The sky is the color of old nickels today and one can actually smell the impending storm. But rain doesn’t impend down here. I’ve heard tales of monsoons, of water appearing quickly from the sky, and of cats and dogs. At the moment, however, heaven has unleashed – from four drops to four gallons, in three seconds flat.
This is not rain, so much as the ocean falling from the sky. Picture your swimming pool dumped into your closet and you’ll get a feel for it – not to mention thunder that you feel in your private parts and lightning strikes strong enough to make me wonder whether North Korea might be involved.
New word of the day: Thundervolt (def) the hyper-charged cloud-level explosion that knocks out power and shakes a hotel to its bowels
At tournaments, rain creates an athletic waterhole. Players from all nations gather around lunchroom tables to play cards, to teach each other profanity in their native language, and to explore each other, culturally. This is perspective at its finest, allowing young, ambitious competitors a few free moments to bond and to empathize with adversaries – so often we limit ourselves to the prism of our own experience. Few things hold more reason for cause celebre than listening to adolescents come away from cultural interaction with a new understanding of humanity. Alas, excuse my pedagogical rant, but these moments just tickle my inner Elmo.
Eventually, Jurassic birdcalls echo in a return of the sun and the players finish their bananas and drop to the floor for stretches. Moments later, the clouds, like wet wool, roll in. All day, the weather pattern continues while professional athletes nibble down coaster-sized meals and perform mental preparation exercises in ways that make the whole pre-match player lounge feel like a Nepalese monastery. At 6:00 p.m., the director cancels play for the day and there’s a mad rush for the gym. These players are addicted to the endorphin rush, and even one afternoon without stimulating the adrenals can cause a “my-feet-aren’t-moving” hangover. Legs leap, arms curl, chests puff, and backs bend. There is much flirting.
Not much to report today so here’s a description of the hotel room:
From end to end, the bed is 150% of a grown man’s height with strangely inconsistent thread counts that lie somewhere between 3 and 3,000, and tease one with the possibility of a good night’s sleep. On the plus side, the toilet seat here causes narcolepsy. Caribbean waves are small and the shower’s water pressure matches the sea’s force. It’s a bit like someone dipping fingers into a glass of water and flicking it at you. Were it not for the deluge outside, between the tennis and sweating, we’d probably be thrown out of here on account of malodor. Ensuring they maintain their bite-to-death-ratio lead, at least three mosquitoes sleep with me each night – current score Mosquitoes-23 Me-2! Finally, there is a refrigerator with several sugary drinks and five water bottles, which, when emptied and left on the floor, apparently enrages the chambermaid, who has made it a point to leave them on my nightstand with an arrow pointing toward the trashcan saying “Basura!” To this end, I’m convinced my towels haven’t seen a washer yet this week.
Tomorrow: More Rain and Maybe Some Tennis