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Lost and Response

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“Can I help you find something?”

Shaking her head, PP smiles, “Oh, thanks. It’s nothing really. Just an earplug. I just don’t know where it could have gone.”

PP had been drying her cap where she stores the earplugs after swimming when one of them popped out. She’d been scanning the disgusting floor at Hilltopia, but it had completely disappeared.

Helpful Woman nods, her round wrinkled pale face sympathetic. “Yes, I know what you mean. I once lost an emerald green earring. It just disappeared. I searched and searched all over the place. Even in the emerald green stripe of the rug,” she laughs. “But it was just gone.”





”Well, that was something valuable,” PP nods, still frowning as she tries to squat down to examine the floor. Her neck is killing her today. So the angle isn’t quite right for an optimum examination.

“It was nothing really,” HW shakes her gray wet curls in front of the mirror before attacking them with the brush.

“I’m always losing things,” Scraping Walker Woman joins in. She’…

Merry Christmas

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“Merry Christmas,” she sings out across the lane line as PP turns at the wall. It’s Scraping Walker Woman, happy and buoyant in the water now, wishing good cheer.

“Merry Christmas,” she sighs, her round dark eyes a mixture of resignation and knowing; she wraps her towel round her ample mounds as PP leaves the Sauna. “For one week, we have no Sauna,” she’d bemoaned, yet not letting this loss stifle her holiday spirit.

“Merry Christmas!” they all holler into Utopia between giggles, as DL and PP smile in rapt delight. Three generations of Ethiopian Women, grandma, daughter, granddaughter, all rubbing sea salt on their rich dark skin, their faces masked in green avocado salad.

“How do you say “Merry Christmas in Ethiopian?” PP asks. They tell her, too fast, between more giggles. PP doesn’t even try to repeat it.

“It comes one week after,” the granddaughter tells PP, as DL takes some Sea Salt from their favorite Green Mask Woman.

"It feels nice," DL murmurs as she slowly rubs it into…

Russian Beauty

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“I know it’s one of these,” PP laughs as she searches for her locker. She’s marked the lock on the back with a Victorian Kitty sticker for just these occasions. But this means she has to lift up all the locks and inspect the backs of them.

It’s a little awkward, esp. with an audience.

The audience, a lovely dark haired Russian Beauty, laughs with, not at PP. Already many points in her favor. (The laugh, not the beauty. Though the beauty doesn’t hurt.) And who knows if she’s really Russian. She has a lovely accent that could be Russian. And Russian is so romantic, right? Rachmaninoff? Tolstoy? Tchaikovsky? Siberia…? Okay, not the last one, but you get the drift. It’s not often that one meets a Russian Beauty in the Hilltop YMCA locker room.

“I always take the same one,” RB remarks, smiling sympathetically as PP continues to inspect the backs of locks. PP’s completely spaced out: hungry, tired, relaxed. The usual aftermath of a swim and a sauna.

Which makes remembering where your locker…

Bad Man!

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“She a cocktail waitress. That mean she not smart. He pick woman who not smart.”
“We don’t know that she’s not smart just because she’s a cocktail waitress.”
“Then why she do that kind of job?”
“She may like it. Or she may even own the bar. We don’t know. What we do know is that most men pick women who are ‘under’ them, not as smart as them. What do you ladies think?”

DL and PP grin at each other; DL’s big brown eyes wide with delight under her steamy wire rimmed glasses. The women at Utopia.
They know how to discuss!

“I think she dumb woman.”
“What are you guys talking about?” PP finally interrupts.
”We’re talking about Tiger Woods. His mistress who’s a cocktail waitress. T thinks that she’s not very smart because she’s a cocktail waitress.”
“Or she’s not very smart cause she’s Tiger Woods’ mistress,” PP laughs. Then reconsiders. “OR she’s very smart cause she’s Tiger Woods’ mistress.”

“Yes! She get all kind of TV now. The cameras are all on her!” T says, sitting up and adjusting the plastic…

Ownership

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“Wow!” PP pauses at the wall, looking up from her tunnel vision swim focus at the empty Oakland Y pool, “There’s NO one here!” she hollers at the two lifeguards flirting in oblivious abandon.

They laugh, forced to acknowledge her for a moment.

“I’m going to swim in EVERY lane!” PP laughs. They laugh. Loudly this time.

Then PP does it. Really.

Dives under each lane line, swims down the lane, then dives under the next lane line and swims down the lane.

It’s like a dream she wishes would never end.

Her life out of the water is in such turmoil. Her Evil Landlord walking in on her while brushing her teeth to show HER cattage to prospective buyers. “You have to give me 24 hours notice!” she’d shrieked at him, shaking.
“Didn’t you get my email?” he asked, sheepishly, knowing damn well that duh, she hadn't.
“Email!! I don’t look at the email every day. You need to give 24 hours notice,” she repeats, her shock at his trespassing into her private domain gone wild. Who the hell does he think h…

Appreciation

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“I really appreciate it,” she murmured, smiling shyly as she finished tying the bright blue, gold and red leafed turban round her head.

PP nodded, spaced out and tired, but Turban Woman was right. The YMCA was something to appreciate. Esp. after these long arduous days of soothing students, fighting landlords, and cursing traffic.

Without the Y, PP would be completely insane. (Okay, she heard that!)

Yet appreciation is often something that is so clichéd and/ or overlooked in our lives today. Of course there’s the goddamn woo woo ‘affirmations’ where you’re supposed to write out what you appreciate about yourself. (I am beautiful. I am smart. I am loyal. I am stupid. Oh, maybe that last one isn’t really an affirmation, even though it often feels like it)



Hell, PP doesn’t appreciate anything about herself, unless it’s her ability to not appreciate.

Ah, but she gets muddled here.

“And you teach all day, too,” PP had answered Turban Woman, who’d given her another sly smile.

“Yes, I do. And …

Snoring?

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“Was I snoring?”

Glancing down at the Peaceful Questioner Woman, who’d been lying sprawled out half the length of the wooden bench, PP smiled. (Even though she was sure PQW couldn’t see her in the dark that was Utopia.)

“Nah,” PP answered. “Were you really asleep?”
“Oh, yeah.”
“Do you usually snore?”
She sighed thinking about it. “My daughter says I do.”
”Well,” PP laughed. “That’s probably just your daughter.”
“Yeah, maybe.”


Later, PP asked DL if she snored. “No, but RQ does.”
“Yeah, so does my sis,” PP offered, trying to get her swimsuit untangled after pulling it off in the shower. Why oh why didn’t she just go buy a new suit instead of wearing two ancient falling apart ones on top of each other to keep her ass from showing?

Shopaphobia.





But that’s another blog.

This one is about snoring, which actually has nothing to do with swimming, but when has that stopped PP? After all, she did get the reference to her pitiful swimsuit apparel in. That counts, right?

“Have you heard your sis snore?” DL as…

Not Everyone’s a Swimmer

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“I hafta tell ya, every time you say you’re gonna go to the pool, I cringe”, PP's coworker laughs, shaking her head.
“Why is that?” PP asks.
“It’s just that I’d rather go on a hike, or walk the dog, or hell, visit the dentist rather than dive into a pool! I’m not a swimmer.”

“Yeah, I understand." PP nods like she does understand. But really she doesn't. At least not yet. So, she tries for some sort of understanding rejoinder: "Yeah, well, I just grew up with it.”

“Exactly. But my parents never gave us swim lessons. For whatever reason, it just wasn’t important ….so I didn’t know how to swim. I actually didn’t learn to swim 'till I was in Jr. High. I was 13. You know Willard Jr. High School?”

“Oh yeah. Nice little pool there.”

“It is. But for me, it was almost traumatic. I mean they weren’t gonna let me graduate from the 8th grade till I learned to swim. And unlike you, since I didn’t grow up with it, I was just terrified of the water. I have this fear of drowning. And…

Brilliant!

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"It was brilliant!"
Owen Hill, poet extraordinaire and mystery writer magnifique proclaimed.

And it was. DHBF, aka Ian Lambton, swam to glory in his debut as the narrator of Melville's Bartleby.

"Your BF certainly has a LOT of different people in him," KS said.
"Yup," PP responded. "Means I don't have to sleep around as much as I used to."

So, let's look forward to DHBF's next run of his genius one-man show. At the Marsh Theater or beyond.

Oh, and PP thinks there's a Brilliant Swim in his near future. Without the top hat of course!

Bartleby Swims in the Marsh

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And when he arises, he can don his goggles instead of his top hat and join PP at the Pool where he's been sorely missed for weeks and weeks and weeks!

Tomorrow is the day!

Ah, Bartleby!
Ah, Humanity!
Ah, Poolby!

Dangling Modifiers

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“Ouch!" PP shrieked in agony at the bottom of the hot tub, not knowing that the weird wrong sharp plastic thingee was on the bottom of the tub. When the hell did it get installed? Had she missed stubbing her foot on it all these years?
"Attacking my big toe where did that thingee come from why didn't I see it?" she whined. "Hey, how's that for a Dangling Modifier?" she asked DL.

"What's a Dangling Modifier?"

"I'm not exactly sure, but I think that...." PP can't summon the definition to the surface of her pool soaked brain.

Sometimes, she wonders how the hell she’s ever gotten this far in her career as an English Instructor. Since she called the above a dangling modifier, which it isn’t even, but actually more of a run-on sentence. Then neither she nor DL could define one as they headed into Utopia.

“Sandy will know,” PP announced when she saw Sandy lying naked, sweating and relaxed on the top shelf of the sauna. Obviously,…

Spitting

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“The only thing that was grossing me out was that Asian couple in the lane next to me.” CC wrinkled her cute nose, shaking her head.

“Why? What were they doing?” PP hadn’t noticed them other than the fact that they weren’t swimming much. Just hanging around on the side of the pool, taking up the lane. Which didn’t really matter. For some reason the Hilltop Y was unusually quiet. Was this because everyone was home mourning the loss of light with the demise of daylight savings time? (Sad sad sad SAD!!!)

CC took a deep breath, then went on, “They kept leaning over the side of the pool and spitting kaapuuukuuueeee into the drain. It was so disgusting!”

PP laughed. “Maybe they were from China? It’s a cultural thing?”
“I don’t know.....” CC was dubious.

“...Cuz when I was teaching in China, and of course, I’m generalizing here with gross stereotypes and all, but this was my experience. One of my students, in the middle of my lecture, just up and spit a huge loogie (PP hates that word, but it’s…

Own Lane!

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PP got her OWN lane!
How happy is she?
This never happens at the Oakland Y.
Y?
Cuz there are too many swimmers who want to share your lane. And you don’t want to share your lane, but you have to; otherwise, you’re a swimmer without morals. Which PP admits she’d like to be. But when it comes right down to it, she can’t help but share the lane if someone asks, albeit begrudgingly.

DL thinks that PP should keep track of the number of times she gets her own lane (for the entire swim!) She thinks that there’s some way to track this on the blog. PP is gonna look into this. But she doesn’t have to hurry with her investigation.

She won’t get her own lane again for a long long time.

Unless she does.

Which will make her very very happy!

CRAZY

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“She really is a fish, isn’t she?”
GP grinned as she relayed her husband’s assessment of PP. Going swimming in this weather?

In the worst storm of the year? (Okay, it was the first storm of the year, but still.....)

“Or he coulda said she was the Craziest Fish, really!” PP muttered aloud to herself as she vainly tried to see the freeway in front of her through the driving gray sheets of windy rain.

What she will do for a swim!

Is the pool worth risking your life for?

Goddamn right it is.

PP hit the brake as the cars in front of her slowed to a crawl, red brake lights thankfully warning her to keep her distance. The gargantuan yellow truck at the front of the line of cars spewed a ghastly black smoke as it chugged up Hwy 80 toward Pinole.

Glancing down at her speedometer, PP saw that she was barely going 35 miles an hour.

This is for the best, she thought. Of course unless some stupid idiot rear-ends her. “Maybe you should think less about what’s behind you and concentrate on what’s in fr…

The Marriott at Kalapaki Beach

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”Not that I don’t LOVE all of you beautiful people, but….” Love Fest Woman glances around the pandemonium that is the Lihue airport and sighs, “…I’ve booked a room at the Marriott.”
“How much is a room at the Marriott?” someone asks wistfully.
“$199.99. But I don’t care. I can’t take it anymore. Ciao!”

PP watches in a jealous cloud of exasperation as LFW strides purposefully out of the airport, husband and luggage in tow. Damn! Why can’t she go to the Marriott?

Oh, yeah that little thing called money.

Damn again. Bet there’s a really great pool at the Marriott too!

Sighing loudly, PP plops back into the uncomfortable plastic chair, her head aching, her nerves frayed.

She’d asked if they could be sent to a hotel when the flight had been canceled and there wasn’t another one till the next day. But nooooo….

“We can book you on a flight to LA and then from there you can get a connecting flight to SFO.”
“Are you serious?” PP had practically screamed at the Stony Faced Agent. “I’m not flying to …

First Sightings in the Perfect Hawaii Sea

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Swimming in the perfect blue warm sea outside their bedroom window in Hau’ula, PP revels in its embrace. Ah! Hawaii ocean. There’s no swimming like it in the world! She could swim all day in this sea if she didn’t get hungry or her ear plugs didn’t leak or she didn’t have to go to the bathroom.

Okay you didn’t need to know that last one.

But it was so lovely to be back in Hawaii again. PP swims and swims and swims. Out to the breaking waves on the coral reef several hundred yards from the shore and back again.

Dashingly Handsome Boyfriend is also in the sea, swimming away with his snorkel and red zoomers. So serious and cute in the Hau’ula waters.

Afterwards, resting on the porch that overlooks the water, PP sighs happily.

Till DHBF gets out of the water. Too breathless with excitement to be believed.

“You know what I saw?”
“No.”
“You’ll never guess.”
“No, probably not.”
"I saw a turtle….” He waits for PP’s excited response. She sighs inwardly. How come she never sees a turtle? In fac…