She was definitely a good friend at the time I joined her ALTA team but someone I'd always wished I had more of an opportunity to get to know better. She's one of my most favorite personalities. I just love her character. Mature and put together like someone of her age should be but still stylishly accepted by millennials. Girl crush? No, it's more like I hope to be her when I grow up. She's actually my age but is so much more refined and professional. She possesses a southern calmness discernible in her long and purposeful manner of speech. Resonating from somewhere in her lower register, it produces a luxurious tone.
I joined her neighborhood tennis team a few seasons ago. She'd been asking me to play with them for a couple of years before I accepted, largely because we were friends, but also because I knew most of the team members anyway and have always enjoyed their company. But what made the decision real for me was that my knees were not putting up with my tennis antics for much longer. If I ever wanted to play on their team, it was going to have to be soon. So, I made the heartbreaking decision to leave my ALTA team of 4 years.
We got paired at line 2 doubles right out of the gate. I was excited but a little nervous. She intimidates me a little bit. I’m kind of a mess with strong personalities but I can admit that. The match started off well enough but we were suddenly down 4-5 in the first set. After a series of unforced errors we both felt we were facing the potential of a 3 setter. (50-something ladies don't particularly like to play 3 setters. But we'll do it, by God!)
She served and it went long.
The second fell into the net. "Mother F****R!" I heard from behind me.
"Hmm? What? Did she say something?" I thought to myself.
She served to the ad side right down the middle setting me up for a put away at the net. "That's what I'm talking about! Do that again!" I said trying to pump her up.
A short return of her next serve was just too good. Again, from our side of the net, I heard, "F**K!" Oh, wow. Was this some sort of delayed onset of Tourettes?
I walked back to the baseline for a strategy conference, or so our opponents thought ;)
"Are you ok?" I asked.
"Yes, why? she wondered.
"I don't know. I guess I've just never heard you say words like those before. Don't get me wrong. I've dropped my fair share of F-Bombs but I've never heard them come out of your mouth." I explained.
"Oh really? Yeah, I say them all the time." she said casually. Then, in her smoothest tone ever, "My favorite word is "C*CKS****R" she offered with a wink.
Awe! She had me at "Mother F****R"! No reason to be intimidated. She's a genuine person with genuine flaws. We didn't win the match. We actually lost in 2 sets. But I learned something about my friend and about myself.
I guess I do judge by the cover a little bit and that's a shame. Not that I have a mouth like a trucker driver by any means, but I realized that I was never my true self around her, always conscious not to offend her. And I probably lost out on knowing her better by this point in our friendship. She taught me that she won't look at me sideways if cuss words find their way into conversations we have down the road. She won't judge me for my potty mouth rhetoric.
Although, I'm still trying to work "C*CKS****R" into the conversation whenever I see her. The timing’s never right and it just feels forced.
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