Wednesday, May 15, 2013


“Are you Italian?”

Admiration Woman had gushed her opening greeting before blurting out this question. Her eyes shining. Excited.

Where the hell did she get this from, P wonders? Oh, yeah, that’s right. Sophia Loren is P’s long lost twin!

“Uh….no…why do you ask?” P says instead.
“These goggles you show me on last week? You said they were from Italy.”

“Oh, yeah, that’s right. They are. (P remembers now how she'd recommended the fabulous Aqua Sphere Mask, made in Italy, when AW was asking the lifeguard about goggles.)

"But unfortunately, I’m not Italian," P sighs longingly. "Though I wish I were! I am Italian in my heart,” she offers.

AW nods. “Yes. I do know your meaning.”

“Are you Italian?” P asks, knowing that AW is Something Sexy.
“Oh, no,” she giggles. “I am from Brazil.”

Of course, P thinks to herself. Sexy and crazy. Perfect.

“I mean that is where I live the first twelve year of my life. Then I come here and I marry and that it does not work out and I have my kid and now here I am. I have some little bit of Italian, maybe, way back in my ancestor, but no, I am from Brazil.”

“I’ve never been to Brazil. But I’d like to visit. Where are you from?”
AW rattles off an exotic locale in her native tongue. P tries to pretend that she knows where it is but then decides that since it’s not Rio maybe few Americans would know it anyway, so asks where it is.

“It is in the Midwest,” she nods, describing neighboring towns that are nowhere near Greenville, Indiana.

“My mother she come with me here to America. Oh, I am so lucky to have her here with me. I did not know her when I was growing up, but now I get to know her and I am so blessed.”
P doesn’t ask why she brought her mother into the dialogue, but just goes with AW’s crazy lack of Linearality Dialogue.

“Well, your mom was raising you and you were growing up and younger and so yeah, it makes sense that you didn’t really know her when you were growing up,” P offers.
“That is it exactly!” she exclaims. “But now, it is hard to find the word to talk to her, you know? I want to find the word but it is not there. I feel so sad about this but what can I do?”

P nods having no idea what she’s talking about. “Are you doing anything for Mother’s Day?”
“Oh, yes!” she brightens instantly. “We will go to Church. And then we will go to brunch me and my son and she will be so happy and I will feel so blessed.”

P nods again, wondering what to say next. But to be honest, she doesn’t have to say anything. She only has to sit in the Hilltopia Sauna and nod her head. AW will do all the rest.
“Have you read the book, Eat Pray Love,” she asks.
“Yes, that’s a fun one, esp. the first part about Italy.”
“I love that book!” AW gushes.
“Have you read her short stories?” P asks.
“No!” AW eyes shine, enthusiasm oozing.
“They’re very well done. I think the name of the collection I read was called, Pilgrims but you could just look up the author on the internet. Her name is Elizabeth Gilbert.”

“Elizabeth Gilbert,” AW repeats thoughtfully. “Wow! Thanks! You are always such an Inspiration.”
P laughs, wants to return the compliment by telling AW that no, in fact, she, AW, is such An Inspiration. If only she know how many great blogs she’s inspired.

Inspiration comes in all forms, though. As Sophia Loren once quipped, "Everything you see I owe to spaghetti."

And for P?
Everything you see, she owes to the Pool. But spaghetti's not far behind. Nor is gelato, cappuccino, Dante, Michelangelo, Leto and of course, Sophia....

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Flipper Woman Mows Down Red Baron Man

P had been blissfully swimming in the end lane of the Oakland Y for 30 minutes. Each minute that went by without intrusion, was a sublime revelation. Why couldn’t it always be like this? Dreamy Aqua Murkiness.

She’d been thinking about what DL had said earlier, “He must have some sort of Bacterial Infection,” in reference to the too smelly guy in the weight room. No that doesn’t even describe it. The Smell was so strong. Not really sweat smell. But a wrong smell. Something clinical that vapored up and into the gym, causing P and DL to clutch their bellies to stifle the nausea. So P had said,” It must be something clinical” and then DL had nodded and said, “Yes, it was something BACTERIAL.” Of course this had cracked them up, and P was still laughing underwater when she almost mowed down Red Baron Man.

She’d seem him earlier. Crossing under the lane lines, stopping everyone from their steady lap swimming. She’d ignored him though. He was on the other side of the pool and she was in the end lane. No one was gonna share this lane with her. No one liked to swim against the wall. This lane was hers!

So, when she did see him, out of the corner of her foggy mask, glance across her lane, she figured he was just using the ladder to get out.
Till she almost mowed him down.

How the hell had he gotten down to the other side of the pool without her seeing him?
She was going to blame her Bacterial Infection Reverie for not paying as close attention as she usually did.And also her false sense of security in having nabbed the end lane.
It was the Oakland Y. No lane was secure.

He was in the middle of the lane. Flopping slowly going nowhere. Simply doing the Blocking Float. P was swimming freely, mightily, kicking hard with her fins, thinking about bacteria when….


She almost mowed him down.

Stopping just in time, she stood in front of him, glaring through her foggy mask: “What the hell are you doing?! I almost hit you!”
“You saw me,” he claimed. Indignant? Entitled? Crazy?
Instead of moving to one side of the lane and continuing on or apologizing and getting out or offering some sort of explanation, he simply plopped back into the water and continued to float block the lane.

Definitely crazy. P knew this from past observances of Red Baron Man at the Oakland Y. She’d never actually seen him swimming ‘laps’ but instead he was always just doing the Floating Block or the Standing Crazy. She’d seen numerous swimmers stop to keep from hitting him over the years. He just didn’t seem to get the concept of lap swimming.
Why was this? It didn’t seem that complicated. But yet, P had to think that he wasn’t quite all there.

Later, when P had told DL about the incident in Utopia, DL had come up with the title for this blog and they’d both shared a good laugh. And when, as they were leaving the Y, P had seen Red Baron Man at the front desk, causing some sort of trouble, and pointed him out to DL, DL had said, “Oh, he’s in his 70’s” (Earlier DL had claimed how she was really good at telling ages. P is not. Esp. through her foggy mask. So, when P had told DL about the incident and DL had asked how old he was, P hadn’t a clue, “50s? 60s?”)

But now, 70s? Okay, well, this might be one explanation, But P knows plenty of people in their 70’s who are completely aware of their surroundings and would never do the Float Block.

So what was it that made Red Baron Man so clueless?
P has a theory. It’s the hat. It doesn’t belong in the pool. It belongs on Snoopy. Or it belongs in the Great Gatsby. But it is not a swim cap.

Without the proper headgear in the pool, well doesn’t it make sense that the brain wouldn’t be protected in the proper manner from all those chemicals at the Y and therefore, situations might be skewed?

P likes this theory. It’s better than simply saying he’s nuts. Which is probably the real explanation.

She’s going to get him a Lime Green Cap from Big 5. Suggest he give it a try. See if it helps to guide his brain to one side of the lane or the other.
P hears your skepticism. But it’s worth a try!

Who knows. The green cap may keep some future poor lap swimmer from Mowing him Down.

And isn't that what everyone wants? A Crash Free Pool?

At the Oakland Y?

Only in your dreams, P. Only in your dreams......

Mad as Hell!

“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...