I am trying to come up with a theme for a regularly-scheduled blog post.My friend Kristy does “Six Word Sundays,” and I like that, but my camera’s acting hinky these days.Derek suggested “Derek’s Dumb Ideas,” where he sends me six words or less, and I write an index-card sized story on that.His first submission, “Calculus textbook discarded on the sidewalk.”I may yet do that.Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I was thinking Wednesday would be a good day for a WTF, or wacky blurb, or general wackiness.It started with me asking myself “What the f—k did I just do?”

To answer: I just registered for the 17th Annual Sharkfest.(I picked this particular Alcatraz swim event solely because I like the title.Talk about bragging rights!)I’m now scheduled to jump off a ferry by Alcatraz and swim to shore.On August 15, 2009, if all goes according to plan, I will plunge into the cold waters of the bay, and swim to Aquatic Park without flippers, fins, or a motor.And I paid for the privilege.

C’mon, do it with me. http://www.athleteslounge.com/events/event.php?eventid=2551

If your answer to that is “I don’t even like swimming in my own bathtub,” I invite you to come cheer me on. Granted I won’t hear you while I swim a mile away, but I will love seeing you as I emerge from the water quite possibly cranky and most definitely cold.

Does this mean that I’m now a swimming stud? that water polo’s a breeze? that I’m a skinny fish?Not so much!But maybe this will help.Here’s to hoping.

(P.S. – You may not root for the sharks!)


This weekend, in Santa Cruz, a guy on the street waved and said “hi.”  When I waved back and smiled, he said, “You have a very nice smile.”  I mumbled thanks, and kept walking.  Later I walked by again, and noticed he was panhandling with the line, “Got forty-thousand for yacht repairs?”  The next day, a different and much more distinctly homeless man smiled and winked at me.I kept walking.That’s what I always do, or try to do – keep walking.

I started thinking about all the times that my chaos-attraction has led random men to make unsolicited comments. Here are all that I can remember right now:

  • “May I please kiss your feet?” He asked politely, so I politely declined and kept walking, that time to my final job interview.
  • “Where have you been, and will you marry me?”  He was lying on the street.
  • “Ay.Buenas tetas.”He was ancient, possibly walking with a cane.
  • “I like my women like you…all big & healthy, mmmm….and all that backyard.”
  • “Ooh, just look at that shake, that’s how I like it.”

But my favorite of all time was not leery or disgusting at all.The man wasn’t degrading me or trying to bolster himself.You know how there are people in your neighborhood who you recognize but don’t actually know?(Cue Mr. Rogers theme song.)There was a man like that when I lived in Madrid.He was on his way to work every day while I was on my way to school.He was at least twice my age, a businessman, a respectable señor.We probably nodded “Buenos días” to each other, but that was the extent of our acquaintance.Then one morning as I made my way to the Metro, he turned to me and said, “You look very nice today.”It was a simple compliment, for no reason.Still, to this day, some twenty years later, it makes me smile.That’s the power of a compliment.