s so glad that they were able to swim in the eye of the storm and then brave the storm of the storm to watch the Dancing Girls.

Who knew that swimming at Claremont Days could be such an entertaining venture?

PP’s pretty sure that Banana knew this.

But just didn’t let on…..


Swimming in the Fast Lane

“You can swim in the Water Walking Lane till a Water Walker comes,” the New Blond Lifeguard at the Oakland Y tells PP when she arrives out on the deck, perplexed and spaced out for her Wed night swim.

WHAT!!!!???? she screams to herself. She can swim laps in the water walking lane? Since when? Has there been a change in policy?

PP can recall many a time when intense altercations occurred from some lap swimmer trespassing into the Water Walkers domain. Stringy Haired Splash Man yelling at two lifeguards, trying to convince them that “There is no Walker here! Why can I no swim here? It is ridiculous.”

But to no avail. He was booted out and banned from the pool and….

Okay, maybe not banned, but he wasn’t allowed to swim laps in the water walking lane.

So tonight, when PP is actually TOLD that she CAN swim in the forbidden lane, she shivers a little in bewildered anticipation. Should she really swim there? But yet....the lifeguard said she could and so…..

WHAT the hell ever. She does! And in she plunges, thrilled at her own lane (no one else can share; there’s a ladder for the walkers blocking the other half)

As she swims, PP revels in her good fortune. But also, isn't the forbidden always more exciting? PP feels all the other swimmers' eyes on her. What is she doing swimming in the water walkers lane? Doesn’t she know that it’s not allowed? She can hear the Group Think.

But yet, nothing happens to her. No admonishments from the lifeguards. No sudden dunking by Stringy Grey Hair Splasher when he sees her.

It’s a fantasy come true!

Plus no water walkers ever appear. PP swims and swims and swims without sharing a lane or circle swimming like everyone else.

She wants to avoid feeling smug, but yet…she does!

After, she wonders, Was it only a one time fluke? Will the same lifeguard be there next Wed and let her swim in the WWL?

Or was it all just a dream?


Stick Legs

DL and PP collapse in Utopia after their respective workouts. PP still on swimmer’s cloud 9 from her privileged water walker swim.

The Africa Women are in heavy gossip mode. Diabetes Woman and her brood. They’re jabbering away, but DW always friendly, wants to include DL and PP.

“You swim?” she asks PP.
“Oh, yes….” PP grins. “Did you?”
”Me?” DW shakes her head. “No. I do machines one hour five day a week. I lose lot of weight! See?”

She pulls at the rolling folds of lose skin round her mid- section. Where’s the weight loss, PP wonders.
“79 pounds!” she exclaims, then lifts a leg up to survey. “But see?” she points at her calf, lean and thin, “Stick Leg. Africa Women. We not like Stick Leg. We like big Butts and….”

Her cohorts burst into loud giggles, slapping their non stick legs and bending over their wide bellies in utter hilarity.

DL laughs too. She’s a good audience for all of the entertainment at Utopia. PP, on the other hand, always has to make some sort of banal comment to keep the conversation rolling.
“Your legs are like that cuz that’s your body shape,” she offers. “Do you know what I mean?”
DW eyes her for a moment, considering. Then nods. “Sure, sure. The Stick Legs, they are my Body. But my butt….”
And again more giggles till DW shrugs as the lights are turned out. “Time to go, I guess,” PP observes.
DW shakes her head, “No. Time to go in Steam Room.”

And PP and DL grin as they watch the stick legs walk out of Utopia and into Steamtopia.


Stick legs--are they the theme? Or is it just legs in general?

Dancers' legs.
Swimmers' legs.
Africa legs.

PP is stuck on the word 'legs'---it looks really funny written out so many times. Just four little letters, but why so funny?

PP thinks it's time to go to lunch. So much leg profundity is making her hungry!


Anonymous said…
legs, legs, legs, legs, --yeah--the word does seem a little odd. But if I think about any work for too long I get baffled and then start thinking about the abstractness of language and then pretty soon, I'm thinking about the immensity of the universe, and what comes after that,and all we all just someone's dream, or worse, their run on sentence ha ha! Love the blog,

CJ said…
hey laurie cat,

I'm thinking you meant 'word' instead of 'work' in line two, though frankly work is funnier!

You are the philosopher--about words or work or both!

Thanks for reading and loving the blog!

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