Going To the YMCA Bears Fruit Yet Again; Revisiting (in Words) Vancouver; A Volunteer Experience Compared; A Walk to the Y; Happier Than a Pig in Shit; Repercussion Defined

I awoke to the most touching email, sent by a staff member at the Presidio YMCA, my new ‘home’, my new oasis. . My first visit was Saturday, my activities included a water aerobics class and a soak in the jacuzzi. It was sheer heaven. This Monday morning an email arrived:

She:” I love your positive attitude and your charm. I can see why you have been successful in life–you are a good role model.Keep up the good exercise work and you will improve–the body is amazingly resilient.”

One cannot imagine the elation felt upon reading this. What a wonderful surprise and something that was so welcome – it followed a peaceful sleep unmarred by the pain that had been experienced most nights post surgery. Of course, I emailed back.

Me: My goodness – what a gift you gave me this morning. Opening this email which contains sentiments and praise that is everything I could have ever wished and dreamed for. Needless to say, you made my day. I shall blog it in a couple of days. I did blog our conversation about jealousy – did some extra research. Thank you so much for reaching out to me and for sharing the same viewpoints and attitudes. It is you and I against the world. Hahaha. I have physical therapy just down the road this morning – I might drop in and say HI. Affectionately, Alexis

The next task of the morning was to read my blog, diligently posted by Computer Guru Chris. Lo and behold the wisdoms on jealousy were right there – so I absolutely had to send my new found friend another email.

Me: I just opened my blog of the morning and found our conversation about jealousy. So it is there – just go to AlexisMcBride.com. It was such a fruitful conversation and I could not have had it alone – that would have been talking to myself. Hahaha, Alexis

This is fundamentally fascinating to the point of being almost unbelievable. I graduated from the University of Alberta in 1964 – my first job was working at the Edmonton YWCA. Then during my recent sojourn in Vancouver I discovered the Hornby Street YWCA – it became my oasis. I loved the water aerobics classes and my trainer Ayada. Here I am in San Francisco happier than a pig in shit at the Presidio YMCA. Things are working out, that is for sure.

What about that phrase – happier than a pig in shit (or mud). “ It just means very happy. It’s often used to convey serene, contended happiness rather than excited happiness. As in: Sophie sat in her high chair with ice cream dribbling down her chin, happy as a pig in mud.

Or: With her favourite book on her lap and a coffee on the table next to her, Laura was as happy as a pig in mud.

It comes from the fact that pigs wallow in mud and seem to be very contented when doing so. (They actually do it to cool down if there is no water available.)”

Faithful readers will know that when I landed in Vancouver I had a difficult time finding an apartment, therefore, becoming the first long term guest in the Trump International Hotel and Tower on West Georgia Street. There is no doubt that it fundamentally changed my life – in so many ways. That experience, for many collected reasons, alienated me from the Dryburgh family and many old friends. What would have happened, if instead, I would have made my residence at the Vancouver YWCA during those first few months. My life would have been entirely different. Occasionally ( and often,) one makes a choice that has profound repercussions. The choice that I made to live at the Trump was one – one that almost cost me my life. But not, because here I am in San Francisco, living in Hayes Valley and going to the Presidio YMCA.

What is a repercussion? An unintended consequence of an event or action, especially an unwelcome one: the move would have grave repercussions for the entire region. Its synonyms are: consequence, result, effect, outcome, by-product; reverberation, backlash, ripple, shock wave; aftermath, footprint, fallout.

So all of the things that happened in my life following the fateful decision of April ,,were a by-product i a consequence, an outcome and a reverberation of deciding to say at the Trump . It is something that cannot be taken back I did manage to escape, nut just the Trump International Hotel and Tower but also Vancouver., British Columbia, Canada but I carry the after effects with me.

But there are good effects, not all bad. I so appreciate San Francisco now – I would not have, but for Vancouver. I would like living in San Francisco but not love it. Everything here works better and more efficiently and with greater humanity. Here is an example. I decide that I wanted to integrate into the community, to meet people with whom I have something in common. So I volunteered to work at the Asian Art Museum. I immediately got an answer and am scheduled for my first session early next week. It is an incredibly interesting museum, alive and renovated. Not like the Vancouver Art Gallery. I volunteered to work there when living in Vancouver and it was a horrendous experience. There was little or no follow up by the Volunteer Coordinator – who still works there. Now the director does not, but the Volunteer Coordinator does, and in my humble opinion, does a horrible job. The school program is so poorly run, the children’s noise interfere with all patrons’s enjoyment of the art gallery. The volunteers who work with the school program speak with disdain about the volunteer coordinator. I also volunteered to work with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. That volunteer coordinator said I had to wait for months for the ‘season’ to begin and then never contacted me. She apparently is no longer working there so I guess that is good news. But I do not live in Vancouver any more and I am certainly not going to commute to volunteer there.

I do admit to liking the YWCA in Vancouver but it is nothing compared to the Presidio YMCA. I went to the jacuzzi yesterday after physical therapy and calmly felt the soothing waters. I looked about me – it was peaceful. The pool was occupied by swimmers but it was relaxing and bright and the people were positive and caring. There is a smaller heated pool for people who are infirm and for kids. It is a friendly setting. There was so much underlying tension in Vancouver and it was mismanaged – so said the workers. Volunteers staffed the water aerobics classes and they were very good – all of them. But there was not the same continuity that a staff person brings. Already the staff knew my name in San Francisco. The women in the women’s locker room speak of belonging for twenty years when the dues were less than ten dollars. So there is history and continuity but they still are welcoming to new comers.

Here at the Asian Art Museum an immediate and enthusiastic response. I have already met some of the volunteers when I attended a special exhibit – the one on tattoos. They were so helpful and enthusiastic and were happy that I was thinking of volunteering. Of course I had to wait until I had recovered from knee replacement surgery. It may be premature but I am sure that they will let me sit down if my knee starts to hurt.

When I was in London I was able to volunteer at the National Theatre. Holy Cow was that ever an honour but my student visa expired and there was no way I could stay in London. I would have just loved to be there – even though it was a rather unimportant job. I would have worked myself up with my enthusiasm and positive attitude. But Instead I went to live in Vancouver, I was, in a way, forced to do that. But I survived Vancouver. One of my very favourite personal play reviewers said:

He: the theatre at present( national and old vic) seem to be a little limited. hansard received a crushing review , though anything to do with parliament at present seems fated to crumble to ashes in your hands.

Me: Why do I always forget how funny you are!!! And I can quote you on my blog – could not that other guy, for various reasons.

Two photographs from yesterday. One of me at the ice machine at Presidio Sports Medicine and the other on the walk to the YMCA. The later had this caption:

Me: Walking with my walker from Presidio Sports Medicine to the YMCA for a a jacuzzi . A beautiful sight, a beautiful life. I am blessed.

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