There were so many of us. All there for activities, as in clubs and sports activities. Buildings, fields, tents and canopies provided the settings.
I was there mainly for racquetball. We had a tournament…seven players. I was ranked fourth. Yes, mid-field, but I was having fun. An elderly white man with a laconic voice approached me and told me that he thought he could help me improve. Was I interested?
Absolutely. He started by telling me he would hit a few balls around to see how I reacted and assess my playing level. Only three balls were hit, though. I returned two of them. The first shot pleased me, the second shot was ‘okay’, but the third was horrid. I was thinking that I needed to improve my racquet control but he was like, “Oh, dear, that wasn’t good.” Interruptions kept him from hitting other balls. We needed to leave the court.
So we went outside. Overcast, a blowing wind put me into a sweater and jacket. My instructor hit a ball. It went wildly askew. With others watching, he encouraged me, “Chase it down, chase it down, get it, get.” I ran and ran, trying to get my racquet under the blue ball…and failed.
Oh, he was disappointed. “We have much more work than I thought,” he announced.
Rain began falling. I took that as an excuse to quit, taking off my sweater and jacket, and putting on a raincoat. I was also concerned that my blanket was getting wet, and had to retrieve it. My instructor said that we’d continue later.
I went into the building and joined a group of young people. Many were female. Inquiring what they were there for, they informed me that they were part of the surfboard building club. Did I want to join? They passed around sample materials and sign up sheets. They were trying to think of other uses for surfboard materials and construction techniques. “What about coffins,” I suggested. Half-serious, I said it would make coffins lighter. I decided not to join that group and went on.
Next stop was the blues society, where they were offering lessons in how to play blues guitar. I signed up for that after some conversation. When I did, I discovered that I was already a member but that my dues were in arrears. I needed to pay five extra dollars to be reinstated. They handed me an electronic pad to sign my name and make the payment. As I did, my wife joined me. For some reason, I didn’t want her to know that I was five dollars overdue, so I hastily finished business and led her away.
The activities center was closing down. We were being urged to leave. Someone called something to us. Apparently, it was about my father joining the blues society. “No,” I answered, “he’s suicidal.” My wife repeated that response to the people asking the question.
We went on our way.