I’m spending much of my off-court time in the Caribbean. The water is Bomb-Pop blue, with morgue-ish sand underneath. In the evenings, fish appear at the water’s edge, as though evolution is happening right in front of the two hundred drunk and slack-jawed tourists reclining on plastic lounge chairs and slurring words about the sunset’s beauty. Saying things like “it looks like someone vomited on the horizon” will generate spiteful glares.
This morning, however, I am on-court, standing twenty feet behind my protégé, wondering why her forehand is missing by two yards as she contends against a male players whose hitting partner apparently couldn’t overcome last night’s drinking binge. A moment later I watch as her racket sails into the side fence, followed by a primal scream, immediately followed by a Jurassic response from something avian in the nearby jungle. Last time I saw eyes spring that wide was during Tiananmen. Some of the players mentioned a problem with the stringer – professional events have a racket stringer on site, and more often than not, the machines at one place are very different from another, meaning the players have to have one racket strung and then calibrate against the norm. It’s a bit like leaning back in a chair trying to find the point where it’s about to fall, often with the same painful consequences. At this event, the string tensions run about 15 lbs. lower than usual. Imagine shooting a spit-wad at people and then shooting a bazooka at them from 400 yards, and you’ll get the variance. The point is, we need to go get a new string job and then hit the courts again later this afternoon.
Earlier in the week, I suggested the level of tennis here is weak. Now, as the quarterfinals beckons, I’m seeing glimpses of talent. Serves now have better aim than the men’s room participants, and no one is threatening low-flying birds with their forehands. Technique has gone from printing to cursive, and somewhere in the midst of all that prior three-legged-pregnant-yak-movement, athletes have a found a will to run. Then again, those left in the tournament are probably destined for the next level. After all, the life span of an unsuccessful Futures player rivals the fruit fly (40-50 days so skip the Google search you were about to do). After a quick trip to Tulum tomorrow, I’ll probably return to catch some of the action.
On a lighter note, Lupita knocked on my door this morning – she’s the chambermaid who I’m certain has been avoiding me due to my insecurities about the hotel towel code (See yesterday’s blog if you want the story). We had a frank and productive discussion about the “hung versus floor” cipher and Lupita kindly agreed that she’d provide me with a few more linens this evening. I feel like a very important bridge has been crossed.
I’m not really sure whether something was lost in the translation or if Lupita has a little crush on me, but when I returned to my hotel room, there was a cot, five pillows, three extra bed-sheets, and a stack of washcloths high enough to remove excess ceiling dirt. I know Lupita did her best and I’ll relay that to management on the tourist’s survey card tucked neatly beneath the pillows on my new cot. However, it would have been nice to get some fucking towels.
New word of the day: Morejito (def) what you order when chambermaids wreck your confidence in humanity