Monday, April 19, 2010

Ticking over

Today is the last day of my twenties. I can't say I'm looking forward to ticking over to a new decade. The fact that everything will end in a zero all at once - my age, the year, even the day - doesn't help. Tomorrow I'll be meeting Andy for lunch; it was very kind of him to suggest that, and it's about as big a birthday celebration as I could face right now. The last time I had a party, if you can call it that, it wasn't much fun. We ended up in some horrible sports bar in Birmingham (it might even have been the Sports Bar) where we couldn't hear ourselves think, let alone speak, and none of us enjoyed it, least of all me.

Being on the verge of thirty was one reason why I quit my job. It was time I stopped pretending to be someone else. I now know I couldn't go back to that sort of environment again, well not for a good few years at least. The question is, what now? English teaching and the mental health industry are my two main options. Oh, and my puzzles of course. I mustn't forget those.

On Saturday I attended the monthly Asperger's group. It's always an amazing experience. So many people, so little time. There were at least two totally new people there, one of whom you might call a typical "Aspie" - "hello, my name's Peter and I invent things", but the other was anything but. Whether he was trying to shock or impress me I don't know, but outwardly it appeared he was a born risk-taker with an enormous amount of confidence.

I took second place in Saturday night's badugi tournament. However there were only 37 runners so the payout wasn't huge, and I gave all my winnings back - and more - in yesterday's cash games. I thought I might have better luck in last night's tournament but bowed out in ninth place out of 55 when the top eight paid. I got all my chips in with an unbreakable pat queen, figuring that any pat badugi is gold dust at a four-handed table, but my opponent made a six on the first draw and I was out. A bad day at the office you might say. The good news is that I play at a low enough level than I can afford bad days. My overall profit stands at just over US$550.

I've put my name down for this week's club champs. I'm playing in all three tournaments - singles, doubles and mixed - so yesterday I popped along to club day for some practice. I got more practice than I bargained for. They'd organised a mini "FUN!" tournament. These days I find that anything billed as "FUN!" almost always isn't. We played a series of 20-minute doubles matches with sudden-death deuce, with prizes given to the man and woman who win the most games, regardless of how many they might lose along the way. So you're better off with 4-4 draw, say, than a 3-2 win. Of course I would never have been in the running whatever the format, and I think the eventual winners had won more games than I'd even played. There were too many people on the courts and I hated the whole experience. In the last match I was just going through the motions. Virtually every ball I hit went miles out, not that I cared. I just wanted to get home. I waited around for half an hour while they presented prizes for this and that, not wanting to appear rude. "We've had such a Fan Tastic afternoon of tennis. It seems like every member of the club turned up today (you're telling me). It's so Fan Tastic that you could all make it."

My three matches in the club champs are on consecutive nights starting tonight. My first match, a mixed doubles, won't be a problem because it's a match we're expected to lose. The other two, which I actually have a chance of winning, I can't say I'm looking forward to. I'll post my results later in the week.

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