It’s 6:50 on a hot summer night on Court 15. My friend and I have been pounding the pavement, exchanging ground strokes with fervor, and sweating our fannies off for the last 80 minutes. The game ends, prompting the changeover.
We go to our seats to refresh ourselves with water, and notice we are not alone. Some anxious-looking folks decked out in Yonex gear are hovering over our seats, bouncing to and fro, stretching their bodies.
We look at the time, and see it is now eight minutes ’til. We have the court booked until 7, but you wouldn’t know it. It seems that our $6 deposit for our court reservation is no longer good here, and we’ve assuredly worn out our welcome.
This is the rude state of affairs running rampant at the Millbrook Exchange Tennis Club.
The last three times I’ve played there, my friend or I have paid the court reservation fee that entitles us to have the court for an hour and a half (5:30 to 7:00). And each time, we’ve been passive-aggressively shooed off by adults displaying the patience of caffeinated hyenas. It generally starts with the hovering at 10 ’til, and 5 ’til brings the blatant disregard for personal space. One time I was having some water and a woman got so close I nearly offered her a swig.
Now, because we’re courteous, we typically leave about two minutes ’til. Yet as soon as I lift my bag from the bench the other person places down theirs. Like they couldn’t wait another second to set down their stuff. Has it been that grueling to carry your tennis bag? Do you have C-4 in there that’s going to detonate if it’s not on a bench by 7 pm?
The rudest display came the last time we were finishing up, and my friend made a little joke to the hovering women about them not needing to break out the sunscreen spray just yet. It was an innocuous suggestion of social politeness for them to not spray until we left. Then I watched in wonder as my friend packed up while one of the ladies got out her bottle and began to spray. I watched my friend walk right through the cancerous cloud. Truly flummoxed, I could only conclude that if my friend had kindly asked the women not to take out their glocks and start firing, he would’ve gotten his face blown off.
Really though, I can do whatever I want with that court until 7:00, and perhaps I should to prove a point. Maybe I’ll politely ask for the time and then go into the middle of the court and snap selfies for five minutes. Or tell the bystanders I’ll be trying out Pokemon Go on Court 15 until my time is up, and ask if they’d like to join me. Perhaps my best idea is to give them the option of buying my remaining court time, since they’re so antsy to get going. If my calculations are correct, a 90-minute reservation for $6 equates to roughly six and a half cents a minute. So if someone is hovering at seven ’til, I could say something like, “Hey, you want the court now? Just give me 46 and a half cents and I’ll be out of your way.”