Monday, June 27, 2016
“If you just had yourself a big stick, you could reach it.”
I am lying on my belly in the sauna at Hilltopia trying to retrieve my little plastic earplug case that’s fallen through the cracks from the top shelf. Of course, it landed in the very farthest corner of the sauna, underneath the shelf I'm sitting on and the one below me. It is completely out of my reach even with my belly stretch. Which by the way is hard. I’m wiped out after my swim and this exertion around plastic case retrieval is taxing!
“Yes, I love the pool,” I’d gushed in my usual enthusiastic way. “I never want to get out. And then when I do get out and come in here to the sauna, I never want to get out of here!”
“They might kick you out at 10 o’clock,” she’d noted, chuckling softly.
“Yes, but for now I just want to stay. It’s so nice and warm.”
I didn’t quite know what she meant by this. Like squatters’ rights with vacant houses? But I liked it and just repeated the term back to her.
So, now here she was trying to help me retrieve the earplug case, which frankly, I could live without, but hell, I’ve got a story here, so I’m gonna continue with the action.
“Ummm….I don’t have a big stick, but….” I eye my swim fins. “I do have a fin.” I grab it and sure enough, I can reach the case with the tip of the fin. Excited, I flick it hard and then sit up, a little winded.
“Where’d it go?” I look around the sauna, the floor covered in wooden boards.
“It went under that board there, I think,” she points.
Crestfallen, I plop down. “Now what?”
Undaunted, she rises and waddles over to where I am, “Here, let me help you. We can pick this slat up and I’ll hold it while you get it. Okay?”
She is surprisingly strong, lifting the large wooden panel up and holding it off the cement floor for me. There it is! I swoop down and retrieve it. Victory!
She starts to let the panel back down. “Watch your toes!” she commands.
I do. And we manage to drop the panel back into place.
“Wow! That was an adventure!” I exclaim.
“That it was. That it was,” she agrees.
“I never would’ve thought of using my fin if you hadn’t mentioned the stick.”
“Two heads are better than one,” she quips, settling back into her spot, sighing loudly as she tries to hook her bra.
“What’s your name, Dearie?” she asks me.
I tell her and then ask hers. “Vita.”
“Vita? Like in life?”
She stares at me blankly. “How do you spell it?” I ask.
“Oh, Veda. That’s pretty. Is it a family name?” I ask.
Shaking her head, she chuckles softly. “Nope. My mother had a hairdresser whose name was Veda and she liked the name so I got it.”
I would. If I had children that is.
But today, it’s Veda and her two heads homesteading wisdom that inspires me. It's a good thing that I always carry my swim fins with me wherever I go. You never know when you’ll need a big stick, right?
Sunday, June 05, 2016
“Yup, today, is good. And look,” I wave at the near empty pool except for the two of us. “It’s our pool today!”
“Yes, it is calm. By 2 p.m.,, it’ll be mayhem.”
“Really?” he says like he has no clue of the schedule. Could this be? I suppose there are swimmers who just come to the pool when it fits their schedule with nary a glance at the pool schedule. Unlike me who builds my life around the pool schedule.
“Yeah,” and I go blah blah blah about birthday parties, and crowds of families and screaming children and he just continues to nod and stare at me.
I stop talking about the schedule and ask him about his injuries. A common topic of conversation at the YMCA. He has arthritis in both of his shoulders. Ouch! And didn’t swim for several months, but today I note that he’s swimming just fine.
“Yeah,” he says, “well, sometimes I kick and I get a wave of pain, but you know, it’s never gonna be the same as it was. Something happens at 50 and you just have to give that one up. It actually takes a lot of pressure off. There’s a freedom in it you, know?”
“Yeah, it’s like, I can’t swim as fast or as far as I used to, but at least I’m in the pool and I’m swimming so, whatever….”
He grins, and I’m momentarily mesmerized by his beauty again as he proclaims, “Yeah, it’s The Whatever Factor.”
He nods, deep in thought of my Whatever Babbling. And I guess that’s what’s great about being over 50. I mean what difference does it make if I can only swim 200 yards without my fins? Whatever. Or I can only swim a mile in 40 minutes. Whatever. Or, I can only stand at the wall chatting with Too Handsome Man for 5 minutes before I get cold.
Damn! This aspect of the Whatever Factor sucks, but at least I’ve had a chance to bask in his beauty for a moment.
“It’s nice talking with you,” he says, grabbing a kickboard from the deck.
“Yes, you too,” I try not to gush. What did DL say, Beauty is the ONLY distraction?
Thank goodness this part of being over 50 hasn’t seemed to diminish. If anything, my appreciation of beauty has become even more pronounced.
Why is that, I wonder? Is it because there’s less I can actually do so my imagination and appreciation of beauty is more vibrant? Or is it because I’ve started painting watercolors and writing a novel about art and dreams? Or is it because…
Oh, whatever! I think as I climb out of the pool and sneak one last glance at his manly kick down the lane.
That never gets old!
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