Archive for July, 2010

July 27, 2010


Dan doesn’t get mad if he misses a shot or double-faults. With the same mess-up, Hayden has thrown his racket and cursed himself. I fall somewhere in between. I like to blurt out, “Bastard,” in a quiet, English accent when I miss a shot. I did note when playing last night that my blurting out, “Bastard!” is ironic, given that I am playing against my own son.

Still, “Bastard!” Hayden really does have a nice little drop shot that he inherited from his dad. And what do I have? I have tenacity. The more I play, the better I get. Dan is really good overall. I think he’s taking a class in Zen Tennis. He has the mind game and the real game down. He’s unflappable, consistent.

There is something totally satisfying about the Thwack of hitting a ball. Something very healing about whacking at a ball flying through space. The sound, the feel, the shudder. I am not great at golf or softball, other thwacking-type sports. I just like being outdoors. And as I’ve mentioned on this blog, I love the bonding of playing sports, doing yoga, or running with friends. Only the camaraderie of Happy Hour comes close.

A few of my work friends and I occasionally find a cheap place for Happy Hour beers on payday. I like that part of work — the socializing part after work. (Okay, I also like the socializing part AT work.) But working out with friends is really, really fun.

You learn a lot about people playing against (or with) them in sports. The biggest surprise? How good the IT people are at tennis — Fred and Cynthia, for example — are really athletic. And you don’t always equate computer nerd with jock.

Becoming a grown-up teaches you that people are not simply the high school labels we might impose upon them. People are complex. It shows through in their game.

July 15, 2010

Damn You, Gary Fisher!

My Ross is jealous of the teal fleece-basketed hottie in the basement. In its day, my bike was boss. A 10-speed from like 30 years ago, it still goes far and fast. Ann Craig gave me the bike like 15 years ago; she’d bought it for five dollars at a yard sale in the country.

About 10 years ago, a bike shop (the one on Columbus and 81st — do NOT go there) refused to replace an inner tube on my Ross because they deemed it “unsafe.” That hurt my Ross’s feelings. Sure, only five of the 10 speeds work and sure, there’s a huge rust spot on the frame, which makes me think that one day, before my time, it was hit by a car.

But it’s not unsafe; please don’t say that. My Ross is sensitive. And so am I. The two of us never fell so in love with another bike as when we pulled into the basement last week and there was that teal Gary Fisher, standing in a beam of light. We heard a chorus of angels sing; she stood proud like a mannequin. It’s true, I fell for her too. She appears to be partnered with a red boy’s bike, also gleaming, shining, new, unridden. That cute couple, they have it all, holding court in the bike storage area of my basement.

I think the only time I ever got a new bike was when I saved up my babysitting money and got myself a dark blue Schwinn. I was 13. All of my NYC bikes, and I’ve had four or five, have been used. I used to buy them at Union Square. The last one was a Schwinn. It was stolen right outside of Marble Collegiate Church, one summer night when I was at a women’s spirituality group. Getting a bike stolen can bum your spiritual high. But my Ross has never been stolen.

The Gary Fisher looks like it’s never been any where. She looks like a bored housewife. I could take her places. But I have to take my Ross and head to work.

Damn you, you adorable bike! Why’d you have to be so cute and make me and my Ross feel so bad? You’re a girl bike and I ride a boy bike, so you can see, I am feeling a little curious by my new attraction. And so is my Ross. Honestly, I’ve always liked boy bikes. I still do. That Gary Fisher girl bike is just so sweet.

Yesterday, when I hopped on my Ross to head up Riverside, his pedal came off under my left foot. I pushed it back on, grease on my fingers. It was raining a little. My Ross has no fender. As I rode up to work, my bum got wet. Besides, I was wearing a floor length skirt that I had to knot up around my thigh. I’m either tying my long skirts up on that bike, or sliding my short skirts lower. I just felt miserable. A boy bike is not optimal when you wear a lot of skirts.

I think  the Gary Fisher has defeated my Ross. Why did she have to show up in the basement? So hot and so cool. Damn you, Gary Fisher! But look at her, isn’t she sweet? 

July 13, 2010

The Gang on the Path

I ran in Albany. I was worried, not because of the heat, but because of the unpopulated nature of the Hudson River walk. A runner had recently been attacked along my route in Riverside Park. Yes, Albany is not New York City (in fact it’s probably more crime-ridden), but I did wonder if it was such a good idea to run alone.

But this walkway/runway is historic American-a. I loved running along the Mississippi River in St. Louis. And I wanted to run along the Hudson in Albany, right where the Erie Canal, that awesome American achievement, begins (or ends?).

I just love running beside a rivers that runs.

I was right to be afraid. Fifteen minutes into my run, there was a gang on the path. About eight of them. They were bored. They were mischievous. They seemed to be daring me to cross their little standing-around party. I hesitated. I took out one of my ear buds in case they started squawking. Or pecking. But they didn’t do a thing. I ran around the big one who stood in the middle, unwilling to move. I was so glad to pass them without an incident.

Those Canadian Geese can be very scary. I wanted to take a picture of the geese to post on this blog to show you just how scary this little gang was. But I’ll admit it, I just wanted to run away from them. You’ll have to take my word for it.