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Smile!

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“Smile!”

Seriously? I glare at the beaming dorkguard at Hilltopia Pool. I’ve just finished my swim and I’m tired and cold. It’d been an okay swim till the end when some spaz got in the lane with me and I had to dodge his wave slapping stroke.

Dorkgaurd Smile Commander approaches the women’s locker room door, repeating his smile command and then even goes so far as to make a smile upward shape on his own mug with his index fingers. Grinning widely in pantomime.

Shit.
"SMILE!!!" he commands again.
“Why?” I growl as he holds the door open for me.
“Because life is good?” he exclaims. “Because it’s a beautiful day?”

I sigh, shake my head. All my life I’ve had men, and it’s always men, telling me to smile. It really pisses me off and normally I’d just let this go but today, well…he got me on a short fuse day.
“You know,” I say, “that’s a really Sexist Thing to say.”
His own smile takes a downturn.
“Do you ever tell men to smile?” I ask.
He pauses for a moment. I can see that h…

Birds, Cats, Chopin and Hawaii

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“Did you sight the ever elusive Norton Bird?” Sandy chuckles mostly to herself as I turn to DL, questioning.
“That’s what she calls BLN.”
“Oh,” I nod. BLN is our moniker for Linda Norton, aka Beauteous Linda Norton. She also is known as the Norton Bird, evidently.

She is a woman deserving of much attention and many nicknames, so good to know that she’s also a Bird.
I respond to Sandy, “Nope, she wasn’t in the pool.”

“Does she still do the machines upstairs?” Sandy asks.
I shrug, glance over at DL for the answer. “Yes, she does,” DL affirms.
“Good to know,” Sandy slaps on some more lotion, then reaches for her red sweatsuit pants.

“Well, if she’s not in the pool, then I don’t see her. And as you know, Sandy, the pool is the only thing that matters.”
“I was waiting for that,” Sandy grins, pulling her red sweatshirt top over her wet head.
“The water is the best, though, don’t you agree?”
“It’s where I’ll end up,” Sandy agrees. “Just toss my ashes out into the sea under Diamond Head. …

Hey! I'm THERE!!!

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“Are you using this machine?”
I point to the towel wrapped around the seat,
He shrugs,
Takes the towel,
mutters, ‘no.’
And moves on.

Denise stands and chats
about this and that
as I pull down the weights.
Then she goes over to
another machine.

Again with the towel
Wrapped around the machine.
She looks around
No one there
She moves the towel
And
Wham!
There he is.
“Hey, I’m there!
I’m using that machine!”
He’s in her face.
Too close
She walks away.
Sicilian anger.
“Are you okay?”
I ask her.
She nods, yes,
But I know she’s not.
We continue to
Workout.

I Was There Man
Comes up behind
Denise, “Just to let you know,
I’m off that machine.”
I glare at him.
He walks away.
Denise continues to
Pump away.
We go to the treadmills
Denise chooses a machine.
“Hey! I was on that machine!
My water bottle’s there!”
We burst out laughing.
Water Bottle Man puts in
His earbuds,
Listens to
Water music?

“What’s going on
tonight?” I ask her.
She’s still laughing.
Starts using many examples.
“…

Toebox

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In the hot tub, DL and I rest for a moment, letting the watery heat therapeutic our bodies and brains. Then the water starts moving. We are in waves. Why? I glance to my side. On the steps floats a Large Bouncing Woman , jiggling her entire body up and down, up and down, creating wavy waves that jostle us back and forth. We both start to giggle.
“I remember when O and I went to Germany many many years ago,” I grin, trying to keep my balance on the seat as the waves continue to cascade outward into me. DL nods in encouragement? Actually, she has no choice but to listen to the story: Hot Tub captive audience. “And there was this beautiful indoor pool in a little town called, Garmisch Partikirchen. The pool’s water was calm and peaceful when I first ventured in and began swimming laps, but then I noticed that it was getting harder and harder to lift my head up to take a breath. The water was swooshing into my mouth? Why? So I stopped swimming and stood in the center of the pool for a mo…

Modicum of Awareness

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Stopping at the wall, I glance up through my foggy mask. A yellow snorkeled woman is making the circle swim motion with her hands, drawing ovals in the air with her index finger. “Can you guys circle?” she asks.

I hate circle swimming, but what are you gonna do, except ….there’s a situation in my lane.

“I’m happy to,” I lie to her, “but good luck trying to get him to stop!” I point at Maniacal Hostile Man, who has just turned at the wall in front of us, not stopping, completely ignoring the obvious request to circle swim. He had done the same thing to me when I’d tried to get him to acknowledge me upon trying to enter “His” lane. The lifeguard, though, uncharacteristically, had been on it. Had gone to the opposite side of the pool and stopped Maniac Man with his big red rubber guard thingee. Manic Man had stopped. Thrown off his cap. Gesticulated hostilely. Then had put his cap back on and swam back down the lane toward me.
Did I really want to share a lane with this guy?
Nope.
But no…

Something Big

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“Are you going to do something big?”

Through my foggy mask, I gaze up at the voice wafting down from a slight woman’s figure. She’s perched on the edge of the deck, feet dangling in the water. I think she’s smiling? But hard to tell.
I laugh anyway. It’s her question. What does she mean, am I going to do something big? Like change my career? Publish my novel? Swim in this cold pool?
I figure it’s the last item, but maybe it’s something else. I’ve had the lane to myself for all of 5 minutes here at the frigid Berkeley Y pool. My back and arms ache from the cold. I have to keep moving.
Maybe that’s the something big?

Or maybe she thinks, since she’s asking to share a lane (did she in fact ask me?) and I’d been swimming down the center, ‘something big’ means splashing with much spatial span the butterfly or large kicking up of waves down the center of the lane or…..
I have no clue, but she gets in and starts swimming before I have a chance to clarify.

She is small and splashless, which …