After a weekend of too much food and too much energy that led to too much time at the gym, I ended it with a low key tennis game at the Berkeley Community Center. As usual, it takes about an hour of playing before I warm up to a decent rally. I flip flop back and forth between frustration and focus and then frustration and why can’t I hit the ball with that same power but straight? And a girl wanders off the basketball court onto the tennis court, and usually I don’t hit when anyone is standing behind my opponent b/c by not trying to hit that person I will hit that person. But this girl wandered into the corner of the court and stood there. So we hit a little more before the girl wandered away with one of our tennis balls. What?
So while she is wandering off the court boy and I stop to pick up stray balls and I am thinking, 3, I should have four, I motion to boy you have 5? huh? 4? seriously, she just wandered on the court to steal our tennis ball? because if this 10 yr old girl would have just asked, I have like 20 old balls in the car, she could have walked off with 20 instead of 1. So I motion to boy in our mysterious tennis court sign language that she just walked off with one of our balls. His response “they start stealing young around here…”
And I flash back to an incident back in Louisiana when I was helping my then preggers best friend move into her new apartment with her 4 yr old following us around and someone comes to the door and says through the screen door “you gotta move your car, this guys lives in this quad gotta big truck and he needs more space.” So my friend goes to the door introduces herself as the new neighbor, clarifies that moving the car would indeed be giving up her spot for this guy’s car, and asks this girl if she was in fact honking at us before she came to knock to get our attention – she was. And as my friend and her daughter closed the door on this she said to me “and that’s the difference between a black person and a n-i-g” and you know how to spell the rest so that your kid won’t hear the word.
So I stand on the tennis court, thinking about this, thinking I don’t want to believe it b/c I am not that person anymore. (also why I believe racism goes into recovery but never goes away.) I let a 10 yr old get me down on society. So I took it out on the court and left it there.
Now all I’m left with is a sore forearm that makes my chopsticks tremble every time I bring food to my mouth.