Playing it cool down by the pool

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

The bad part of apartment life is losing potential home equity while sharing a wall with people who dress plastic animals on their front porch for the holidays and have an obnoxious dog.

The good part -- especially for the home repair challenged -- is enjoying a working home and all the amenities with no more effort than scribbling out a check each month. That's the part I'm enjoying while it lasts, before the lease runs out and we become real grown-ups with a real house payment.

One of my favorite things about living here is the pool right outside our window. Yes, I feel like a troll when I go down there because of all the tan, fit beauties sunning themselves. But instead of going to live under a bridge and eat small children, I swallow my pride, claim a chaise lounge and spread out my towel. I try to ignore the bikini-clad ladies and buff fellows on all sides and read a good book.

I was doing that over the weekend when -- holy guacamole -- the hottest guy on the pool deck came walking up to me. Me! He was wearing nothing but red swimming trunks and a smile. Did he want to talk about the book I was reading? Was he into Rubenesque ladies? I was looking pretty hot in my golf visor and one piece, skirtless bathing suit - my thighs displayed to the world.

"Excuse me," the gorgeous man said. "But I've locked my keys in the gym over there. Do you have your gym key with you?" I distinctly remembered the complex manager handing me a key three months ago and saying, "This is to the gym. You can work out any time you want." I added it to my key ring and never touched it again.

A quick thinker would have told Mr. Hot Buns, "Sorry. I put the key back in my apartment after my workout today." But I handed him all of my keys and said, "I know it's one of those, but I don't know which one." He flashed his snowy white teeth and deftly picked one out. "It's this one. I'll be right back." I wanted to die. He returned with my keys, thanked me and was out of my life forever. I pretended to be completely engaged in my book. Thank heavens I didn't follow my instincts and stammer, "Heh, heh ... the reason I didn't recognize the key is because I've got a recumbent bike in my apartment. I ride it for 20 minutes or so in the mornings while reading the paper and watching 'Buffy' in syndication. Woooo, doggie! Is that a killer workout or what?" Hey, I'm a happily married woman, but everyone can appreciate an attractive member of the opposite sex.

If Mr. Hot Buns is going to be in that gym, maybe I'll climb onto the Stairmaster once in awhile myself.

I hope I don't embarrass myself by passing out.

Heidi Hall is a former managing editor of the Southeast Missourian who now lives in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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