Ping Pong

After all his antics, I had to pull a Katherine Calder-Young Papadapolis and take Webster for a checkup at the Sprint repair center.  The Bryant Park location was the closest, so Bubba and I enjoyed the park while we waited patiently for the techs to look Webster over.

How did I not know they had free ping pong in the park?  Do you realize how many hours of free entertainment I’ve missed out on?  Countless!  I found myself disappointed that the Sprint peeps only needed one hour with Webster.  I wanted a good excuse to spend the next three days watching these people.

On one table, there were two impossibly tall black gentlemen playing in button downs and ties.  The older man, in a warm slate colored shirt had rolled his sleeves up past his elbows.  His much younger opponent had tucked his dark tie between the buttons of his bright white dress shirt for better mobility.

Simultaneously, at the next table were two middle aged Asian gals.  The woman on the far side was decked out in full athletic gear with her long hair constrained in a thick, flat braid.  Her opponent was a surprisingly compact spitfire with a short shaggy haircut and a mustard v-neck sweater.  These ladies played with mean shots and incredible power.  With each stroke they slowly moved farther and farther away from the table until Mustard Lady tumbled into Tucked Tie resulting in a let for both matches.

The games were surprisingly brief and new players perpetually rotated into position.  The next group consisted of a young Hispanic couple at the first table, and an older lady with a purple tank top the same shade as her perm playing against what appeared to be her eight-year-old niece.

My favorite player was a scrawny red-headed Jewish guy who made a rather elaborate show of stretching and practicing his stroke before even picking up the ball.  I wished Webster was there to watch the scene unfold (as in capture it on camera for you guys).

A whole host of random other people sat around the periphery, waiting patiently for their turn at the tables.  I enjoyed watching their interactions with each other and trying to determine which ones were the regulars.  Braid Girl had taken a seat after trouncing Mustard Sweater, and frequently waved to other people she recognized in the park.  Tucked Tie sidled over to her side and tried to trade strategies.  That quickly ended when he realized she didn’t speak English.

My trance ended abruptly when a young Asian guy in bright fluorescent turquoise high tops walked by my table and broke my concentration.  Webster was done ten minutes ago!  Oh screw him, I decided he could sit in the little yellow tech bin a while longer and think about what he’d done.

Next, a black older maintenance man, complete with tool belt and work gloves hanging from the back pocket of his jeans challenged a tall blond frat boy clad in a bright blue cycling jersey.  At the other table, an Indian teen with glasses bigger than the paddle played a good fella straight from my neighborhood with shiny shoes and shiny hair.  Two tween girls in matching neon green t-shirts and denim cut-offs wreaked havoc at the tables while their guardian watched on.

I was so entertained by the parade of characters, I managed to completely block out the weird guy that had sat down next to me and started mumbling something about the weather and cottage cheese.

Braid Girl and Cycling Frat Boy were matched against each other.  She faced him with her legs planted in an imposing wide stance.  She hardly moved her feet an inch, but Cycling Frat Boy couldn’t get a thing past her.  Braid Girl went in for the kill and threw her entire body into a vicious stroke.  The ball whizzed millimeters above the metal net and hit Cycling Frat Boy solidly in the chest.

At the other table, a new pair appeared.  The guy screamed Indie Rock complete with his Buddy Holly glasses and black t-shirt.  His opponent was a minuscule Asian girl in three-inch heels and a miniskirt of the same length.  Not surprisingly, she attracted quite a crowd while playing.  Miniskirt kicked Indie Rock’s ass.  Maybe the better word is obliterated.  In his defense, he may have been somewhat distracted by her gams.

I was out of tea.  Webster had been ready for at least twenty minutes.  Creepy Cottage Cheese guy was sliding his chair closer.  I decided to call it a day, but I’ve got to go pick up a new Webster on Friday.  You can bet I’m going to get there early to see what’s happening at the tables.  Hopefully Webster will be up for capturing a snap or two.


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