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 her swim bag, wondering (for only a moment) if she’d lost her earplugs.

No one else was in the locker room. The frantic mom and kid had evacuated minutes before. While PP was impressed with her own 3 minute quick change, it was nothing compared to the panicked mom rescuing her child.

And so, out PP goes, up the stairs, into the night where a little crowd of YMCA’ers are hanging around, chatting, bouncing basket balls, shuffling aimlessly.
A couple of the clerks come out with piles of towels, “Does anyone need a towel?” PP stood for a moment, surveying the scene. The crowd was decidedly unpanicked.

It certainly didn’t appear that the facility was burning down. On the other hand, even if it weren’t, how long would it take for them to figure it out? By the time they did, it’d be 9:30 and she’d have no time to swim cause the pool would be closed.

Or even if they did figure it out in time enough for her to swim, she’d still have to wait out here in the freezing cold with wet hair and damp clothes on for who knows how long.

Two fire engines come roaring into the parking lot, lights flashing, sirens screaming, firemen jumping out.


PP wasn’t gonna wait. Sure she was curious if the place was really on fire, but…..

She would surely get a shooting pain earache if she stood out in the cold wind with her wet head much longer.

And so, she stalked off to the Geo, followed by a few other workout quitters.

Maybe some might think a fire was the perfect excuse to get out of working out?

Perhaps. For PP, as any of you can guess, the entire episode was beyond crankiness.

She almost hoped the place did burn down.

Except then she’d never see David Cassidy’s smiling face anymore.
Or Autistic Dad’s friendly wave.
Or Swedish Accent Woman’s spastic backstroke.

Okay, she could live without the last one, but you get the drift.

Pulling out of the parking lot, she heads out Lakeside Dr, and then turns up the hill, just as another fire engine comes roaring down toward the Y.

Maybe it really was on fire?

Nah, she couldn’t believe this. But yet…. The evidence was compelling. The alarm. The smoke. (Well, maybe) The evacuation. The fire engines.

Honestly, she’d never been part of such a real fire alarm production.

It woulda been kinda thrilling if she hadn’t missed her swim.

Maybe it was thrilling anyway?

No. Definitely not, as she got on the wretched dark frwy and headed back home, fighting back the teary disorientation that was starting to take over from an interrupted swim.


“Hilltop YMCA. This is Marina speaking. How can I help you?”
“I’m just calling to make sure the place didn’t burn down last night. Obviously, since you answered, it’s still standing.”
Mariana laughs nervously. “Oh, yeah, I heard about that. No, the place didn’t burn down. We’re still here.”
“So what happened? Why did the alarm go off?”
“Some kid pulled it.”

PP shook her head into the phone. Duh. She knew this, but how could she have argued this last night amid all the pandemonium? “That’s what I figured,” she says now.

“Yes, well, we’re gonna send out a survey to see if we can find out who did it.”
PP laughs. Yeah, right, like some kid is gonna confess to his/her parents? Or even if the kid did confess, the parents would report their kid?

What would be the consequences? Would the kid be banned from the YMCA for life? Would the parents have to foot the bill for the Richmond Fire Department’s two responding engines? Would PP get the privilege of drowning the little monster?

It was a stupid idea.
But somehow so YMCA.

“Okay, well, thanks,” PP says now, “I can swim today.”
“Yes, the pool is open. Thanks for calling the Hilltop YMCA."


Anonymous said…
I bet that the Beaureguard could have told anyone in an instant that there was no fire...such a simple way to find out, but then there would have to be a Beaureguard minder...?
San Pablo Cat

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