Thursday, April 30, 2015

Big Trouble Now!


The pool toys were flying! Little pink pigs. Little green frogs. Little blue sharks.

I can’t help but grin, even though the pandemonium that greets me is absurd. Why the hell aren’t all these kids home in their jammies? Why are they here, at the Downtown Oakland Y, hurling plastic toys at each other, creating mayhem in an entire third of the pool?

At least not too many lap swimmers, so I choose a lane with a large round floating creampuff woman. She’s one of a club. Those women who float blissfully backwards, barely moving their hands, a sweet smile perpetually on their round moon faces. I wonder how they move at all, backwards like that? But then, maybe their creampuff mass helps? They just float and float and float; there’s no need to stick their heads underwater or activate a formal swim stroke.
And so. I join Floating Creampuff Woman’s lane. Zip down the other side of her, in a rush since I got in the pool so late. What happened to the time? One minute I’m chatting with DL up at the treadmills about dreams at 8:25, but by the time I make it down to the pool deck, it’s 8:45. Time is wrong. That is all I can say.

But back to the pool toys and the family pandemonium. The toys sink. That’s right. You’d think they’d float about on the waves of family joy, but no, they sink to the bottom of the lanes. And in my lane, I spy two little toys: a pudding pink pig and a black and white panda head.

As I swim for the next 45 minutes, I consider stopping and picking them up off the bottom of the pool. Setting them up on the deck so the lifeguards can gather them when the pool closes. But I’m in such a rush to get my laps in that I don’t. I just let them hang out on the bottom of the lane. Monitoring my progress. There’s something comforting about having a little pink pig wink at you each time you turn at the wall.

Eventually, the families get out. The mothers wrapping shivering whiny kids in bright striped towels. The fathers hollering, “That’s enough, Said!!! It’s time to go!!! No, you can NOT swim one more minute. OUT! NOW!!!!”
Floating Creampuff Woman floats out and into the locker room.

I have the lane to myself. Well….it’s just me and my two little friends.

At 9:30, the whistle blows, obnoxiously unnecessary as always. I coast to the wall and then glance down at my friends. Maybe now I’ll try to retrieve them? But it’s hard. I try to scoop up Panda Head with my flipper but he keeps sliding off. Stubborn in his insistence to stay floating at the bottom of the lane.

The nice lifeguard motions for my equipment. He always takes them to the equipment storage situation for me. I ask him,“Do you want me to try to get the toys offa the bottom of the pool?”
Shy, he grins, “Nah, you can just leave ‘em.”
“Okay,” I smile. “Guess they’ll just hang out at the bottom of the pool all night!”
“They’re in Big Trouble now!” He chuckles, pleased at himself.

It takes me a moment to get the joke. Oh, yeah, everyone gets kicked out of the pool at 9:30. And if you don't get out, well…..you’d be in Big Trouble.

Yet, somehow, I think Little Panda Head and Little Pink Pig will escape Big Trouble. After all, what kind of trouble can a little pool toy get into during the long closed hours of a YMCA night?

“Hey, Panda! Wanna dump all of the kickboards into the pool?”
“Sure, Piggy, let’s toss the fins, paddles and pull buoys in too while we’re at it!”
“And, then we can……”

Okay, maybe I was wrong. Maybe little pool toys can get into trouble. Big Trouble.
But oh what fun they’ll have along the way! The kind of fun that only Big Trouble can bring that is....