Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

octogenarian racquetball revenge

we don't play racquetball in the mornings anymore. all because of the octogenarians.
the octogenarians are a rough bunch of knee brace wearing, coke bottle prescription goggle sporting beer-bellied old guys. the octogenarians have declared that pre 9am, the racquetball courts at the Y are, [despite the clearly marked rules on the sign-in sheets] "first come first served." try showing up earlier than some old timer who eats dinner at 5 and is in bed by 7. once the octos are in their sealed room, there's no amount of noise that will get their near-deaf attention. so, we don't play racquetball in the mornings anymore.
which is fine, because nothing makes a hangover instantly worse and persistent than being hit with a blue bouncy ball. so we started playing at lunch. lunch times are quiet [when the rest of the courts aren't being used by Y youth camp dodgeball or duck duck goose]. only problem there is you can only block off two and half hours in your schedule for so long until the boss notices you keep coming back from the "opthalmalogist" thrice a week with flushed cheeks and wet hair. some might even go so far as to think you're being someone's mistress and meeting at the Mayflower.
so that leaves evenings, which are indoor sport rush hour. to get a court in the prime time 5:30-8pm range you need to sign up for a tuesday a month from now and hope nothing comes up for you or the person you want to play with between now and then. something most often does. so when my partner and i finally managed to be free for a pre-planned no other engagements 5:15 court time you can imagine we were pretty stoked.
game 1 was close, implemented the win-by-two rule to end at 18-16. we come out for a drink at the water fountain and typical chit-chat preparing for game 2 when i notice two octogenarians stalking our door. out of the corner of my eye one of them sneaks in and the other is about to when my partner, a more imposing muscular man than myself politely intervenes.
"excuse me, but i believe we have that court reserved until 6:30"
and the octo replies, with his eyes amplified 20x by his patented googles "no you don't, WE have court 6 reserved until 6:30"
"no, i'm fairly certain WE reserved court 6 weeks ago"
"no, WE have court 6 reserved."
this goes on and on, with the volume of this altercation rising considerably, partly because of the tangible tension, but also the hearing impairment of one of the parties.
finally, both men's noses are inches apart, like a baseball coach questioning an umpire, though my teammate is clearly towering over the shrinking hunchy old guy, until finally my partner, a lawyer, pokes the geezer gently in the sternum uttering the clincher "oh yeah? well is YOUR name Shapiro??"
the man replies almost instantly "well as a matter of fact it IS!" and slams the door to court 6, locking us out of his abyss of silence.
this is an impasse, someone MUST be lying. because my name is Shapiro and I clearly wrote it inside the two boxes (it's actually against Y by-laws to sign back-to-back but I'll admit i do it anyway) from 5:15-6:45. i even put it in my phone. and my partner even verified it before coming up the stairs to play.
the attourney utters under his breath, "i am not beneath evicting those old farts" and we storm down to the main floor with a score to settle. here lies the clipboard with the day's list of reservations for racquetball and squash. and right there, next to my lefty pencil-ed Shapiro/Butler (who actually isn't a member anymore but i like to think i still play her) is a scraggly handed, wobbly arthiritic lettered all-caps SHAPIRO under court 6. sonofabitch! i guess we're on court 8.
on our way back up the stairs we declare that all court reservations be made under a pseudonym to avoid these types of conflicts in the future. so unless your name just happens to be Gretta Schmelmelstein, you better watch out!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

the D.C. countdown

*insert Europe's the final countdown laser introduction here*
after 9+ years in this wonderous capitol city, i am off to greener, nay, more sausage-y pastures in Berlin, Deutschland. for years and years and years, everyone has come and left, and me, like the horsey statue at connecticut and columbia, i just stayed.
now, German classes are underway, along with the slow pawning off of my material belongings, extra special quality time with my cat and, of course, all the things i've been meaning to do in DC but for whatever reason haven't.
so, with my few remaining months, here comes the D.C. countdown! because, in 9 years, i've never been to the newseum, haven't eaten at CityZen and i've only been to downtown alexandria...thrice?
what have you been hiding from me, DC?

the well-dressed burrito, for starters.
i was invited to lunch by a guy on the 5th floor, works in development, wears a suit. i saw him sneaking around with a brightyellow plastic bag one day and asked "what's that?" it's a well-dressed burrito.
it's in an alley. the same alley, to be exact, where the says there's a post office, but there isn't, there's just a bunch of mail trucks with surly mailmen who won't take your stamped mail no matter how nicely you ask. it's somewhere between 19th and 20th, M and N, the only noticeable markings is a mexican penguin sign and a black door. no windows. there's a counter, and half the space is someone's office.
for $6 i had tacos that were more like burritos, a full 2 pounds of food which will provide lunch for days to come. it's no super tasty taco or anything (this is more tex-mex) but i felt like i found my own little alley slice of heaven.