Thursday, January 23, 2014


PP glances disdainfully at the layout of drying clothes in a prime Utopia spot—an entire corner of the top bench. Then notices Green Faced Witchy Woman and knows they belong to her. Decides not to say anything, but climbs up behind GFWW to plop down next to Sandy.

GFWW gives her the Evil Eye. PP smiles sweetly at her as DL takes the lower bench.

“Hello, Ladies,” Sandy says.
“Hey, Sandy,” PP replies. “You back at your pool yet?” Sandy’s regular ‘club’ pool, and we can all imagine how divine that would be, has been closed for several weeks. She’s had to navigate the terrors of the Oakland Y’s pool in the meantime.
“Yes, thank goodness,” Sandy sighs. “I was about ready to kill someone the other day.”
“Really?” PP grins, eager to hear the story of course.
“Tell, me, P,” Sandy continues, “why is it that people can’t stay on their own side of the lane? I’m swimming with this guy, he’s doing the breaststroke and every time he passes me, he kicks me. Not hard, mind you, but what the f….!”
Sandy shakes her head as P nods in agreement. “Yeah, I know what you mean. The lanes are super narrow here. But that doesn’t have to matter. When I pass someone and I’m doing the breaststroke, I just glide till I’m past them.”

“Exactly!” Sandy exclaims. “So do I! But this guy…..I tell you, I was ready to have ‘words’ with him. He got out just in time….”
P nods.

"God saved his Sorry Ass!” Sandy harrumphs.
P and DL both crack up, DL’s eyes wide with delight behind her wire rimmed glasses. GFWW heaves her massive mean body up and lumbers out of the sauna. Leaving her drying clothes on the prime space still.
“Yeah, well, he was lucky,” P agrees. “I had the same thing happen to me at Hilltopia. This man kicked me so hard when he passed me doing the breaststroke that I had to get out of the pool. That was a Man Kick that felled me!”
DL laughs.

“I think you came up with that term, DL, ‘Man Kick’?”
“Yeah, I think I did.”
“Well, I’m sorry that happened to you,” Sandy shakes her head, “but I tell you, this guy was just out of line. I’m glad to be back at my pool.”
“I bet,” P nods as DL rises and stumbles out of the sauna.
“Oh, there goes the Canary!” Sandy exclaims.

“Yup,” P agrees, “must be almost time to go.”
“That it is, that it is.” Sandy sighs, taking a large slug of her water and then pouring the rest over the top of her head.
GFWW lumbers back in. Gives P another Evil Eye. What the hell is up with that? P wonders. What had she ever done to her? She was even being nice today by not commenting on her drying clothes that were breaking all the rules.

Later DL tells P how she gives GFWW the Evil Eye back. Sicilian Style. Once again, P wishes she were Italian. No words would be necessary. Just one look and wham! All would be well!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Soup, Sauna and Hair

“There’s this woman who brings her soup into the sauna, the part I don’t like is that she brings it in a glass jar, leaves it while she’s doing her workout, and then when she returns, it’s nice and hot and ready to eat.”

“Eeeewww, GROSS!!!!!” P exclaims, thinking how food should not be mixed with extreme heat and naked women.

They’d all just been in the sauna a few minutes earlier where Sandy had announced that it was 200 degrees. P had thought it seemed a bit on the hot side, but liked it. DL, upon hearing this extreme heat proclamation, had zoomed out, leaving PP to hear about Sandy’s foray into the Y’s pool since her club was closed.

“They close this pool to clean it, for how long? 10 days? And then what? I go for a swim and catch hair in my hands while I’m swimming.”
“Hair in your hands?” P asks, thinking about how disgusting this is. “Like big clumps of hair?”

“No, no, just a strand here or there,” Sandy chuckles. “But still. At my Club the signage is very clear: Showers Required. Caps Mandatory. I have no idea why they don’t enforce the wearing of caps here!”
P nods, “Yeah, that’s strange. They’re so strict about everything else.” P thinks about all the times she’s tried to swim in the walking lane and been immediately admonished in loud lifeguard public humiliation fashion to move over to lap lane. “NO SWIMMING IN THE WALKING LANE!” even if there were no walkers in sight.

They won’t let you swim in the walking lane, but you can lose your hair all over the pool?
Evidently pool hygiene is not nearly as important as lane enforcement.

“It’s not nearly as strange as it may seem,” Sandy continues the heat food commentary. “I had a mailman who’d put his lunch on the engine to warm it up.”
“You’re kidding!” P exclaims.
“No, I am not,” Sandy methodically pulls her stuff out of her locker and packs it into her gym bag.
“I’ve heard of that,” DL confirms.
“Seriously?” P can’t contain her incredulity. “But doesn’t the food fall off the engine while the mailman is driving around delivering mail?”
“He had a system for it, evidently,” Sandy continues. “I’ve known lots of people who do this.”
“What was he warming up?” P asks. “Eggs Benedict?”
They all laugh as the Y girl comes whizzing through collecting towels.

“Natalie,” Sandy commands, “go into the sauna and see what the temperature is.”
Natalie stops her towel retrieval and obeys without question. For if the Mayor of Oakland asks you to do something, you do it, right?
“I’ve been needling them for weeks about how it was too cool,” Sandy whispers conspiratorially to PP and DL. “And now, it’s too hot. I just want her to see it for herself.”
DL and PP both nod. The Mayor of Oakland has her methods. She knows what she wants and she knows how to get it.
If she wants the sauna hotter, she just has to ask (for a couple of weeks—actually faster results than Jean Quan). If she enjoys a woman’s soup warming, she just has to observe and let it happen.

And if she wants the hair strands cleaned out of the pool?

P is certain that it will only be a matter of time before this situation is eradicated by a strict cap wearing policy. She can just picture some innocent family, mom, dad, brother and sister, ready to hop into the pool without caps.

The family will have no choice but to retreat to either don their caps, or head back upstairs to play in the child watch area.

Oh the power that the Mayor of Oakland wields! It’s only a matter of time till that glass jar for the soup will be replaced with plastic.

If that’s what Sandy meant about not liking the glass that is.

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...