“One of these ladies will know the name of that plant!”
Regal in her rhinestone studded turban, she commands out into Utopia. DL and I settle on the bottom shelf, squeezing in below the two beauteous Asian Women swimmers. Are they a couple? Sisters? Friends? Hard to tell. But there’s a woman duo bond between them. They share a lane every Wednesday night. Both swim smooth and easy. Though one is phenomenal. Always ending with a flawless lap of butterfly.
But it had all worked out in the end. The flock of screaming kids got out of the family side of the pool. The lifeguards opened another lane for Butterfly woman and her friend. And now, here we all were in Utopia with Plant Questioning Woman taking up all the air.
I glance over at the piece of cactus lying on the towel next to a trying not to giggle round woman. “It’s Aloe, I think,” I offer.
“THAT’s it! Aloe! I used to have that plant in my garden. Mr. Lowes and Mrs. Lowes. Mr. Safeway and Mrs. Safeway. Poooo Mr. Safeway....I used him. I abused him. I ignored the shit outta him. Pardon my French....."
But…..what the hell is Safeway Woman talking about?
“I name all my plants after the stores wheres I got them. Lowes. Safeway, but oh, Mr. Safeway! He grow all crooked. I don’t offer him no stake in the ground. I just let him alone. And now….”
So, to me, it makes sense that if you name a plant after Safeway, well, hell, it’s not going to fare very well with such a moniker. It will wilt. And whither. And tilt. And tither.
“And I love me the Safeway down in Fremont. Ummmm. Ummm.. That Safeway, you know it? It’s off Fremont Blvd on the corner of (I space out, nodding, having no experience with the Fremont Safeway whatsoever). And then the one in Castro Valley. I tell you that one. It has a real good nursery. I think that’s where I got Mr. Safeway and Mrs. Safeway. She doin okay, but Mr. Safeway…..”
She heaves a giant sigh. The demise of Mr. Safeway weighing on her.
Then, slowly, the women rise and head out. The time now 9:43 PM and counting.
“Oh! It is Time to GO!” Safeway Woman announces. “I don’t think they like it if we get out of here late, now do they?”
“Nope,” I agree, moving aside so the Beauteous Asian Swimmers can sneak past me. Sigh. Why couldn’t I have shared a lane with those two tonight instead of mom and son?
But we did all share something in Utopia, right? The giggles were contagious. The energy in Utopia frothy and fun. This is why I continue to go through all the hassle to get here. The stupid lack of parking that brings me to tears. The mayhem in the pool that threatens my sanity. The ickee bathrooms with wet gunk on the floors.
Utopia and its women. This is why I come. And tonight, thanks to Safeway Woman, who seems to be a new addition to the scene, we all can share a giggle, a laugh, or a look of astonishment.
Not me, no siree. Mr. Safeway got what was coming to him! After all he's put me through!