Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Athletic Club Faux Pas

I've started taking Aqua Jogging classes at the Y. It's lots of fun (the classes, not the Y as much), and it's helping to improve my strength and endurance.

But, as in any public place where people take their clothes off, some of the patrons can be a little...let's say...eccentric.

Like this one lady. I had just finished my swim and was walking from the pool's entrance to the hot tub through the narrow walkway between the shallow end and the wall. The width is about two feet of slippery tile. But smack in the middle of the walkway is this gigamundo red gym bag. Not the usual gigamundo size of the ones used by the aerobic queens; this looked like something that minor league ball players took on road trips. And I'd just watched her shove it there (she'd popped up from her lane, gotten something out of it, then pushed it--not quite far enough to clear the walkway, but leaving it smack in the middle.) I made my way around it, but by that time, she was halfway through her lap back to the deep end.

Then I nearly trip on the bag on my way back. She is still in the pool.

Then (and I have no idea how she did this; perhaps she's a witch, or has the superpower to turn back time...or to make her magic bag expand to annoying proportions when in the proximity of others) I went back to the locker room to shower, and started for my favorite stall, when I saw her bag inside of it. The bag was there, but she wasn't. Now, I've done a bit of shower-hogging (some days you just need to marinate a little longer) but I've never done it during prime time hours, and I've NEVER done it to "save" the shower stall while I., say, go to use the sauna. That's just rude.

I find another, and when I'm done, I nearly trip over the bag again...she's left on the floor, blocking the corridor to the changing room. I've had enough by this point.

"Listen," I said. "I've nearly tripped over that bag at least three times since I've been here..."

And she just throws up her hands, giving me this look that says, "my life is totally out of my control." She shoves it out of the way with her foot and apologizes. "Sorry," she says. "And I'm a really bad driver, too."

I gave her a ten minute head start before I left the parking lot.

So if you happen to see a skinny chick with a mound of gray hair driving a car with a big-ass athletic bag hanging out the back of it, make sure you give her lots of room.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Time to Come out

Okay, it's time. Since I'm all over the web anyway, does it really matter that I've been using this site under an alias? Not that anybody's been reading it since I seem to have abandoned it for my other life (those of you who have abandonment issues are instructed to call the therapist of their choice) but it's time to return. I want to keep this site as a place to write about topics besides medical studies and fitness tips. Because, you know, sometimes I just want to make fun of stuff. And so far, I haven't found anybody who's willing to pay me for that.

For instance. This governor of Illinois. I've never watched "The View" before, but I heard that Blago was going to be on, with his hair if not his wife by his side (she was advised by family members not to appear because her father would rip him in two if given the chance over some business deal). I wanted to tune in, you know, the way people watch NASCAR for the accidents. How surreal was this experience? His impeachment trial is going on in Illinois without him, while he's parading his personal PR campaign all over network television. It reminded me of that day when we all watched OJ Simpson's slow-motion car chase.

So here he is, ostensibly appearing on television to make his case before the American public (who really have no power over this situation) by -- now, this is a truly brilliant spin, one that I'm sure will be studied for years to come -- by not answering any of Barbara Walters' questions. Yes, all you future white collar criminals and corrupt politicians out there, study this guy and study him well. Now, Barbara has tangled with the best of them, and I think his interview politicians as far back as, I don't know I think FDR or something, and she couldn't squeeze one ounce out of him (personally, I think she should have started with his hair). She continually gave him every window to to defend himself to the public, every possible opportunity to explain his side of the story, and all he did was deflect, deflect, deflect.

Screw politics. He should go into acting. He'd get the Oscar nod for sure.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Heart Is Full

I have been watching the preamble to the Inauguration streaming live on MSNBC, and I find it hard to find the words to describe how I feel. I'm moved by the faces in the crowd, the joy, the wonder. The ocean of people who have come from such great distances and at such personal sacrifice to stand in the bitter cold and be part of history.

As the pagentry of the arriving dignitaries proceeds, what strikes me is how people who rip each other apart on Sunday talk shows, and on the floor of congress, and during political campaigns could come together and be part of something so much bigger than their petty disagreements.

As someone who volunteered (in my small way) for Obama's campaign, I feel that for every letter I wrote, every email I sent, for every potential vote (I hope) I changed, that I am also part of this.

As someone who doesn't always appreciate the actions of our government, I am awed at how smooth our change of power is. I am awed that the system works. When other countries change leaders through war and through military coup and through assassination, we simply have two men (and one day, hopefully, a woman) having coffee in the Blue Room, and then one quietly moves out while the new leader moves in.

Whatever you think of our democracy, at the very nut of it, it works. It works.

And tomorrow morning, our first African-American president will go to work. He has a cool exterior, but I wonder if somewhere, on the inside, he's quietly freaking out at the daunting task that lays before him.

I know I would be.

I wish him all the best. I wish him strength, and peace, and the good counsel of his advisors.

And, in my own way, I'm praying for all of us.

Now I'm going to go watch our 44th president be sworn in and give us his first official words as the "leader of the free world" on the big TV.

Have a great day.