Random Rantings – Ice Water

listening to
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
“…I woke up in between a memory and a dream…”

eating
Frosted Flakes
you know you want some, too

obsessed with
the color orange
most likely because it’s October and also because it’s considered one of, if not, the, most irritating color

It’s yet another Blah Day in Blah-Blah Land. It’s time for yet another Random Rant. Please pull the safety bar down so it is snug across your lap. Keep your arms and legs inside the moving vehicle at all times. Ready? It’s all downhill from here.

First off, I’d like to say that the human race never ceases to amaze me.

I went on a jaunt to the cafe this morning to get my daily dose of coffee/tea/soda/sunlight since it was perfect fall weather outside (and I needed to show my new boots who’s boss!). When I got to the cafe after my brisk walk, I actually found myself in a healthy frame of mind–which is really rare. I just wanted a cup of ice water. (Ok, I admit it, I was in a cheap-ass frame of mind. Happy now?)

The cafe charged ten cents for a cup, but the water was free. Not a problem. I handed the uber-cheerful barista a dime. She filled the cup first with ice, and then tap water. Tap water. Eh, I’m not picky. Who knows? All that lead and chlorine could do wonders for my mental state. She handed the cup to me with a super-sunny, perky-blond-ponytail-bouncing “Have a Great Day! Next!” Of course, if things were right, I wouldn’t be typing about it.

She had filled the cup with ice and HOT tap water. Yuck. How does one f— up an order of ice water?! Sheesh!

Back when I was in college, paying the tuition with the best years of my life, I ran into a pool-related feature found in women that I call Alpha Bitch Syndrome.

What is Alpha Bitch Syndrome, you ask? Since many of you don’t have the dubious pleasure of hearing me rant and rave in person on a semi-regular basis, I will take this moment to clarify. Those of you who have heard me lecture on this particular topic, you are excused, but only if you are going to get food or drink. Consider this the half-time break. Or the half-time freakshow. Whatever.

Alpha Bitch Syndrome is, simply put, the irrational desire of a female pool player to be considered/revered/admired as the top female pool player in her home range. To this end, she will challenge any other female who comes into her territory–whether a regular, a stranger, a road player, a hack, an amateur, a semi-pro, a professional, or Absolute Worldbeater–for dominance.

For example, I could walk into some random pool hall in some random city I happen to be vacationing in, rent a table far, far away from the action-and-regulars-packed front, start smacking balls in with a house cue, and inevitably, if the room’s best female player is there, she will HAVE TO come up to me and ask me if I want to play. I’m just there to pass time (most likely hiding from the Parental Units and their Annoying Asian Habit of Let’s Visit Every Famous Landmark in 24 Hours or Less and Take Pictures, Too), so I’ll say thank you for the offer, but no, I’m just passing time.

Sometimes, the chick is cool with that, and she understands (thereby earning Cool Pool Chick status) and leaves me to my neurosis. After my little therapy session, I pay my time, sometimes have a pleasant chat with her about pool, and go my merry way.

There have been many times, however, when the chick morphs into Alpha Bitch by coming back repeatedly and asking to play again, and, in some cases for money. If I politely decline, it turns into an episode of You Don’t Want To Play Because You Have No Heart or You’re Afraid Of Me, Aren’t You? Chica, I’m on vacation. I am in a pleasant mood. Go play in traffic. I’m not here to show you up or steal your damn fan club. I just want to hit balls because it’s a lot more legal than hitting people. Bug off already.

To be honest and fair, I was once Alpha Bitch Supreme.

That’s right, I’m not only the president–I’m also a client. I had to know where I stood against all women pool players in my ridiculous desire to be World Champion Alpha Bitch. I had to be the best female pool player wherever I happened to be. Hard to believe, but I was most definitely bitchier than I am today. I was an absolute punk. I should have been shot.

And then… I saw Efren “The Magician” Reyes run 14 balls-and-out in a one-pocket game where he was spotting his opponent 14-7. He made some shots that I swear defy the laws of physics. I found religion and changed my ways. From that day on, I had no desire to be World Champion Alpha Bitch. I just wanted to be World Champion.

I realized I was wasting my time trying to prove a point by beating all women. I could prove a better point by beating every-frickin’-body in this world and the next. The chase for the Impossible Dream began. Yes, I’m still chasing it. No, I’m not any closer. I hope I get an A for Effort.

Back to my collegiate Alpha Bitch story.

I was batting balls in the college pool room one day when a girl with her own cue walked in. This was highly unusual as pool was not a popular pastime for women at my college. Most of the girls at my college were very, very pretty–so why the hell would they be playing pool? They went to parties, movie premiers, and other such events reserved for glitterati. I looked like Cousin It at the time, so didn’t go to par-tays. I played pool.

The catty bitch in me must point out that this girl was in the same boat as me in terms of attractiveness. Sweet. Nothing like female versions of Cousin It and Lurch playing pool to cheer up your day, eh? That’s a scotch doubles team that requires real Scotch whiskey to look at. Ugh.

This girl, I remember her name was Anna, and I played a few games of eight-ball. She was very good. I barely won six out of the ten games we played, so we were pretty evenly matched. We took a little break and switched to nine-ball (Alpha Bitch in me testing to see her range of games). We started to chat a bit more as we played and the following exchange ensued.

Anna: “How long have you been playing?”

Me: “Three years.”

Anna: “Wow, then I’ll definitely beat you by the end of the year.”

Me [mildly irritated]: “How long have you been playing?”

Anna: “Six months.”

Me [wasted life flashing before eyes]: “Six… months? Holy s—.”

Anna: “Yes. I have natural talent.”

Me [slightly defeated]: “Well, s—. Yeah. I guess you do.”

Anna: “I’ll be WAY better than you by the end of the year.”

Me [grumpy, but realistic]: “You’re probably right.”

We played little longer in somewhat uncomfortable silence.

Anna: “Playing you is way easier than playing with my dad when I was a kid.”

Me [suspicious]: “Wait, if you played with your dad when you were a kid, how could you only have been playing for the past six months?

Anna: “Well–I only started playing pool seriously for the past six months.”

Me: “Okaaay–then how long were you playing before you started playing seriously?”

Anna: “I have a table at home. My dad plays a lot. I’ve played since I was six.”

Me [somewhat relieved]: “How old are you now?”

Anna [slightly defensive]: “Twenty.”

A really uncomfortable silence while I do the math. I’m very uncomfortable with math. I’m really bad at it.

Me [ever-so-slightly accusatory]: “Then you’ve actually been playing for–fourteen years.”

Anna [more defensive]: “Nooooo. I’ve only been playing seriously for six months.”

Me [trying to be reasonable and relieve tension]: “Well, you’ve actually had exposure to the game for longer than that. I was really worried there for a moment that someone could be so good after only six months of playing. I mean, it took me three years to get to this level. If it really only took you six months, hell, I need to quit and take up shuffleboard or something! Ha. Ha. Haaa.”

Anna [VERY defensive]: “I’ve only been playing seriously for six months.”

Me [ever-so-slightly annoyed]: “Dude, you really should stop saying that. It’s, like, false advertising.”

Anna [dialed in like a frickin’ missile]: “I’ve… only… been… playing… seriously… for… sixmonths.”

Ok, kids, let’s all say it together. Oh. My. God. What. The. F—?!

Me [all bets are off]: “Ok, listen here. It’s not like I was born twenty-one years ago and just decided I’d take living seriously right now. You, my dear, ARE NOT a pool prodigy. You’ve been playing for fourteen years so you SHOULD be good, dammit! Hell, if I played for fourteen-god-forsaken-years like you did and only got to your level, I sure as hell would not be strutting around acting like a goddam pool prodigy! You had fourteen years to swing a damn cue! You had more time! You had more practice! Stop trying to be better than me by claiming you’re some pool genius. ‘CAUSE YOU’RE NOT, YOU HEAR ME?! YOU ARE NOT!!!”

Anna [hissing]: “I… have… natural… talent… I’ve… only… been… playing–“

Me [are you f—ing serious?!]: “Oh, shut UP! I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve played almost double-digit hours every day for three years and I’m no better than this. Just frickin’ admit it already. You played for fourteen years and this is all you have to show for it.”

Anna [if she could strangle me, she would]: “You suck.”

Me [back to cool, calm, collected]: “No, YOU suck. You suck eleven more years than I do. You sucker.”

Anna [unscrewing cue]: “You suck. I don’t want to play anymore.”

Me [ha, obviously the winner of this round]: “Fine.”

Anna [snootily]: “Fine.”

Aside from the fact that I completely behaved like a toddler having a tantrum (just short of stamping my itty-bitty feet and holding my breath), I was quite satisfied with my results from sparring with an Alpha Bitch of the Highest Order.

What is it with women and age? I know some women are sensitive about their age in general but I guess it even seeps into the pool world. When I first started playing pool, I heard La Viua Negra (Ms. Jeanette Lee, The Black Widow) was a World Champion in two-and-a-half years. I started chasing that milestone as soon as I heard it.

After two-and-a-half years, I was depressed because, well, I hadn’t done Jack S— with this game. I hadn’t even run a rack of nine-ball yet. I set a new milestone. By the four-year mark, I would, at very least, have to be on the Women’s Professional Billard Tour–or I’d quit forever.

Four years later, I had a nice degree from a nice University but I was s— outta luck in the billiards department. And, yet, I was still playing. I just couldn’t kick the habit.

More women play pool every year and, as the sport becomes more popular, more talent shows up every year. Twenty-five years ago, I might have been considered a professional at my current level of play. By today’s standards, I’m an amateur pool player and a professional slacker.

I suppose I shouldn’t care so much. If I can beat up on young talent When I’m Sixty-Four and cackle like the Wicked Witch of the West while doing so–I should be happy.

Ah, who am I kidding.

Y’all know I’ll never be happy until I’m the best in the world and it’s going to be a hell of a ride trying to get there.

Anna [from the hallway, through the window glass]: “I STILL HAVE MORE TALENT THAN YOOOUUU!!!”

Me [complete with “W” and “L” hand signals from the movie Clueless]: “WHAT-EVERRR, LOOO-SERRR!!!

One Reply to “Random Rantings – Ice Water”

  1. I know this is an old post of yours, and that you’ll probably never see this response, but I just found your blog and just had to comment..

    From one los angeles former queen bitch pool player to another: you’ve reached a level of understanding that many women never find.

    I haven’t played pool in about six years, but if you want to get together for a friendly game, I’m up for it. I’ll even buy the first drink. (no, this isn’t any kind of weird internet come-on, I’m a married woman who you probably already know).

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