Thursday, June 22, 2017


“I can’t do that,” DL murmured at the sight of the packed hot tub. Women stacked in the bubbling waters like soft body bricks.
“Yeah, me neither,” I concurred, “especially after the Chaos that was the pool.”
“Let’s just go in Utopia,” DL headed to the sauna, opening the door wherein only Sandy lay, supine atop her usual queenly shelf.
“Hello, Ladies,” she said.
“Hi, Sandy,” I replied climbing up to sit in the corner next to her. “How’s it going?” DL situated herself on the shelf below, lying down in calming satisfaction at the status of the nearly empty Utopia.
“How was the pool?” Sandy asked. “As if I need to ask.”
“It was CHAOS!!!” I proclaimed, “I even had a Crash!”
Sandy sat up, shaking her head, eyes widening, “I hope you’re okay?”
“Oh, yeah, fortunately it was another woman and we weren’t going too fast, but hell, she didn’t tell me that the other circle swimmer had gotten out and she was gonna split the lane. I couldn’t see anything through the fog of my mask, you know?”

“Yeah,” Sandy nodded. “A little communication goes a long way. I remember one time I had the same thing happen to me and when the woman crashed into me, she had the nerve to exclaim, ‘WHAT!!! Do I have to get a Tetanus shot now?’” Sandy sighed in weary memory of the incident.
DL giggles were instantaneous. Their drifting mirth floating up to me as I grinned too. “What did you say?” I asked Sandy, wondering what the hell did that even mean? Did the swimmer who crashed into Sandy think that Sandy was a giant dirty nail that had plowed into her? The comment was completely outta left field as far as I could tell, but then much is in the pool, esp. in a Chaos Pool.
“What did you say to her?” I asked Sandy now.
She shrugged, “I don’t really remember. I remember thinking, Lady, what are you talking about? With all the AIDs and STDs and whatever the hell else is in this pool, it was a public pool mind you. This didn’t happen at The Club. And then I thought, to myself, no, I’m not gonna say all this. I mean, I have all of these judgments swirling inside my head. Do I really want to let them out and become one of those Angry Old Ladies that I despise?”
DL laughed harder. I chuckled, “Yeah, I know what you mean,” thinking that I was prone to letting the judgments out of my head and into the air more than I’d like lately.
Was it an Angry Old Lady attribute? Or did the world just need my entirely justifiable virulence on occasion?
Tonight, I hadn’t yelled at Crash Woman at all, even though it was, technically, her fault for not communicating. She was so apologetic and I hadn’t been hurt nor had she.
Plus, she was cute.
And so, summer at the Y. Oh boy!
Fortunately, I’m up to date on my Tetanus Shot.
I think….though maybe I better double check. For the future. Cuz the next swimmer I crash into may not be quite so cute….
….and I might just let those Judgements out of my head and into the pool.... Justifiably!

Thursday, June 15, 2017


“You saw the pool will be closed for several weeks this summer?” Sandy glances in the mirror, tussles her hair a bit, then shrugs. She’s wearing her half a duck t-shirt, but I can’t remember the joke that’s on it right now as I try to absorb what she’s just told me.

“What!!!” I exclaim. “In the middle of the summer they’re gonna close the pool?”
“Yes, well, they think there are more options for folks to go elsewhere in the summer than in the middle of winter.” She shakes her head, sighs loudly.
“Uh,” I mutter, “not sure that’s true. But thanks for telling me.”

“You didn’t see the signs?”
“Nope, but you know, there are a LOT of signs around here. Too much signage means that I don’t read anything.” Sandy chuckles, tossing some crap in her gym bag.
I continue my pool closure interrogation, “Where are the signs?”
“Oh, up at the front. You know the pool closure is in fine print,” she says. “At least it's posted.”
“Yeah,” I admit, “but why don’t they post the closure info on the door out to the pool? Or put the dates on the bulletin board under the water temp. Then swimmers would see.”
“Oh, well, you’re talking logic there, Carol,” Sandy laughs.
“Yeah, okay, I have to remember where I am. Logic doesn’t prevail here at the Downtown Oakland YMCA.”
“You got it…..” she agrees,zipping up her gym bag and putting on her sweatshirt.
And I have to think, where does logic prevail? I have to really scratch my head to think where it does. Not at my job. Even though, supposedly, teaching writing would seem to encompass much emphasis on logic. Critical thinking is key to structuring a well-written paper, right? Oh, yeah, the well-written part. That gets lost. Understandably, so, but still. Logic would help. A reverse outline. A reading of the assignment. Hell, even reading out loud. That would show the gaps in logic,right?
And where else would you think logic would prevail and it doesn’t? Let’s see, not in our political system. Damn. Do I even want to go there? But you know, I still cannot process who the leader of the free world is. And that he was elected by the population that supposedly has free will to choose who would be the best for their interests. But yet, they elect someone who is diametrically opposed to their interests. Take healthcare. Trump vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act and now he’s working on doing this. But yet…..don’t all those Trump Voters benefit from Obama’s landmark act? Don’t they pay less in premiums because of the government subsidies? Don’t they get free preventative care? Care for pre-existing conditions?

Not in the electorate.

And so, it’s no surprise that there’s little logic to be found in the workplace or the home or the YMCA.
Logic is a rare occurrence.

Part of me is appalled. Yet part of me, too, has to admit that logic can be vastly overrated. I mean where would artists and dancers and musicians be with logic? It’s all about emotion, right? Oh, dear. Now that’s something I am an expert in. Emotion.
But that’s another blog for another day.

Today, I’ll go with why the hell don’t they post the pool closure dates at the pool?

Logic, Carol, logic. Remember where you are. At the Downtown Oakland YMCA, where pool closures are rampant and logic is scarce.
"See you next week," Sandy calls out to me as she heads out.
"Yes, next week. If the pool isn't closed."
Sandy laughs, waves bye over her head, as I scurry to finish dressing before the Y closes.

Oh, and the joke on her T-shirt? I remember now! "Not playing with a full duck"!
Yup, perfect for the Downtown YMCA!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Enjoy It While You Can!

“Enjoy it while you can,” Sandy proclaimed, shaking her head as I climbed up beside her on the top shelf of Utopia. DL had already settled in on the bottom shelf, languidly stretching out in the warmth of dialogue and exhaustion.

I’d been telling Sandy how I’d had an entire lane to myself in the pool. That NEVER happens at the Oakland Downtown Y. It had been perfect swimming bliss to not be in a Splash Sandwich or kicked by Shoe Swimming Woman or crashed into by a swimmer not holding her lane.

“The summer camps will be here before you know it,” Sandy continued.

“What do you mean?” Tattooed All Over Woman on the other side of Sandy perked up. Was she a swimmer too? I didn’t remember seeing her in the pool. I think I would’ve remembered! The tattoos were all over and elaborate. Although I couldn’t quite tell what they were of in the dusky dim light of Utopia.

Sandy turned to her new audience. Ready to inform. It was her job here at the Downtown Oakland Y: “Every summer, round mid June till about the end of August, the kids are let out of school and enroll in summer camps here at the Y. They get dumped off behind the Y here, and lemme tell you, like it isn’t crazy enough around here already, those kids are looking to get run over by someone driving and texting in their SUV. Anyway, they take over the pool and the facility so…..” Sandy settled back into her slouch, “just beware.”
Tattoo Woman nodded. Then got up and left.

“Guess you scared her off,” I joked.

Sandy smirked. “She needs to know. It’s crazy round here. Why, I remember a time that my sister-in-law’s brother was riding his bike down Telegraph Ave and someone opened their car door and wham, cut right through his juggler and he was a goner.”
“Oh my god, that’s terrible!” I exclaimed. I couldn’t believe she’d just tell us this story in such a startling nonchalant manner, but then I should know better by now. I told her how I have a horrible fear of hitting someone walking or biking when I’m circling the Y looking for parking near tears and plagued by waves of frustration.

“And that’s not all,” Sandy was on a roll tonight. “You know how pythons are running wild in Florida and there’s a call out to hunt down as many as possible?”

“Uh….I think I’ve heard of that,” I murmured. Do I really want to hear about killer snakes now after the Killer Car?

“Well, one guy caught a python who had swallowed an entire deer! A deer! Can you believe that? Imagine the mass that was found in that Python. Why it was bigger than you, Carol!”
I had to laugh. Imagining myself inside a python, though, wasn’t really what I was after at this point in the evening.

DL got up. Weaved out without looking back. “Sorry, DL!” Sandy called after her, chuckling.

“I think she had reached her heat limit actually," I said. "Though maybe it was the python story…..”

Sandy rose and followed DL out, though not before one final comment to ponder: "It’s not as bad as the news,” Sandy said before closing the door behind herself.

I was left with Coconut Oil Smearing Woman who gave me a perplexed look. “She’s right.”
“Yes, I know, that’s why I avoid the news,” I said, starting to rise.
“Yeah, well, I work at a radio station so I hear it all all the time.”
“I bet you do,” I nodded. A radio station? I wondered which one, thinking this added a whole new dimension to Coconut Oil Woman. But it was time to go and I was hot, tired, hungry and well….frankly, didn’t want to hear anything else that might give me the willies.

“See you next time,” I said to her, making my way to the showers and back to the lockers where Sandy was still holding court.
“It smells like fruity lip gloss here,” I commented, dumping my wet swim stuff on the stool as I began to turn my lock's combination.
DL continued to rub lotion on herself in luxurious mode situation. Sandy nodded, “Yeah, I know what you mean. Better that than last night. The sauna smelled like a Zoo.”
DL’s stopped her lotion luxury, eyes wide, and cracked up. I joined her.
Later, DL says to me, “Only Sandy could take Utopia to Zootopia!”
Yup, only Sandy could.
What does a Zoo smell like?
I don’t even want to go there… least not now…..