Friday, January 29, 2010

That Sucks!




“That sucks!”

PP grinned to herself under water as That Sucks Swimmer shook his stringy mass of graying locks in disgust.

“Now there’s two lanes,” he moaned, shaking his head as the lifeguard struggled to attach the heavy lane line to the underwater hook.

PP’s relieved though. She’d been swimming in the ‘family section’ of the pool since there were no screaming children and smiling parents at 9 pm on a Thursday evening. She swam by the wall. Far away from the rest of the in-the-lane swimmers. Plus it was warmer. There were little wall heaters lining it. Gushing out warming streams each time she passed.

Then another swimmer got in the Family Section. She caught PP’s attention cuz she was completely clothed. Long black pants. Long sleeved shirt. Black shoes! Shoes for chrissakes! What’s that about? Was she practicing her stroke in case she fell off the cruise ship?



It was weird.

So, when That Sucks Swimmer approached, crazed and cranky, scanning the middle of the ‘family section’ thinking that he could swim between PP and Clothed Woman, PP made a conscious effort to swim more in the center to discourage him.

He glared at her as she swam down the almost middle of the lane. His stringy long black-gray locks hanging round his swarthy angry mug.

PP had seen him swim before. He was a Major Splasher and she did NOT want him swimming next to her, esp. if there were no lane lines.

So, when the lifeguard spied That Sucks Swimmer fuming on deck, he actually got off his ass and put in another lane line. Which PP thought was astounding, given that it was 9 pm and the lifeguards so rarely do anything to make the swimming experience more efficient and enjoyable.

But That Sucks Swimmer?

He was pissed off over the lane line addition?

Why the hell was that?

PP thought she heard him mutter how ‘Now there’s only 2 lanes.” Like there’d been more before? Technically there’d been NO lanes, or at best 2 lanes with a choppy ocean in the middle.

TSS got in with Clothed Woman. Began his frantic freestyle. Head lifted out of the water with each breath, vast veils of stringy grey hair covering his face every time he tried to take a breath. How did he breathe, she wondered.

Maybe he’d drown in all that hair!

Or all that That Sucks Frustration.

Either way, PP didn’t care, cuz she got her OWN lane at the wall, with the little heaters, and NO one else dared enter into her lane domain.

Still, she did wonder why TSS man had thought putting in lane lines so he could swim was something That Sucks.

Maybe he just needed to take a Cruise with Clothed Woman. Get away from it all. Jump into the sea. Swim with the turtles. Get attacked by a shark.....





Now that would really Suck, wouldn't it?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dice Man—Take 2



“You ‘bout finished with your 400 laps?”, Dice Man chuckles.
PP giggles. She’s a sucker for gross exaggeration.

“This one here,” DM nods toward PP as he chats up Beefy Swimmer Guy whom he’s sharing a lane with, “she’s something else. I try to keep up with her, but no way. She just zooms ahead. I think I can catch her, but her arms just pull her ahead of me no matter how hard I try.”

BSG grunts, unimpressed, takes off down the middle of the lane in a show-offy butterfly.

“You remind me of Esther Williams,” DM continues.
“Really?” PP grins. “That’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to me in years.”
He laughs. “Yeah, my mother, she was a sucker for Esther Williams. Those were quite a production, those movies….”

“…and she smiled the whole time!” PP interrupts, thinking how this is where his comparison with Esther would stop.

DM nods, serious. “Why I remember when we were kids, I had a twin brother, (PP wonders what the story is here with the “had”—Did the twin brother die? Run away? Become estranged?)”we’d go to the picture show. 'Show' that’s what we called 'em back then. And for twenty-five cents, oh now I’m dating myself,” DM laughs, shaking his head, “we'd go and spend all afternoon at the theater watching The Lone Ranger, or Roy Rogers or the likes of them…”





His voice trails off. Wistful. PP thinks that the brother did die. Some tragedy when they were young. Maybe a car accident. Or a lethal lingering terminal illness where all the family and friends shook their heads in disbelief. “He’s so young. Too young to die… if only the bone marrow had been a match.....”

Do you think PP watches too many Soap Operas?





“You really are a nice person to share the lane with,” he says suddenly, interrupting PP’s Tragic Twin Brother Soap. She nods, remembering how he’d said the same thing last week after the Dice Counting Laps Discussion. So she says the same thing back that she’d said last week. Likes the parallel universe of it: “You’re a nice person to share the lane with also.”

He nods, leans over, stares down at the dice, gives it a turn, then takes off down the lane, his left side flailing a bit more than his right as he breathes.

Sighing, PP climbs out of the pool, chilled a bit from standing around bullshitting. She glances down at the dice, notes that it’s on number 6.

Bending down, she turns it.... back to 1.

Hah! Not really! But she wonders if he woulda remembered that it’d been on 6?

She’ll never know. About the dice and the laps.

The Twin Brother?

She’s gonna hafta work on getting more about That Story!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dice Man





"What’s up with the dice?” PP stops at the wall, grinning at the swimmer sharing her lane.

He's stopped at the end of the lane, contemplating one green dice (is di the singular?). The dice sits on the edge of the pool, surrounded by kickboards, pull buoys, flip-flops, puddles of water.

“I use it to count my laps,” Dice Man looks at her like she’s crazy. Doesn’t everyone use dice to count their laps?





PP, on the other hand, is mystified never having been much of one for games. Wasn’t Yahtzee the one with the dice? But she can’t remember other than the game was around at her Grandma Birdie and Aunt Tea’s place. The Dodger game blaring on the TV always taking precedence though. She can still hear those two old ladies, "Those goddamn Dodgers! What the hell was that?"




“How does that work?” she asks Dice Man.
He slowly turns toward her, serious. “Each side has numbers on it right?”
“Uh, right….”
“First there's the number 1 then turn it over, for the number 2, then turn it over again for 3, etc.”
“Yeah, so how does that work with counting laps?”

He shakes his head. She’s so slow! “I roll the twice and then half it again for 15 laps.”

PP nods slowly, trying to do the math, never her strong suit. How does 1+2+3+4+5+6 times 2 and then half again equal 15? Doesn’t it add up to a lot more than 15?





“The problem is,” he continues as she gives up trying to understand, “that I start bullshitting with people and then lose track.”

Aha! PP thinks. He’s just bullshitting her. The dice isn’t for counting laps at all. It’s for starting conversations with unknowing swimmers who should be doing laps instead of talking about them.

“The other problem is that the kids will find it and swipe it and then I’m lost.”

“Stupid kids,” she mutters.




“You’re a very nice person to share a lane with, you know?” Dice Man beams over at her as he leans on the pool’s edge and turns the dice over.

“You’re nice to share a lane with too,” she answers, not knowing how else to respond.

Yet he was she thinks, as she gets out of the pool and heads for the showers. After all, what better lane sharer could she have than one who provides such a thought provoking story for the blog?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Saffola Girl




“Is that baby oil you’re using?” CC asks; PP can hear her pert nose wrinkling in disgust.

“No,” Non Baby Oil Rubber answers. “I can not use Baby Oil. My skin. It is allergic. It’s Saffola.”
“Really?” CC asks, not keeping the shock out of her tone.

Saffola? PP thought to herself. Isn’t that what you use to deep fry chicken? Was this woman preparing to deep-fry herself after the sauna?

“Yes,” Saffola Woman continues, “I was using Olive Oil, but then I saw on Dr. Oz how it can enter your skin and you can smell like it,” she giggles.





PP thinks, Is it better to smell like fried chicken rather than a Greek salad? Personally, the salad seems better, but then there's no accounting for taste as the cliche goes.

“Have you tried Tetri Oil?” CC suggests, “It’s kinda got that mentholy thing going, so it might not be too good for your skin either."

“What’s Tetri Oil?” PP asks, trying to keep the Oil Conversation alive.

“It’s this kinda oil that’s actually really nice for dry skin. But like I said, it’s got that mentholy scent, so it’s kinda strong.”
“I could try it....” Saffola Woman offers, reaching for her Saffola and smearing some more on top of her thighs. “But the Saffola, it work pretty good!” she declares, slapping her thighs with a resounding smack.

PP can’t get the image of deep fried chicken out of her brain. The way you boil a big pot of oil and then drop the floured pieces of chicken into it: the thighs, breasts, wings. Then watch them all sizzle and splatter, floating about in the hot oil.





How disgusting was it to slather Saffola all over your naked body in sauna?

But wait, maybe it’s a cultural thing? Like maybe some cultures might believe that preparing your skin for deep-frying is a good thing?

Saffola Woman lies back, sighing contentedly.

CC gives PP that look. Like she knows exactly what PP is thinking. Cause she’s thinking the same thing.




They leave Saffola Woman alone. Discuss the hilariously unintentionally funny movie 9—how Penelope Cruz was the only thing worth watching, except for Kate Hudson in her sparkle mini dress. “I thought of you when I saw her dancing that go go,” CC laughs at PP, “you’d look dynoomite in that dress!”







Saffola Woman rises, collects her stuff, and exits. No scent left in her wake. Saffola must be oderless until you throw the chicken in it. But now, PP can’t contain herself any longer. “Saffola Oil!!!!????" she shrieks. "Isn’t that what you use to cook with? Like Crisco?”

“Yeah,” CC nods, wiping a bead of perspiration off her delicate red headed forehead, “you deep fry chicken in it and....”
“That’s what I thought!” PP exclaims. “Disgusting!”

CC laughs, then rises, “I’m about fried in here myself,” she jokes. “You ‘bout ready?”
“Yeah,” PP sits up, following her out into the locker room.

Later, driving to Fat Apples to pick up ollaliberry pies for her friend’s birthday party, CC comments, “I hope Saffola Girl didn’t hear you.”
“I don’t care!” PP laughs. “What the hell does she expect using Saffola in the sauna?”
”I know, but later, after my shower, I think it was her, this woman was giving me the Extended Eye Contact, and I thought, what’s up with you, Bitch. And then I thought, oh shit, I wonder if she was Saffola Girl giving me the Evil Eye.”






PP laughs, “Probably. I’d watch out if I were you. Saffola might start oozing out of your pores.”
“Gross!” CC shakes her head. “What I don’t get is how people can think it’s okay to use the stuff they do in the sauna. Don’t they get it that the oil sinks into the wood and then it’s there? It never leaves?” She shakes her head. “People do the weirdest shit in the sauna.”
“Tell me about it,” PP nods. “I’ve written a book about it.”

“I don’t know where I learned the etiquette, but it just wouldn’t occur to me to use oils in the sauna and let them seep into the wood where other women would be sitting later. Different cultures have different ideas of hygiene though. I have this friend, who said he was visiting some third world country, I forget where, and it’s not about relaxing in the sauna, but it’s about getting clean.”
”I don’t think Saffola is a cleansing agent!” PP jokes. “At least she’d given up
Olive oil thanks to Dr. Oz.”

“Yeah, and it took someone on TV to get her to stop.” CC shakes her head as she makes the left turn onto Hwy 80.

“Thank goodness for Dr. Oz!” PP proclaims. “Otherwise, we’d all smell like Italy!”
“That wouldn’t be so bad though,” CC jokes as she floors the Acura, zooming past about 6 cars lined up in the slow lane.
“Be Italian!” PP starts to sing, ala 9.
“I didn’t really like that song in the movie,” CC frowns.
“Really?” PP grins. “I thought it was great! All the sand flying out of the tambourines and Fergie’s cleavage.”





Laughing, CC takes the Carlson Exit, as PP smiles to herself.

Wonder what Fellini would think of Saffola Girl?

She'd be worth at least one fantasy, right?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Zen of Heat



“Ahhhh….it feels so good!” she sighs, letting her towel fall softly down in response.
PP nods, agrees, “Yeah. I’m so needing this. My neck has been killing me all week and I think it’s cause the sauna’s been closed.”
“That’s right!” Relaxed Towel Woman says, “We don’t need pills. We don’t need doctors. All we need is this sauna……it feels so good….” she sighs again.

And so does PP. Her neck, back, and shoulders all begin to melt. The constant nagging pain begins to evaporate.

Was all she needed this entire week was an afternoon in the sauna?

But what about the Zen Springs? Why didn't its magic last longer?

DHBF was so sweet. On New Year’s Day, PP was in Neck Agony. Whining and whining. DHBF comes up with the idea to go to some hot tubs, but of course all are closed, except the skanky ones on University and the Zen Springs in Downtown Oakland.

Zen Springs?

PP was dubious, but what the hell, it couldn’t hurt any more right?

“You have sit,” the soft-spoken young Asian man motions to a wooden bench when they walk into the quiet Zen of the Springs. “I make room ready.”

“Okay,” DHBF says, but doesn’t take a seat. Neither does PP. She has to go to the bathroom of course.

When SSYAM returns, she asks where the bathroom is. He looks at her, embarrassed. “It is occupied,” and nods toward a closed door in the little hall.

This distresses PP just a little. Only one bathroom? And how many ‘spa rooms’ were here at Zen Springs?

Well, it couldn’t stay occupied forever, right?

Right.






So in the meantime, SSYAM shows them their readied room. It’s super cute with soft lighting, a brand new spa type of hot tub, and a little sauna room.

“You push on Red Button for the jets,” he instructs. He’s already started the water running into tub, then asks, “You want Sauna too?”
”Yes, please,” PP’s eyes light up. She can’t wait to get some HEAT!
He turns on the sauna. It’s stone cold now but hopefully will heat up between the time PP uses the bathroom and when she takes the first plunge into the hot tub.

She takes another peak out into the hall. Whew! The bathroom opens up.

Relieved, (almost) PP hurries in. It’s all oriental. (Yes, she knows this is politically incorrect, but it is.) With a greeny bowl for a sink, bamboo in a tasteful planter, a welcome cat on a shelf underneath a tasteful print of pink and blue kimonoed ladies playing lutes in a gazebo.




Now relieved, (really) she heads back to the room, and fiddles with the new agey sound system. She chooses the most flutey recorder-like sound track and turns the volume just right. Greensleaves. Of course. Then messes with the lights. A dimmer switch up and down. Soft and loud. She chooses soft.

DHBF is already undressed and in the small tub. He’s very tall so he takes up most of it. This is okay, though, since PP is small. It’s a cozy tub. And it’s hot. As she sinks into the tub, soaking her poor aching neck, the hot water begins to work its magic. She thinks back on the day: the chocolate cream pie for breakfast; (Nations was the only place open on New Year's Day); the little nap after the pie (pie will do that to you); and now this: Zen Utopia.

"Ahhhh…....." she sighs, grinning over at DHBF as she slides her legs under his.