Showing posts from January, 2017

Out of the pool, into the politics

(photo by Chris McGinnis)

“Speechless, but focused.”

This sign caught my attention during the Women’s March through downtown Oakland (Saturday, January 21, 2017). Why was this the one I remember first when I think back around the energy of that day? Certainly there were tons of memorable signs: “Warrior Princess”; “Pussy grabs back ”; “It’s so bad, even introverts are marching!”
Yet this sign around a silent and deep attention seemed to mirror the words and meaning on my own sign: “This strains my credulity on so many levels…..”
Or are they opposites? Mine is broad and all encompassing. While the focused one narrows to a pinprick of consciousness. Yet, I can NOT believe what disastrous swipes of his pen Trump has already enacted. No more funding for women’s health care overseas? I can NOT even wrap my brain around this. Another sign echoes in my mind: “If you can take away women’s reproductive rights, can we take away yours?”

If only! There are already ‘little Trumps’ in the world; al…

What I can do.....

“The boiler’s out at My Club. So, I’ve been swimming here.” Sandy refrains from the wry face that I know is under her noncommittal mug. She’s swimming at the Oakland Y! Wow! In all the years that I’ve been coming here, I’ve never known her to swim at this pool. Why?

I bet it’s not as nice as her Club! That’s why! And, yup, sure enough, details are forthcoming. “I’ve never slid off the wall at My Club like I do here.” She leans toward me, conspiratorially, quiet not to bother anyone else in Utopia. DL is on the bottom shelf, zoned out? Can she hear us? I bet not. And why would she care? Tonight, it’s all about swimming!
“What do you mean?” I ask now about the sliding off the wall phenomenon. I can’t fathom her meaning whatsoever.
“When I turn at the wall with my fins, there’s this oily slickness to the wall. The fins slide off….”
“Oh….” I have no clue what she’s talking about. But I believe her that there’s some sort of slick film on the walls of the Oakland pool. I don’t want to thi…


It’d been a cold swim. A hard swim. But now, a done swim. Whew! Here at the Encinitas YMCA they keep the pool a frigid ‘competitive’ temp. I am NOT competitive! I need warmth. And so, I plop down in the sauna, the heat a welcome embrace after my non-competitive swim.

I close my eyes. The talk of the two women with me in the sauna floats in the heat. Something about India. Something about holidays. Something about celebrations.
It’s that post-Christmas lament. Is that what I mean? Do they want more holidays here?
I open my eyes. They both smile over at me in the close quarters. Then continue on with their discussion. “In India, every week is a holiday.”
“Yes, I know what you mean.”
“Not like here where we have this big holiday and then bam. No holidays till when?”
“Valentine’s day?”
“Is that a holiday?”
They both crack up. I grin. Decide to join in. “The same was true in China,” I venture. “There was always a celebration. Parades. Balloons. Fireworks.”
“Yes, India too.”
I nod. Is one of…