“This net looks homemade,” my partner observed as we tried to figure out whether to stay or go.
Going was complicated by me having taken pubic transit for two plus hours to reach Brenner Park in Pasadena and therefore not having a car to go somewhere else, maybe the courts at the Rose Bowl?
I sized my partner up — tall, wearing longboard shorts, carrying a basket of balls, sounded reasonable online, showed up in real life on time — and made the spot decision that I would get in his car. He, however, did not reach the same conclusion about having me hop in within the first 15 seconds of us meeting, so we stayed.
I do not blame anybody for exercising basic common sense.
My partner was also absolutely right about the net. It did look like someone had a surplus of galvanized wire decking as well as the technical wherewithal to hook it up to the net posts to approximately the right height, a little low but good try. This would be a gem of a one lonesome all-by-itself court tucked away in the corner of a lovely little park with a stirring mountain view if that handy tennis devotee had ever returned to do upkeep. However, it appeared from the composting mound of leaves beyond the far service line that no one had been closer to this court in quite a while than the overhanging jacaranda, bald cypress, and golden oak trees.
Nevertheless, my partner was intrepid and limber enough to regulate his stride so as not to slip or fall, and so we rallied happily and zestfully in between my sightings of gardeners. It is a leafy neighborhood and many jardineros were hard at work. When I heard leaf-blower, I darted off the court and across the street to respectfully offer them $10 to limpiar el uh lugar de tenis, but apparently the going rate for spot leaf-blowing is at least $20. So that’s something I learned.
I also learned on this outing about white chrysanthemum tea. A woman wearing all purple and carrying a big full shopping cart maneuvered past a bald guy with an electric bike to sit down right next to me on the Gold Line at Union Station. It was a tight fit between me and my gigantic tennis bag and her and her full self, but it’s part of my credo not to take up two seats. They ask you not to do that on the announcements along with not eating or drinking or playing loud music, so even though I sometimes used to take up two seats with my tennis bag, I now just squeeze it in between my knees so people such as my new seatmate in all purple can sit right down and tell with me about her white chrysanthemum tea.
I’m not sure how it came up; there was no space between us so we might have been sharing one mind. Anyway, I said to her, “I thought chrysanthemum was poison, let me look that up for you.” And sure enough, chrysanthemum tea is backed by millenia of Chinese herbal medical tradition, according to the internet.
“You’re not looking at white chrysanthemum, though,” she pointed out from her perspective of being too close to not read my phone. “That’s just chrysanthemum in general.”
“Close enough,” I assured her. She felt at ease enough to tell me about how her tai chi instructor had told her to drink this tea for blood pressure and tummy trouble. That is right up my alley nowadays as I have been brewing both epazote and dandelion of late to help with a touch of dyspepsia.
To which she said, “Oh I have some dandelion concentrate right here in my bag,” to which I said, “Next time I’ll bring you some fresh leaves,” and this in turn made the guy with the electric bike guffaw.
I was in full making-friends-everywhere mode. The electric bike guy rode it through New York, Tennessee, Texas. “And now we’re here in LA together,” he told me proudly. He was also proud that it’ll crank up to 35 miles an hour, although “It starts shaking around 25.”
My interest was in his helmet, which he did not have. “Where’s your helmet?” I asked, and underlined my concern by outlining my head with my hands and then question-shrugged, palms-up.
“Okay, officer,” he replied to my concern, after which we lived and let lived.
Living and let living was also was the outcome of my encounter on the Expo line home, with a person who steered aboard a tarp-covered wagon of belongings including home-made snare drums. They commenced to play with full lengths of 3/8 inch dowelling. On “Right Here” by SWV and “Slow”by Sammie (Shazzam’ing music played too loud on public transit is one of my favorite hobbies) their beats were approximate and random but spirited, just like my own drum-alongs, another favorite hobby I am able to do at home. My fellow drummer on the Expo line was sporting an orange and black Tokyo Giants baseball cap. I have one of those caps, too.