You know how some people are just weird? Like those people that make you wonder how they get by in everyday life? Those people that make you question Darwin’s whole thesis? Well, I am hear today to vent about one of these people.
Last night I played an epic tennis match. Let me back up. Yesterday I was in a pretty foul mood. Some of it was probably hormonal, but I was just feeling very out of sorts and cranky and, well, sad. Said bad mood led me to leave work early for some cuddly Gracie time and to pray for rain so that my tennis match would be canceled. Tennis is at 6 o’clock and last night’s match was in McFarland, which — while not exactly as far away as Malta — feels like a ridiculous place to play. The weather was threatening, but not menacing enough to justify me staying put in the bed with the pup. So off I went. As I was driving, big raindrops started to fall. They continued to fall sporadically on the whole drive over to the wee little town, but weren’t quite enough to make me feel like I could turn around. In fact, as soon as I finally found the sole tennis courts in town, the rain stopped. The skies were still gloomy, but there was no rain. Just super humid, heavy conditions. Yuck. I realized I would have to play afterall. At that point, I also realized that playing may be good for me and might help ameliorate my craptastic mood. And then I met the woman against whom I would play for the next two-plus hours. A total weirdo.
Now, in hindsight, it was probably good that she was so weird. In my bad-mood-state, I should have appreciated that I didn’t have to do a lot of small talk and smiley stuff given that she was too weird to engage in such socially expected behavior. At the time, though, this fueled my bad mood as I became increasingly irritated with her. What am I talking about, you ask? Give me examples, you say. Ok, ok. I’ll try. But when I tried to explain it to Aaron, I failed rather miserably. Maybe in writing I’ll have better luck.
We pick our court and pretty much the first thing she says to me — no pleasantries, though she had already admitted that she’d forgotten my name — is, “Do you have scorecards?” Um, no, I don’t. There are people who carry their own scorecards and, frankly, I think they’re a little weird. For those of you who dont know, scorecards are exactly what they sound like. They’re plastic numbers on rings that you hang over the net and flip them when you switch sides to reflect the game score. They’re cool in high school when you want to see how everyone’s doing, but as an adult they strike me as pretentious and unnecessary. And, if you want to use them, fine, but I’m not bringing them. Ok, that was a long-winded story, but my point is just that she started out weird and it didn’t get any better.
She would never say, “Thank you” when I tossed her a ball, she would never smile between games on the changeover, she never asked me a single question about myself, etc. Now, you’re probably thinking, maybe she was really focused and in her zone and didn’t have time for pleasantries. Maybe. But she was also kind of an idiot when it came to tennis. She played ok, but she had no tennis etiquette or no, I don’t know how to say it, tennis practicality. In tennis, when you are not say, Serena Williams, you have to carry the balls with you in your pocket. You don’t have a ball boy or girl to assist you. Because you get two serves, the server carries one ball in her pocket and serves the other ball. Should the first serve be out, the server reaches into her pocket and retrieves the second ball. This is not a rule, but it is pretty much what every player in the universe does. Because there are three balls, it is common practice for the non-server to hold that ball in her pocket. Some servers like to have all three balls with them, but that’s pretty uncommon. What’s my point? This lady would make me take all three balls every time I served. She never offered to hold one and didn’t seem amenable to doing so. Ok, that’s weird, but it’s more just insensitive and out of touch. What’s weirder, though, is that throughout the match, when I was serving, she would then keep the balls. Not just one, but two. Say, it’s 30-love and I’m serving. There are two balls on her side of the court so I have just one. She would go and retrieve those two balls, put them both in her pocket, stand behind the service line and wait for me to serve. I would then say, “Could I have a ball, please?” And she would then reach into her pocket, take out a ball and hit it to me — without saying anything. This did not just happen once. This happened over and over. And over. And over! There was absolutely no learning curve. And we had a loooooooooooooong match. [I won, but it was 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3.] There was plenty of opportunity for her to catch on to the notion that I wanted to have two balls handy when I was serving, but she just refused to do so.
Anyway, I realize this is probably not capturing my supreme frustration with her. Well, maybe it is, but I fear it’s not reflecting how severely odd this woman was. She just had zero social skills, I suppose. I should probably feel some sympathy for her, but instead I just wanted to smack her on the head with my racquet.