Today I went to the beach at Days Bay near Eastbourne, as one of the anxiety group meet-ups. It was an absolutely glorious day. When I lived in Auckland - particularly when I flatted in Milford - I went to the beach all the time in the summer, and I'm sure all that vitamin D did me a lot of good. I also played a lot of tennis, and I was generally a happy chappy, even if work drove me nuts. I thought of all these things when I arrived at the beach today, and would have happily just lay there by myself and drifted away.
I couldn't drift away though because there was a group of us. We went to a nearby café and chatted. There was one woman I hadn't met before. It took me a few minutes to notice. Your arms. Her forearms - not her wrists but further up - looked like my wooden chopping board. I found the extent of her self-mutilation really distressing. I was surprised she didn't wear a long-sleeved top, even on a summer's day. She did wear a lot of jewellery though. When I got home I tried to get some handle on why people - especially young women - cut themselves. It all just seems so messed up. Speaking from my head-banging experiences which I hope are now behind me, I can think of one logical reason: the physical pain helps to relieve the mental pain and creates a sense of calm. I found this creepily illuminating "warning" for anyone wishing to cut themselves.
My work colleague was also at the beach today. She's been off work ever since she broke her arm at the function in early November, and doesn't expect to be back till March. She's clearly had a lot of crap to deal with other than her arm, which has pretty much healed now.
As usual after about two hours of socialising I hit the wall. At that point I was wishing I'd brought my book. After a couple more hours I was able to go home.
Last night I listened to a tennis match on the internet until the wee hours. I've done that kind of thing before, but usually it's a really important match like a final or semi-final. This match however was a third-rounder between two Frenchmen: Gilles Simon and Gaël Monfils. It was typically French as they used guile rather than power to try to gain the upper hand. They were closely matched but Simon won the first two sets, then he got injured and attempted to hobble over the line against Monfils who wasn't 100% either, and suddenly I was hooked. The mercurial Monfils snagged the third set and Simon tanked the fourth 6-1. Oh dear. Fifth set. I'm losing sleep here over a match that ultimately won't matter because the winner will surely get taken apart by Andy Murray in the next round. But it was fascinating in its way; it reminded me of the 2004 Roland Garros final. There were some very long rallies in the fifth-set breakathon in which just about every game went to deuce. For the record Simon got over the line, 8-6, as the clock ticked past 2:30.
Djokovic has made a shaky start to his latest match, losing the first set heavily to Wawrinka, but I still think he's the favourite to lift the trophy. It'll be between him, Federer and Murray, with the impressive Ferrer being in the mix too. In fact I'd love Ferrer to win it - he's a little guy (by tennis standards) and it would be nice for someone of his size to win for a change. In the women's, neither Kimiko Date nor Laura Robson won their matches so that record-age-gap match won't happen.