Man do I miss my car. I'm quite exhausted from all this bussing and walking. Yesterday I saw my counsellor in Albany (how many buses did I take in total? Five?) for some Gestalt therapy which is a new one on me. Basically I pretended to be myself at the age of ten or eleven talking about my lack of friends, then I took on the role of an adult talking to this young boy. Our session was taped.
I managed to upset my mum on Sunday night. She said to me, "had a busy day? No." I told her to please stop saying that. She's been doing this for some time, asking me if I've done something and then saying "no" immediately afterwards. "Did you apply for that job? No." "Did you phone Dave? No." She always fears the worst for me, expects the worst. "I don't know what you'll do when you get back from the UK. I doubt you'll get a job, and you'll be paying all that money in rent. And don't go out and buy another car because it'll only get nicked again..." Dad is just as pessimistic but at least I can have a reasoned argument with him. With Mum, I'd obviously upset her and I felt very bad about this, but it was no use trying to rectify the situation. She just totally shut down. A lot of the problem here is that my parents phone me every day. I know it's because they love me and worry about me, but I find these daily 9pm phone calls put unnecessary pressure on me. Usually nothing of note has happened since the last time we spoke and I feel guilty about that. I suggested to Mum that maybe every day is a bit much, to which she replied, "well I won't ring then if you don't want to talk to me." Oh dear. I do want to talk to her, just perhaps not every day.
My interclub tennis was all over in double-quick time last night. We won our doubles 6-3 6-0 but then I got thrashed 6-1 6-2 in my singles. An unusual pair of results for me: I prefer singles and generally fare much better at it than doubles. My singles opponent was very much a confidence player; last time we played I won a tight first set, after which his confidence was shot and he effectively threw in the towel. This time it was the exact opposite. I had love-40 on his serve in the first game but couldn't take any of those break points. In the second game I had yet more chances but they too went begging. Soon his confidence was sky-high and I was powerless to do anything. The type of shot I played had little bearing on the outcome of the point, so in the end my tactic was to take the pace off the ball and just get everything back. This resulted in some long rallies and multiple deuce games but I invariably came off second best. Knowing his temperament was fragile I never gave up until the last point, though the killer blow for me came in the penultimate game. At 2-4 and deuce, after trading groundstrokes, I hit a lob onto his baseline which he retrieved; his next shot was a clean winner. When it was all over I walked home, grabbing easily the spiciest pizza I've ever had on the way back.
In today's badugi session I picked up right where I left off from last night's tennis. I play 300-hand sessions, give or take a few, but I have a "mercy rule" whereby I quit when I get down $20. Today I invoked that rule after just 140 hands. It was carnage. I won only seven hands, three of those pre-draw and just two at showdown. After taking that kind of hammering I don't feel I can play my best, hence the mercy rule.
I had a very enjoyable, if slightly tricky, Italian lesson today. If I didn't already know some French (which has proved very useful) I might have been all at sea. After the lesson I had the pleasure of riding in a Fiat Bambina.
Tonight we had the men's group. We had a new bloke there who writes stories; tonight we acted one of those out. I'm always envious of anyone who can write anything.