Showing posts from April, 2014


“You know! I don’t live here!” Sandy harrumphs as she saunters, naked, back to her locker. The entire room erupts.

“I feel like I should get my money back if you’re not here,” L whines.
“You coulda fooled us!” P cries, giggling as she pulls her pink top over her damp self.
“I seen you the other day and I wanted to stop and talk with you, but then you disappeared!”

The Mayor of Oakland shakes her head, smiling to herself as she tosses Johnson’s Baby Powder under her arms, great billows of gauzy white cloud around her.
DL’s eyes widen in delight. The Oakland Y is a party tonight. Everyone is here. The Mayor of Oakland. The Writer of Oakland. The Utopians of Oakland.

Earlier, L, the Writer of Oakland, had mused about how she needs to let more of those ‘in jokes’ out. She needs to widen her circle. “People keep dying,” she murmurs, smiling mysteriously as she sinks into the jet of Aquatopia.
DL nods.

P swallows hard. Damn. How can L be so blasé about it? Or is she? It’s hard to tell.…

Public Life Thrives

On the other hand, public life is alive and too well in the city of Richmond. Compared to Santa Cruz, the pool here is spilling out onto the streets. Literally.
“Mommy! Mommy! They’re letting 4 more people in!”

“What’s going on?” I ask Ian, taking another bite out of my Cliff bar. “It’s utter mayhem here today.”
He shrugs. “They’ve got a waiting list going on.”

On the one hand, this is so great. The community uses the pool and thus, hopefully, it won’t be on the chopping blocks when the City Budget comes up again. Richmond is a city known for its high crime rate, high poverty rate, and poor school system. Yet when it comes to the pool, it seems that all this tragedy is left out on the street. The Plunge is brimming with exuberant energy---were these the same kids that sold drugs on street corners?

I had a feeling not, but then, who knew? The pool was a place, perhaps, where the tragedies of Richmond could be set aside for an afternoon.

Which is a good thing, right? Y…


“That sort of decision is way above my pay grade.”

Santa Cruz Park and Rec Man sits musing in his mini truck in front of the closed doors of Harvey West Pool. He’d been telling us about how the pool was only open now in the summer. How a private company had taken it over from Parks and Rec when 30 workers had been laid off in 2009. If it were up to him, he’d have the pool up and running all year around like it used to. But it wasn’t up to him. Hence the pay grade remark.
I nod. It’s all about the pay grade isn’t it? If you’ve the power, you’re paid the grade. And if you don’t? Well, you end up like Rec Man, musing in front of the closed pool doors, wistfully wishin' for days gone by when Harvey West Pool was a thriving year around pool.
I’d called first, of course, before Ian and I headed over to the park. The recording said the pool was open from 11-2:30, M-Thurs, but I was dubious. The recording was dated Summer 2013. I didn’t have a good feeling about it, but then I thought, …