Saturday, January 26, 2008

No Little Girls Allowed!

That's what this sign, at the YMCA, means: No Little Girls Allowed! How often do you see that?

Actually the little girl outline with the circle and bar through it is kind of pasted onto the original sign. It's meant to clarify: this is the Adult Women's Locker Room, not the Girls' and Women's Locker Room, and also not the Family Locker Room.

That's right: at the Ann Arbor Y, there are five locker rooms: One for girls and women, one for women only, one for boys and men, one for men only, and one for mixed families.

Five locker rooms, well, it's an awful lot.

Sometimes I'm really glad it's all separate like this, because I get a little overwhelmed with all the kids and parents and its nice to change and shower in peace.

I go to the Y around around 6 - 7pm or so. It's a huge new Y with two gigantor pools, very nice, and lots of space. In the common areas, there are lots and lots parents, taking their kids to lessons: basketball and swimming, especially.

At that hour, you can tell the kids are a little worn out. And the parents are worn out too. And yet, clothes have to get changed; snacks have to be postponed; since it's Ann Arbor and it's freezing jackets have to get all zipped up before anyone goes back outside. It's just far enough from most people's homes that everyone drives there so the parking lots is crowded and crazy with cars. There's often an actual line up, like 10 people, at the indoor, airport-style parking pre-payment machine.

It's a recipe for crabbiness -- for kids and parents -- that is no one's fault. And man, even though the kids look delighted when they're actually playing games and swimming, there is a lot of general crabbiness otherwise. I can't help it -- I have a low tolerance. Watching the necessary and constant impulse-restriction of the children makes me feel depressed about human life. It makes me feel like "I want a cookie," "No, you can't have a cookie now. Maybe later" kind of sums up the whole human-existence business, pretty much, which is a dark thought.

So often, I'm happy to escape into the quiet of the Adult Women's Locker Room.

But then, you know, the last two days in the Adult Women's Locker Room, what I've overheard is just endless discussions of diet and weight loss. "Did you eat salad yesterday?" "You know, two tablespoons of Ranch dressing has, like, 40 grams of fat?" "How do you deal with McDonald's cravings?" "I lost 1.5 pounds."

Um, so even in the Adult Women's Locker Room, it seems life is basically just "I want a cookie." "No, you can't have a cookie now. Maybe later."

It's a good thing I've got M. I. A.'s new album Kala on my iPod to remind me of why life is worth living.

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