Sunday, April 3, 2011

No text please, I'm British

My mobile phone is stuffed. Water got into it, and now the writing on the screen comes up upside down, backwards and very faint. I'm not making this up. I had no idea the digital brain of a cell phone was fiendish enough to produce upside-down back-to-front text. If anyone who has my cell phone number is reading this, please don't text me. Not until I've got a new phone anyway. At a push (and if I've got a mirror handy) I might be able to read your text but you won't get a reply.

Luckily I'm not one of those people whose cell phone is a fifth limb. Yesterday at the tennis club someone wanted to know what time it was. Nobody in her vicinity had a watch. I remarked on this, and the consensus was that people don't need watches any more because they've all got phones. Well I disagree. I feel semi-naked without my watch, which my aunt bought me for my 18th birthday. Admittedly I'm obsessive about the passage of time - I always know what time it is: it's one minute since I last looked at my watch - but a "proper" analogue watch gives you a better picture of its passage. Time is a gradual, cyclical process, not a series of digits that clicks over every minute. There are a variety of jewellery shops close to my current work. My favourite analogue watch on show has a dial showing the year. It goes up to 2299 - I might have added a couple more centuries myself - but it's still a nice touch. Unfortunately it sells for about forty grand. Continuing the same theme, the clocks went back overnight. The extra hour has proved very useful - it's a shame we can't put our clocks back every weekend.

Wednesday's tennis never happened, but then on Thursday at 6:15 the phone rang and I had to drop everything and immediately drive to Albany to play. Great. We carried on our previously rain-drenched doubles match where we left off at one set all. The super tie-break rule was waived and we played a normal third set, but we didn't last long, going down by the final score of 6-7 (1-7), 7-5, 6-2. When we played a very solid - and quick - game on my serve to close to 4-2, I thought that might send out a message to our opponents, but whatever the message was it fell on deaf ears: we only won one more point. A couple of stats from that match: It was my ninth night-time doubles loss in a row. Also it was only the second time in my life I'd won a tie-break but lost the match. The other time was a singles match in 1996. The score: 7-5, 6-7 (1-7), 6-2. How I remember that I've no idea.

In the singles I put together a steady performance to win 6-3 6-1. The first set could have gone either way - a couple of net-cords towards the end of the set proved crucial. The rallies were long as we both tried to work each other around the court. I was able to stay in a lot of points and was more consistent, and I guess that's why I won. As a team we lost by four matches to two.

On to Saturday. For April it was a scorcher, but there was no escaping the tennis court. I would play my last ever match with Bazza - we're both leaving the club. Unfortunately we couldn't finish on a high note, going down 1-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3). The score in the first set was highly deceptive - they had points for just about every game. We led 3-1 in the third and were tantalisingly close to victory at 6-5 and 30-all, but it wasn't to be. It was some time since I'd last played with Bazza but he hadn't changed one bit. Dodgy line calls which I sometimes had to overrule and calls of "yours!" when it was far too late. I thought we both played fine given our limitations, which are pretty severe on the doubles court: we're both hopeless at the net. He can be infuriating to play with (even more so if you don't "get" him) but we've had some very good matches over the years - it was perhaps fitting that our last match would go all the way to a deciding tie-break.

We played another tie-break in the first set of the mixed. This we won, 7-2, but there was still a sense of inevitability about the final outcome. Their man had a very tricky slice serve and a strong net game, both of which brought them numerous cheap points. All of our points required far more work. Things just didn't add up. Despite our best efforts we duly lost the last two sets 6-2, 6-3. For the second time in three days, but 15 years after the only other time, I'd won a tie-break in a losing cause. A disco started up as our match was finishing. It was to celebrate the club's 75th anniversary and was mainly for the kids' benefit although adults were invited too. It was a themed disco: you had to dress up as something beginning with B. I saw a banana, a ballerina and Bob Marley (which given the number of kids present, might not have been appropriate). I could have had an absolute field day dressing up as Bazza but I wouldn't have dared.

But that's not all! Tomorrow night I've got more tennis. My last pair of matches for the club.

This morning I went to the French club for the last time. I spoke perhaps more French there than ever before. My imminent move got me some attention I suppose. After that I met up with Richard in Mt Eden for lunch. We had a long and enjoyable chat as always. That's something I'm going to miss for sure.

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