Sunday, June 12, 2011
“I have a problem for you to ponder while you’re swimming.” Sandy opens her locker, pulling off her workout togs to prepare for Utopia.
“Well, swimming's good for problem solving,” PP laughs, tucking her hair into her cap.
“Exactly. It’s meditative.”
PP nods, waiting for the Problem Description. She’s getting a little anxious though. Last week she didn’t give herself enough time to swim and barely got a mile in. Tonight she was careful to give herself lots of time, but now Sandy has a Critical Thinking Exercise for her to do in the Pool. Not that she doesn’t believe in swimming's problem solving capabilities, but still....
She really wants to swim NOW!
“You see, I have this vacuum,” Sandy begins, tossing her shoes into the locker, “and it has this very long hose. Oh it must be 30 or 40 feet long. It’s a special kinda vacuum..... What’s it called?” She pauses, thinking.
PP waits. Shit. A Vacuum Question? Like she knows anything about vacuums. In fact, vacuums, over the years, have been her arch nemeses. They never work. And when they do, they always jam up. And when that happens, she has a fit and throws them away.
She remembers the last vacuum she had. A bright yellow sporty model from ACE. It had seemed like a good investment but then the usual vacuum issues arose and the last image she has of it is its bright yellow plastic self, sitting forlornly on the sidewalk of 63rd street, just waiting for some poor sucker to pick it up.
Of course, someone did.
Did PP feel responsible for booby-trapping this poor person into a Delusional Working Vacuum World?
No. She was glad to get rid of it.
And now here’s Sandy wanting Vacuum Advice?
“.....I forget what it’s called exactly. But you know what I mean, don’t you?”
PP shakes her head. She has never seen a vacuum with 30 to 40 feet of hose. The potential for Various Vacuum Issues must be horrendous.
“Anyway, there’s something stuck in the middle of the hose and I can’t get it out. I tried hanging the hose off the 3-story balcony to shake it out. But no go. So, I was wondering if you had any ideas?”
“To get the Blockage out of the hose?” PP confirms the problem before heading off to the pool.
”Exactly. I need to find some way to get whatever’s blocking it out. I think it’s probably a piece of my old linoleum floor stuck in there and I can’t dislodge it. I know I could go to the vacuum repair guy and he’d cut it in half and splice it back together. But that’d cost a couple hundred dollars and I’m cheap.”
PP nods, trying to wrap her mind around the idea of spending $200 to fix a vacuum hose. “That is a dilemma,” she laughs. “I’ll see what I come up with while I’m swimming.”
“Thank you. I’d appreciate it.” Sandy shuffles off, wearing only her flip-flops as she heads to the sauna.
It was a glorious swim. PP had her own lane! The water was 84 degrees! And her mask didn’t leak.
A perfect scenario for solving Sandy’s Vacuum Hose Issue.
Of course, an idea did occur to her after about 1200 meters. But it was just a joke idea. Sandy seemed to be expecting a Real Solution.
Well, maybe this idea would work, she thought as she finished her 2000 meters and heaved herself out of the pool right before the lifeguard gave her half-hearted whistle, hollering “POOL CLOSED!”
Following DL into the sauna, PP spies Sandy in her usual spot on the top tier.
“So I came up with a solution to your problem,” PP announces. “You wanna hear it?”
”Please,” Sandy’s not sitting up for the presentation, but that’s ok. PP doesn’t expect her to.
DL plops down on the bench below Sandy, sighing.
“How big around is the hose?” PP asks.
“About 2 inches I would guess.” Sandy makes a circle with her thumb and index finger to show the circumference to PP.
“Perfect,” she giggles. “All you need to do is get a piece of cheese,” PP begins, grinning.
“And drop it down one side of the hose till it hits the blockage. Then on the other side, you drop a wee little mousie and let her push and push and push the linoleum out of the other side in order to get the cheese. It has to be a smelly cheese so that she really wants to work for it and....”
“I’m afraid that won’t work. All of the mice in Piedmont are too well-fed. The mouse wouldn’t be interested in it.”
“Oh....” PP allows her tone to show her deflation. “Well, I was only kidding.....”
“Yes, I know. But I have to take every suggestion seriously.”
And she was. Serious. It was no laughing matter. In fact, no one was laughing. Not DL and not Sandy.
But PP does, shrugging. Someone has to laugh at her stupid ideas. Besides what do you expect at the end of a long hellish day even if the swim was perfect?
“DL did you hear what Sandy’s problem is?” PP asks.
Sandy explains it to DL, who suggests running a snake down the hose.
“I thought of that too,” Sandy nods. “That’s a good idea. I’m going to give that one a try.”
“A Snake instead of a Mouse!” PP exclaims.
No one laughs at this joke either.
Deciding that it was time to call it a night, PP rises and heads for the shower.
Thinking how it just goes to show that while a swim may be meditative and thus a ripe arena for ideas, sometimes it just doesn’t yield anything worth sharing.
Even if someone does command it.
“I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” Remember that line? Remember that movie? Network , right? What was everyone so ma...
Alas, PP has been without power for the last 3 days--hurricane Ike's tail end hit Indiana if you can believe it! So, this story is the c...
“Excuse me? Ma’am? Oh… Ma’am?” I’m putting on my shoes, tired after a difficult swim. (I’d had to swim in the walking lane and then share...
“Were you cold in the pool?” “Of course!” Beautiful Indian Woman, a fellow Oakland displaced swimmer, gives a subtle shrug, standing in th...