Saturday, January 08, 2005

There are better ways to get wet

Do you believe in global warming? Well, if the world is getting hotter, you wouldn’t know it here in Palm Springs.

It was cold and rainy here Friday. Foggy even. Fog in the Coachella Valley. I’ve never seen that before. Fog. In Palm Springs. Never happens.

My little weather monitor tells me it is 50 degrees outside right now, which equals the warmest it was all day. We got more than a half an inch of rain today, which may not sound like much, but for a place that only gets about 5 inches a year, it’s phenomenal. And when it rains in the desert, there is flooding – without fail.

And the forecast is for more of the same until about Tuesday.

If I’d have wanted this shit, I could have stayed in Portland.

I find myself thinking of sunshine and warmer days. How I long for a hot days (and nights) and a refreshing dip in a pool, rather than sitting around in sweats, a wool shirt and curled up under an afghan – alone.

We have a couple of pools in the apartment complex I call home. But my thin skin gave up on swimming a couple of months ago. I’m not even sure if the pools here are heated. But even if they are, and it would be warm enough to swim, you still have to get out into the cold air.

No thanks.

I’m a wimp.

I admit it.

I’ll wait for spring, thank you very much. I may venture into the hot tub. But the pool? Maybe once the water temperature reaches, say, 88.

I never used the pool too much at my old apartment complex. I’m too self conscious. Poor body image, and all that.


But a few years ago, a friend who owned a house here in Palm Springs, complete with pool and hot tub, invited me over for a small gathering. I guess I must have made my pool envy a little too obvious. But my friend, who we’ll call “B” invited me back for another visit and said I could use the pool. So, on my next visit, I brought my trunks. After dinner and some drinks, we took advantage of the warm, late summer night and took to the pool.

B was having a bit of a rough time professionally during that period, so we spent a lot of time talking. We spent a lot of time drinking wine too. Wine just tastes colder and sweeter when you are sitting in a hot tub for some reason. Not sure why, but I didn’t analyze it too much, I just enjoyed it.

It was so peaceful sitting there, under a star-filled desert sky, sipping chardonnay, soaking in steaming hot water and staring up at the stars. It seemed like heaven on earth. All the troubles of my workday seemed to melt away on those hot summer nights.

“Now this is why people love Palm Springs,” I said to B.

In Palm Springs and the rest of the Coachella Valley, the back yard is a personal spa for many, and an extension of the house. The backyard becomes the de facto family room, or party room. And the outdoor environment is why people come here, which is what make this rain such a bitch.

So, when I visited B’s house I took my trunks along, just hoping above hope that there would be an invitation to take advantage of the pool and hot tub. But B, I soon learned, didn’t own a bathing suit. It seems she didn’t normally wear one. And why should she? She had her own house with her own pool and a nice fence to keep out prying eyes.

In deference to having a guest, and a modest one at that, B improvised a bathing suit. Of course cotton panties and a cotton T-shirt don’t leave much to the imagination when wet, but who was I to complain? I had wine. I had access to a pool. I had access to a hot tub. I was with a woman in a wet T-shirt and underwear.

And it was her damn house, she could do whatever the hell she wanted as far as I was concerned.

And she did.

It didn’t take long for B to get tired of swimming in a wet T-shirt. It may have been our second swim party, or maybe even late in the first one. I was sitting in the hot tub and B was in the pool, just swimming around. She came up for air and was wrestling with the wet shirt, all twisted around and sticking to her skin. With a grumble she said “Fuck it” and threw modesty, and her T-shirt, out of the pool and onto the deck, where it landed with a thunderous splat.

“I hope you don’t mind, but that thing was driving me nuts,” she said.

“No problem,” I said. “It’s your house. Your pool.”

“I know,” she said. “I just don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

“I think I’ll be fine” I said. She was the one virtually naked. Of course I was traumatized enough taking my shirt off in front of a woman, but seeing a topless woman didn’t frazzle my nerves.

Actually I was impressed that B was not at all self conscious. Or at least she seemed to be. But that was her way. She was older than me and, well, she was heavy. But that wasn’t her most distinguishing characteristic. But she was bold, boisterous, verging on wild. It was an image she cultivated and manufactured for herself. I admired it and her for being so, so, out there. I wished I were more like that. She was unashamed and she seemed comfortable in her skin, something I have rarely been.

After that, B didn’t bother with the T-shirt. And pretty soon, she didn’t bother with the panties either.

I confessed to B that I have never been skinny dipping, to which B gave me a stunned look. It was true, I hadn’t. Never really had the opportunity. It never came up before. Well, B told me there was nothing like it. She went on and on. I had another friend who had a pool when she was growing up in Arizona who had told me the same thing.

But could it really be all that? I decided there was only one way to find out. After all, when in my life, as an apartment dweller, might I get the chance to try it again?

So, I chucked the trunks. And I found it really was all that. And more.

I won’t even bother to describe the feeling. If you haven’t been skinny dipping, you should try it. And if you have, you know.

It’s like sex. How do you describe sex to someone who hasn’t done it? Swimming with a bathing suit on is like masturbation. It feels good, no question. But it can’t adequately prepare you for the feeling of going all the way.

So, in my mid 30s, I skinny dipped for the first time.

I spent a lot of time naked in that pool that summer and fall. Summer 2001. Before the world changed. Sometimes I was with B, sometimes alone. B was between jobs, so she spent some of her time looking for work, and some of it traveling to visit family and friends. But she told me I could use the house and the pool anytime, and I took advantage of the offer.

It was a magic summer and early fall.

It would lead to the most embarrassing moment of my life.

But that’s a story for another post.




1 comment:

ak said...

"If you haven’t been skinny dipping, you should try it. And if you have, you know.

It’s like sex. How do you describe sex to someone who hasn’t done it? Swimming with a bathing suit on is like masturbation. It feels good, no question. But it can’t adequately prepare you for the feeling of going all the way."

That's definetly the quote of the weekend!

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