Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Forever 30!

I was in a mood.
Still seething after the man (of course it was a man and a tall man!) upstairs at the weight machines refused to let me ‘work in’ to the machine he’d been monopolizing for over 10 minutes. I had asked nicely. He had refused rudely. I stormed away. Dumped my wrath on sympathetic fellow gym woman (“You know, you could have reported him. That’s not what the Y values are about!” she’d harrumphed.) Good to know. But I wasn't in the mood today.
And so, as I prepared for the pool (I really hoped Mean Machine Monopoly Man wouldn’t be in the pool! Or I’d drown him in my territory!), I turned on the shower and damn. It was so cold! Grrrrr…..Brrrrrr!!!!
A stocky Asian woman was down the shower row from me. She nodded, smiled, motioned for me to come to her shower. “Here, you... this one…” she offered, no nonsense.

“Oh thank you!” I murmured gratefully.

The women were starting to restore my faith in the Y as a place to feel safe and work out.
And as I walked out on deck waving at the super nice lifeguard (also a woman), I started to breathe again. A swim would help. The pool was nearly empty except for Shower Sharing Woman and Ian. (Who, granted is a man, but he's a NICE man!)

Everything would be okay.
And it was.

I dove in. Kicked mightily. Swam and swam and swam. 45 minutes later, I’m kicking and notice that Shower Sharing Woman was resting at the wall, watching me. I smiled over at her. She gave me the thumbs up.
I love this!
Laughing, I finished up, resting for a moment at the wall, stretching, chatting to a colleague from work---another blog—and then heading into the sauna.

Shower Sharing woman was there. In the dark, a striped towel ensemble covering her instead of her sack-like swimming costume. (And yes, it was a swimming costume!) She grinned over at me. Gave me another thumbs up. Pantomimed a strong arm like Popeye the sailor-man after he ate his spinach.
“How old are you?” she asked me.
How am I? is what I heard. “I’m fine. How are you doing?”
She looked at me deeply, shaking her head. “How old are you?”
Oh, yes, Chinese culture—the first question is always, “How old are you?"even though in American culture you’d never ask a middle aged woman this. Age is so taboo. We live in a culture of youth equals beauty. But today, I don't care.

“I’m 58.”

Her eyes widened. She shook her head back and forth, amazement spilling out of every pore. “I thought!” she began. “I thought you 30!”
“You thought I was 30 years old when I was swimming?” I asked, incredulous.
“Yes, yes. 30! You strong!”
“Wow! Thanks, you made my day!” I exclaimed.
She cracked up.
“How old are you?” I asked her.
She counted on her fingers. “I... 62…63….” she decided, grinning.
“I thought you were 30 too!” I proclaimed.

Hilarity bursts forth from her. She leans against the sauna wall, the gales of laughter spilling out of her.

“We are both 30 when we are in the pool!” I assert, delighted with this new found revelation. How cool is that? The pool is the fountain of youth. We are forever 30 if we could just stay in the water!
And if I were 30? Damn, I coulda let that Mean Machine Man have it, right? Thirty year old women are more assertive? Aggressive? Or hell, if I'd been 30, maybe he wouldn't have treated me the way he did. Dismissed me the way he did. Or maybe not....maybe he would have been smarmy and ickee.....and sexist and....

Oh, who cares!

I’m just going to stay in the pool, stay 30, keep laughing, and never stop swimming.
Forever 30.
That’s me! And Thumbs Up Asian Woman. Who has the spirit of youth and joy to spare....

2 comments:

Ruth Jameson said...

Lovely...I guess when we are in our special place of joy, we are all 30. In the studio,or in my art group, age is irrelevant. The common enjoyment of shared experiences makes such a warm bond of togetherness...we need more of this!

Cj said...

Yes, Ruthie. I think you've got it. It's the shared space and connection we feel in our Passion Place, whether it be the art studio, the pool, or Utopia! Thanks, as always, for reading!