Monday, November 17, 2008

swimming sisters

the Y is closed for the next three weeks. last year this created quite a problem. this year, however, the Y and the santa monica pool seem to have coordinated their closures so that they are not at the same time. HOWEVER, as you may have heard, we're in the middle of fire season out here. in fact, we're having california snow. similar to new york snow in its grey appearance and how it lightly falls from the sky, but this snow is the product of raging southern california wildfires -- ash. it's awful. it's everywhere. my car is coated with it. when i walked outside today you could see it, like snow flurries. the santa monica pool is an outdoor pool. it's glorious.

here it is. see what i mean? stunning. but i'm not dipping a toe in it today. when i swim there is, unfortunately, lots of huffing and puffing going on. i could just feel the ash particles embedding themselves in my lungs as i thought about swimming outside.

my sister is always talking about how great her gym is. it's one of the froofie kind. j. and i go to the local Y, where they keep it real (real funky!). my sister's big selling points to me about her gym are 1. you never have to wait to get a lane in the pool 2. even though it's in a busy section of town where you pay $2.50 for 12 minutes to park, they validate for two hours and 3. they have a TON of fun exercise classes.

okay, sister ... take me to your gym TODAY because otherwise i'm not getting my workout done.

she was only going to swim for 15-20 minutes because she just started physical therapy to deal with a shoulder injury. i've got 2600 to do. so we synchronize our watches and decide what time she ought to show up so that we can finish together and then sauna, steam or whatever sisters do at shooshie pooshie gyms in l.a.

that was the plan. we didn't account for the sales pitch i'd get from jimmy dean (he said his parents had a "good sense of humor") the ultra-runner whose "married to an ironman, thankyouverymuch", or the tour he'd insist i take. 25 minutes later, i finally get to the locker room and call my sister to tell her it's now well past the time i was supposed to be submerged. she tells me she just arrived. aces. i scurry down to the pool. and yup, murphy's law, of the two lanes (TWO LANES!?!?!) that accommodate only two people per lane (TWO PEOPLE PER LANE!?!?!?) are filled and one chica is on deck ahead of me. sigh.

i wait. i wait. i wait. sister arrives. we wait. we wait. we wait.

finally i get in. i'm claustrophobic from the get-go. the water tastes funny. the woman in the lane with me seems bitchy. the color scheme of the pool is green (which is just wrong). i hate this pool. but i swim. my stroke is off. the lane is so skinny, i'm certain i'm gonna bash the woman next to me in the head. why is it harder in this pool? is there a current? am i trying too hard to look like a good swimmer for my sister? are we done yet? oh, she's not even in yet. finally sister is in. commence laughing. we reverted to 8 and 10 years old, respectively. we immediately made underwater blowfish faces at each other. i started laughing, underwater. which meant i started choking. this is bullshit. we got out after her 15 min.

we decided to go to the steam room, which jimmy dean promised me i would loooove because of the eucalyptus. now, i like eucalyptus as much as the next gal, but let me just say ... someone got a little liberal with their dosage. practically burned my nose hairs out. there was a woman sleeping in the steam room ... or maybe she was practicing her hatha ... in any case it was loud and unnerving, but not nearly as startling as when the steam machine kicked on to refill the room.

i'm not generally the high-strung, jumpy type, but this thing starts up and i'm on the ceiling, certain we've just had an earthquake. it continued to steam and steam and steam. i looked at my sister. she smiled, but didn't look alarmed. i was starting to panic. is it going to stop? i couldn't see my sister anymore. at what point do we bolt for the door to avoid being steamed alive? no sooner did i actually tell my sister that i was gonna make a break for it, did it stop. thank god, let's leave. too many courtesy, white, fluffy towels later, we say our goodbyes in the parking lot.

i'm thinking i'm not gonna take jimmy dean up on his very generous payment plan membership options. i get to the parking kiosk and the man looks at my ticket. 2 hours and 24 minutes. $5.oo please. that sealed the deal.

i waited for a lane, i paid for parking and i'm the girl in the exercise classes who always goes to the left when the entire room goes to the right ... this is definitely not the gym for me. sis and i had better stick to getting pedicures together.


Molly said...

Wow, we were all feeling bloggy at once tonight ;) That is a gorgeous pool!

Roo said...

Even I taught classes I was still the girl that went left when everyone else went right!

sarahmontague said...

Hi Cat,

Welcome to the blogospher!


D said...

For someone just started on the blogging, you sure have a lot to say. No wonder you are speechless now :P
So are these the kinds of stories we've been missing out on all this time? DAMN YOU!

Stef said...

Glad to see you blogging!