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Played tennis with Ben Friday night at NUS. There was a group of five at the court adjacent to ours - four guys and a girl. All the guys could play. The girl just stood there. Sometimes she stood at the baseline; other times she had her back against the fence.
Ben commented, "That girl's damn poor thing. Must be one of the guys' girlfriends."
I thought, "I'm quite glad that's not me."
I discovered a few things:
i) It's really, REALLY hard to play tennis;
ii) It's REALLY hard to hit a proper backhand when you're too fucking slow to get to the ball;
iii) It's impossible to get your timing right when your footwork doesn't exist; and
iv) My arms know what to do; my brain knows what to do; my body knows what to do. The problem is, they don't always remember.
It was only towards the end of the session, minutes before they turned off the lights, that things started to click. Balls off my forehand side started to land in; hitting a forehand started to feel right; and I could hit a few proper/good ones in a row.
But of course, luck would have it that the minute things started clicking, they decided to turn off the lights.
Saturday morning was a bit worse. I can't deal with the heat. I can't deal with the lack of sleep. I can't deal with the sun - a tiny part of the back of my neck is a bit sunburnt, which is conjecture on my part based on the fact that it hurts when I scratch the area. I had to take many breaks, while on Friday evening I took a grand total of 1 break.
Still, my flat-as-my-chest backhand is something to be reckoned with - when I'm not unleashing it unthinkingly, like a retard, from the baseline. The session ended with a super nice shot off the backhand that I was very pleased with, and it was so flat that it could've gone either way. The topspin is only possible if I have time to prepare; but because I'm slow, that's hardly ever the case.
I need to sort this out. All these things that aren't quite right. It annoys me that I can't do them properly.
Also, I've decided to buy a new racquet in March (when I next get my pay). The current one has served its purpose. There's too much power coming off the racquet; it's time to get a bit more control. NUS Wall Guy suggested restringing the racquet and making it tighter but I'd rather just get a new one. Anyway, it's time I got rid of the fucking oversized beginner's racquet, I think. I attempted to read up on the technical aspects of choosing racquets and all went well until they started talking about stringbeds and string patterns and whatever.
My vibration dampener fell off at one point, and I only noticed when I noticed that it sounded different when I hit the ball. It sounded hollow, empty, when usually there is a very distinct and full pop sound. That was when I looked at my racquet and noticed that the dampener fell off. NOW I understand why I produced the same hollow sound when I tried out Wei Chuen's racquet the last time we played (head size was fine; the deteriorating grip...not so much. I'm used to my overgrip), as well as NUS Wall Guy's spare racquet a long time ago.
I pulled a Roger though - played a stupid drop shot from the baseline that obviously didn't make it over the net. Well, I didn't intend a drop shot; I went for the forehand slice. But because I suck, it turned out to be a drop shot; and because not even the GOAT himself can play a drop shot from the baseline, it landed quietly near the net, much to my annoyance and chagrin.
Yes, it pisses me off majorly when the fucking ball is just sitting there, waiting to be whacked, and I try to whack it and I miss it. It's like Murray's missed forehand on set point in the AO final - textbook forehand with an open court, a weak return, the ball floating in mid-air, begging to be struck. Instead of a clean winner, he hit it into the net.
THAT REALLY BLOODY SUCKS. THAT REALLY BLOODY PISSES ME OFF. It's even worse when I completely mis-hit it, completely frame it. I mean, really. What the hell?
And I STILL can't do the defensive forehand slice thing Roger does when he's pushed out wide by his opponent and he's trying to get the ball back in play. Every single time I tried I ended up chopping the ball with the racquet frame. Very helpful, self.
If it's not obvious enough, I love tennis - watching and playing, and reading, and talking about it, and writing about it. Tennis keeps me sane when nothing else does. I love tennis.
2. Goal to lose weight
Fucking swam today, booyah, despite my laziness. I'm totally gonna do this.
And apparently I gained 1.5 kilos, not 2, after all. WHATEVER IT IS, IT IS EXTRA WEIGHT THAT I DON'T FUCKING WANT SO IT'S BYE-BYE FATS ASAP.
3. Psycho bitch girlfriend
It's official: Never let me drive when I'm in the middle of an argument.
I stopped the car halfway in the middle of the road. Jammed on the brakes. When the light turned green, I gunned the accelerator so hard that Wei Chuen grabbed my hand and yelled, "Fuck, there's a car in front!"
May I state first that yes, I saw the car; and yes, I would not have crashed into the fucking car, despite my then state of mind, despite the fact that I was screaming and crying.
But it's not a good idea to put me in the driver's seat when I'm emotionally unstable because I really don't give a shit, in the moment, whether I crash into something or not. Sometimes I even want to, just to validate and justify whatever the hell it is that is bothering me in the moment.
I'm not a happy person. I'm a sad person. I've lost count of the number of times I've cried and driven at the same time. And yet, I've never got into an accident even once; because even though a part of me thinks she doesn't care, the rest of the sad person knows better. The rest of the sad person is still safe in her recklessness.
Having a passenger in my car is more a liability than anything; it means I can't drive the way I usually do. And trust me, no one would want a ride in my car if they had first-hand experience of how I normally drive. I get a kick out of not slowing down when I'm turning, and I u-turn whenever it's convenient for me. Above all else, I like speed. Even when I'm rushing to nothing, I'm rushing, because I like the way it feels when I'm in total control of a car that's cruising at 100 km/h.
Screaming and driving, though? Not so great a combination.
I feel burdened by the profession; now I feel burdened by it in more ways than one. It's a love-hate relationship, and I don't know how to reconcile it. I view it in a certain way - a noble way, as a service to the public, to help people. But the reality does not compute with the idea of it I have in my head. Commercial conflict of interests - where have I heard this before? I've heard this a million times. But is that the way it should be? Is that what lawyers are paid to do? Is that what we're supposed to be? I don't think so. I think we're supposed to be like the lawyers in Pakistan; the lawyers in Malaysia; the lawyers, unreported, that stand up for what they believe in, who use their knowledge - their specialised, even privileged, knowledge - to help people. People, not institutions; the man on the street, not the CEO sitting in an air-conditioned office.
There is nothing wrong with the latter. I realise that the latter scenarios are what pay the bills. But I'm essentially an idealist at heart. I can't let go of my romantic notions of what this profession that I reluctantly entered is supposed to be. And the wider the gap between my perception and reality, the more disllusioned I'd be, the less interested I'd be. It's already happening, and yet, when it's pointed out to me point-blank that the profession isn't what I think it is, I get offended, I get defensive.
It's a love-hate relationship. I don't know what to do with it; simultaneously, I don't know what to do without it.
It shouldn't be a divisive wedge between us. Sometimes, though, I feel, however slightly, that it is. I felt that in spades last night. It's ironic that the views that I said kept me grounded are now views that seem to accentuate even more the differences between us.
But maybe it's all moot. I never wanted this. I don't know what I want, but I know I never wanted this.
But it's been five years. Five long, sometimes tedious, years. How do you put it all behind? No matter how tough, how difficult, how much you feel like quitting, the world is so fucking scary without the backing of the profession. It's a cocoon that's led me to believe everything will be all right; it's a lullaby that puts me to sleep, and aptly so, for when I wake up, I'm not sure I'd be sure if I want to.
I can't explain adequately how the profession gets under your skin, infiltrates into your bloodstream, becomes a part of you. You can't cut it off, no matter how valiant your attempts. What is your Plan B? When your Plan A assures you of so much, do you even stop to think of an alternative? You can't understand it if you're not in it - the amount of courage it takes to break the bond. The amount of guts and conviction it takes to put your foot down and say firmly, definitively, This is not what I want. The herd mentality makes it harder. And the fact that it's your life makes it more confusing.
The choice I made in 2005 is still one that I grapple and wrestle with every now and then. I always wonder if I would've done the same thing if I had the chance to do it all over again, knowing what I know now. The answer is never the same. The answer depends on my mood.
What kind of stupid retarded moron am I?
In any event, you still find it instinctive to defend your own kind, no matter how much you don't care for them.
We're all full of contradictions. My ex called it my "internal conflicts". But I've realised now there's nothing wrong with being confused, because things are rarely black and white. I tend to see things in black and white, in right or wrong; but when it comes to this, the confusion, apart from being nothing new, is justified. It's wholly understandable.
I hang on to it, subconsciously, because of its inherent goodness.
But what is the point if it's not always the way it ought to be?
I'm just really tired now. Really tired.