Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I PRETTY MUCH HAD eight cups of coffee this morning. More on that later, but for now I offer that tidbit by way of explanation as I introduce a particularly nasty installment of "What Is Wrong With People?"

10:41 a.m.: I hear a talk-radio caller refer to the 41st president of the United States as "George W. Bush Sr."

11:47 a.m.: On the way to my weekly tennis clinic, I'm at a particularly nasty suburban intersection near where Interstate 66 meets the Beltway. I'm waiting and waiting and waiting for a left-turn arrow. Two cars are in front of me. The arrow finally comes, and the self-important fuck who's first in line does one of those "I am safer than thou: One miz-sippi, two miz-sippi, three miz-sippi ..." things. He finally goes, just as the arrow is turning yellow. The old biddy behind him does one of those "I am safer than thou: One car length, two car lengths, three car lengths ..." things.

I do one of those "I don't care if I have to pass you within the same lane, lady, I am not waiting 10 more minutes for the next goddamn arrow" things.

1:04 p.m.: After the clinic, I'm packing up my way-too-big-for-my-ability-level Yonex bag on a bench next to one of the instructors, a nice guy but not exactly, um, un-humorless. He looks like our UPS man. Two college girls take the court and start smacking the ball back and forth with effortless grace. Compared with me and the others in the clinic, they might as well be a young Monica Seles and a contemporary Maria Sharapova. Each shot is at least as swift and true as that one particularly nasty Marat Safin look-alike two-handed backhand I managed today. They're obviously varsity players, and good ones.

"Man, they're even better than us," I say, with what to most people would be obvious sarcasm.

"Well, they wouldn't beat me," humorless UPS tennis guy says.

"I mean us students," I say.

"You shouldn't talk like that! You need to be positive! Believe you could beat anybody when you're out on the court!"

You'd think I'd have learned my lesson, but I interrupt with some false bravado: "Oh, I could beat them, with my drop shots and lobs -- but they're better, technically."

He gives me the "Are you nuts?" look. (What do you want from me, humorless UPS tennis guy? Make up your mind!)*

1:12 p.m.: There's also a stupid little bookkeeping matter that HUPSTG has dragged me into, but I won't bore you with that part.

1:20 p.m.: As in every locker room I use, I'm the only man who thinks of using one of the eponymous "lockers" that these rooms contain. The others just pile their (particularly nasty) clothes and shoes and equipment on the floor while they shower. I suppose this says unfortunate things about my manhood, what with the idea of hanging-out-there vs. tucked-inside. Whatever. What is wrong with people?

1:49 p.m.: As I wait for my carryout order at my favorite local taqueria (tres tacos -- puerco, cabrito y lengua! yuca con chicharron!), the doofus behind me buys a canned beverage and does the tapping-on-the-top thing before opening it. If you think this ritual keeps the carbonated contents from bubbling up on you, you're an idiot. The carbon dioxide doesn't "know" you're "asking" it to stay down. Agitation in any direction is still agitation. Your tapping may not be enough agitation to cause a foam-up, but it sure as hell won't prevent one.

2:28 p.m.: There's a traffic light a block ahead of the street on which I make my last turn on the way home. Nobody in the history of driving is ever polite to anyone anywhere else, but people on this stretch of Sixth Street SE, Washington, DC 20003, invariably stop short of the street I want to turn on, just in case somebody is driving by and needs to get through. Never mind being polite to me and getting the hell out of my way so I can go home.

2:32 p.m.: I get home. The tacos are bueno.

OH, THE COFFEE. So, the Senseo machine makes a passable version of coffee if I use two of the dark-roast pods per tiny cup. I have a lot of pods to use up, but they're going to go pretty fast if this keeps up: Two pods times two equals four pods per normal mug of coffee. If I want two mugs, that means the equivalent of eight of the intended servings. I had two mugs this morning, in between George W. Bush Sr. and one miz-sippi, two miz-sippi.

Another little cup would taste pretty good after the tres tacos, but ... am I nuts?


*I actually do think I would stand an outside chance of beating them, if I got into shape and my drop shots and lobs were particularly nasty that day.

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