blast from the past
Today, you get to read a previously unpublished vintage OMGWTF story.
It was early afternoon and I was one of three people practicing in the pool room. I had a table way off in the corner. I liked the isolation because it allowed me to concentrate. I was having problems concentrating this time, though, because there was a middle-aged, somewhat heavy set guy who was sitting at a cocktail table next to my table and, as he had every day for the past week, he was just STARING at me. He hadn’t yet spoken to me, but having someone watch you for a couple of hours a day can be unsettling.
By the way, this was before the Age of iPods – you know, When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth and I played with a glittery Cuetec.
I never said anything to Pearman (for so I had named him) and I didn’t complain about his presence. How do you complain to management about someone sitting next to your table staring at you? It was not life threatening (yet, maybe), only annoying. After the first couple of uncomfortable days, I determined that as long as he didn’t talk and stayed out of my way, I would work on ignoring him.
Today, I was working on running six balls. I would throw out the balls 1 through 6 and try to run them all in numerical order without missing. I was not consistent. Sometimes I ran four, once I ran five, more often I ran three and disturbingly often I ran two. Adding to my frustration today, Pearman was shifting around more than usual. Hemorrhoids, perhaps? I didn’t know, but it was distracting and he had also taken to clearing his throat softly. Since the pool room at this hour had the jukebox turned off, I heard every rustle and cough. F#cker.
It had been three hours and I threw the balls out on the table again.
“Hmm, uh, what exactly is it that you are, um, doing?”
So Pearman speaks English and not Pearmanese. I turned and regarded this man warily for some seconds before answering in my most neutral, deadpan tone with a strong underlying hint of discouragement and the faintest threat of violence, “I’m trying to run six balls without missing.”
“You’re not doing very well.”
As much as I would have like to cut him open from the navel to the chops and turned this asshole inside out the way I would fold a sock — he was right. As such, I gave him the Stare of Death but nevertheless said in the same neutral, deadpan tone, with a strong underlying hint of discouragement and now the unmistakeable promise of violence, “Yes.”
“Why do you think that is?”
I wanted to say, Because asshole pricks like you creep me the F#CK out by sitting next to my table and staring at me FOR HOURS and then interrupt my practice. But, you know, back in those days, I was a kinder, gentler sort of pool player and the filters in my brain worked on occasion.
I said slowly and very carefully, “Because I am not a good player, yet. I am working on it.” Having said this, I signaled the end of the conversation by turning back to the table and considering the layout. I picked up the cue ball and placed it in front of the one-ball.
In a surprising display of agility and unconcern for his own personal safety, Pearman got off his stool, swiped a house stick off the wall, and came up to the table. I stepped aside immediately, as I do not like physical contact with people I don’t know, and creepy pearmen even less. He might have mistaken my swift movement as a sign of deference and not the loathing it was. He walked up to the table with confidence and starting running the balls.
From my observations, he was a pretty good player. However, I must post my disclaimer that I had only been playing for a couple of years at that point, and was not a good judge of speed. He threw out the six balls again. This pissed me off royally. I f#cking hate it when people jack my table time. Nonetheless, I kept myself beautifully under control, that is to say, I said nothing and waited for him to f#ck off. After he ran the six balls, he said, “Now, wouldn’t you like to do that?”
“One day, I will.” I was plotting ways I could regain control of my table whilst maintaining my detached formality (with a suggestion of I-Will-F#CK-YOU-UP-ery).
“I can show you how to do that right now. And you’ll be able to do it more than once.”
“Really.” This put me on Threat Level Orange as I knew there had to be a catch. I was under no delusions of grandeur and was of the faction that believed there were no shortcuts to greatness. Also, the dude was annoying, creepy, and strangers who offered me any sort of instruction unsolicited immediately got red-flagged. Also, he had plumber’s butt every time he bent over to shoot. Eww.
“Hey, if I show you, will you have lunch with me?” Threat Level immediately shot up to Red.
I delivered this unequivocal answer quite forcefully and with no attempts to hide my distaste for Pearman’s presence.
“Great! Come over here!” Male selective hearing: a tale as old as time (a tune as old as song).
I didn’t budge, and reiterated, “NO.”
“Let me just get these balls back out…”
Now, I was faced with a dilemma. I said no, TWICE, and yet, this f#cking asshat was plowing forward with all the grace of a cape buffalo as if I had said yes — enthusiastically! I wanted to remain polite, and yet, I had to get rid of this f#cker, preferably without use of a chainsaw and shovels. As I mulled over varying polite versions of “go f#ck yourself” Pearman tossed the balls out on the table.
“Are ya ready?”Pearman’s creepy eagerness snapped me out of my thoughts. He indicated the table, with a sweep of his arm. I looked at his face and the glint in his eyes was extremely disturbing. I looked at the table.
There were six balls on the table.
Each ball was sitting in the jaws of a pocket.
“C’mon! Let’s see you run those six balls! I know you can do it!”
He was right: I could run those six balls, but running them in that manner — each one hanging in the pocket — was not the point of my practice. I was a serious player and this asshat was not taking me seriously.
I looked impassively at Pearman’s face for a long minute. I could not tell if he (thought he was) being funny, being genuinely enthusiastic about helping me run six balls, or a condescending prick with pants that were fighting a losing battle with gravity.
It is moments like these that have great effect upon who I have become as a pool player.
I decided that what he was thinking or feeling was unimportant. He had ruined what enjoyment I found in the game and I no longer wanted to be here. He had staked out my table for a week and made me uncomfortable for those days. He had interrupted my practice. He had tried to ask me out to lunch and when I said no, he had not heard (or pretended not to hear) my answer of NO. And now, this.
I said nothing and collected the balls and put them in the ball tray. I unscrewed my cue and put it in the case. The whole time, Pearman was babbling something but I did not hear him. F#cker sits there all creepified and sh#t for a week and doesn’t say a word, now he can’t take a hint and shut the f#ck up. Eyes straight ahead, I walked up to the counter as he fluttered around me.
I paid the time and walked out.
“Now where should we have lunch?”
“Go f#ck yourself, asshole.”
I began walking down the street.
He stood for a moment, and then walked after me, “Aww, c’mon! Don’t be like that! I thought we were going to have lunch. I’m buying, you know! I’M BUYING!“
I turned around and yelled, “AND I THOUGHT YOU HAD SOME COCK TO GO SUCK!” People across the street flinched. Pearman stood there, slack-jawed in surprise regarding my excellent command of the English language which he probably never thought could exist in petite Asian pool-playing girls who are formally polite to assholic strangers who hijack their practice time for their own f#cked up reasons.
I turned back around and continued walking.
Pearman did not show up the next day.
I finally ran six balls two days later.
|will trade craftiness for more table time|
|I had the idea of stocking up my Etsy store, OMGWTStuff, and posting the link here with pictures of available items, but CERTAIN PEOPLE ended up buying quite a few things (and I love them for it!) almost immediately after the listings went live, so now my store selection is a bit low.|
|I’ll be adding more items to the store when I can. If you’d like an item that has been previously sold, you can email me a request. All proceeds go towards table time.|
If it so pleases you, kindly forward this post and/or my Etsy store links to those you think may enjoy them.