Showing posts from April, 2012


“Hi, can we circle swim please?”

He sighs audibly. They can hear it at the pools in China.

He rolls his eyes heavenwards. His eyeballs float to the ceiling, hang out for a moment, before drifting back down into their sockets.

Then he speaks, his beady beard moist and serious. “Really?” he asks.

“Really.” PP answers. “It’s not like I want to circle swim either,” she continues because, hell, no one does. Does he think she’d ask him to if it weren’t absolutely necessary? She waves at the crowded pool that is the Mayhem of the downtown Oakland Y. What the hell is going on? A Wednesday evening at 8:45. Usually she has to split a lane, but circle swim?


And tonight all the lanes but Really Man’s have 3 or 4 swimmers in them already.
“I can’t circle swim with him,” Really Man gestures toward Tortoise Orange Trunk Man. And yes, PP sees his point; if he’s swimming his ‘intervals’ super speedy, then TOR would be a hindrance. But that’s not her problem. Or is it?

“You need to get the lifeguar…

Only in Berkeley

“How ya gonna keep your book dry?” She chuckles good-naturedly, almost winks at PP.

They’d shared a lane together. Have already exchanged pleasantries about how pleasant the other one is in the water: “I like swimming with you,” Good Natured had said when she’d climbed into the tub, PP already basking in the heat needed waters.

“You don’t splash.” PP had made the same reciprocal compliment, with GN saying how she’d been in the pool the other day and this man was splashing so much that another woman had actually gotten out of the pool. “I try to be considerate. Not splash,” she laughs. “But like my mom used to say, if you don’t want to get splashed, stay away from the pool.”

So true, yet PP always selects the least splash-likely candidate to share a lane with. And today’s GN had been a winner.

So, now, in the tub, Book Boy barely deigns to answer the book stay dry query. He’s reading Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath after all (only in Berkeley), an endeavor that is way above chitchat in the …

The A-Word

“I hafta admit that I played the Lotto yesterday.” Friendly Asian Water Walker leans over the lane line, confidential. PP grins, considers taking out her earplugs, but still had 200 yards of warm down to complete. If she takes them out now, and tries to reinsert them later, they’ll leak. So she opts for fuzzy hearing instead.

“My mother wasn’t very happy about it.” FAWW rolls her eyes. “I’m like, MOM! It was only a dollar! But my brother…..” She leans in closer to whisper to PP, “He well…. He has a gambling problem. It’s an issue. In Taiwan.”

She pauses, thinking.

PP wonders if she’s thinking whether she should be telling family secrets in the pool. Or maybe she’s just trying to figure out how to explain her brother’s issue with gambling?
So PP nods, “It’s part of the culture, isn’t it?” she offers.
FAWW nods slowly, considering. “Yeah, you know, you’re right. It is part of the culture. But my brother. Well, it’s just that he had money and friends they take advantage, you know?”