Monday, September 28, 2009

She Wasn't There This Morning

Once, maybe twice a week I see her watching me fill up my car. From the second story of her apartment building she sits in her brass-backed chair and watches everyone as they pump gas. I always look for her and I try to make eye contact with the woman. I never wave because I’m never sure she’s actually looking right at me. Although, it always feels as if this very old woman is ignoring everyone else while I’m there. She sees me scrub the bugs off my windshield. She watches as I try to convince the pump to dispense precisely 12 gallons of gas into my tank. She knows when I’m bad and duck inside the store for a doughnut and a chocolate milk.

On the mornings when she’s not in the window I worry about her. On Mondays, I think she has died and it makes me terribly sad. On Wednesdays I think she’s sick and too weak to sit up on her own. If it’s Friday or the weekend I think she’s sleeping in because she’s too old and too tired to bother watching. Regardless of the day, I never like it when I see the shiny brass back of her chair. I want her up there, in the window, prepared to call the cops if I get mugged or an ambulance if I spill gasoline on my pants and catch fire. I want her up there so I know she’s okay.

She wasn’t there this morning.

It’s Monday, so I’m pretty sure she’s dead.

UPDATE: Two people have asked if I've seen the old woman lately. Yes. The last time I filled-up she was sitting in the window and it appeared as if she had pen and paper. It might have been a crossword or maybe it was something more like, Dear Diary - The pudgy guy is getting gas again across the street. He is staring at me again. . .

Thursday, September 17, 2009

East Si-Eeed!

Deciphering the skill hierarchy of recreational badminton is simple:

The good players all congregate to the west side of the gym. The bleachers on that side of the building are where the people with serious attitudes and the best equipment rest between matches.

I sit on the east side of the gym. That’s where you’ll find the players who wear “I LOVE BEER” T-shirts and depend on the loaner racquets provided by the rec. department.

If you need more clues about which set of bleachers is for you just look at racquet manufacturers:

  • Yonex: The best players have not one, but two or more of these $150+ beauties packed in nice, thermal bags to preserve the integrity of the string tension.
  • Weird: These players can keep up with the best players, but they never quite win. Their racquets are from companies you’ve never heard of and unless you live in Malaysia; you probably never will.
  • Wilson: These are the decent players who have elevated their games beyond backyard barbecue proficiencies. Every now and again they have some really great games but the Yonex players make them look like they’re still at the barbecue.
  • Black Knight: These are okay racquets from Canada, but they’re the loaner racquets used by the program so most people with them in their hands are wearing “I LOVE BEER” T-shirts.
As for me, I’m sportin’ a $30 HEAD racquet that came all the way from a business park in Montreal. It got quite a bit of attention from the Black Knight players looking to upgrade; particularly when they found out it was only 30 bucks.

I like recreational badminton. I’ve been having fun. I depend a lot on whatever muscle memory remains from my tennis days. This actually has served me fairly well as I have been able to keep up in matches with the Yonex crowd. For the most part, though, I roll with the east side posse. We seem to smile and laugh a little more easily when we miss a shot which means there's a lot of laughing.