Woke early this Sunday morning, totally dehydrated not from what you’d guess, but because this is the driest winter we’ve had in centuries.  Even the furniture cracks during the night, along with my lips, fingers, nails and jokes.  Ours is a parched and brittle world, let me tell you…

Not in the mood for mass or church clothes, I struggle into my old racing suit and head for the health club.  No, not just in my Speedo, silly people—I also threw on a sweat suit, down jacket and some clogs.  But my attire is beside the point.

Once at the club I check in and head for my locker.  I intend to swim at least a half mile this morning so saturate my lovely locks in the shower, smother them in a precious oil my hairdresser swears will keep a mane gorgeous, then dive into the pool.  Actually, no diving is allowed as the depth is only 4 feet.  So I slither into the chilly waters using the harsh, cold metal ladder.


Once I am certain I have swum (swam?) to my limit I hoist myself out of the pool and head for the locker room.
Whoops!  Took the wrong door and caught a nude man from the rear.  Darting out of the men’s room I notice the vapid-looking lifeguard staring at me as he mutters, “I wondered why you were going through that wrong door?”

Shaking now from more than just the cool air, I opt for the whirlpool.  Turning the corner into the small room I realize there are 4 or 5 naked Japanese women lounging on the chaises surrounding the hot tub.  They stare at me as if to say—

“Why is this strange Caucasian woman in a bathing suit imposing on us this morning?”

One was cutting her toe nails, another stretching her legs, and I could not bring myself to look at the old woman in the corner doing tai chi or some type of contortion of her shriveled up body.  Oh my…

Now, having lived in Japan for 3 years during the 80s, I realize it is customary for these people to strut around nude and bathe together.

But please.

When in Rome…


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