Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Popsicles, Presence & Pompoms

Read and it weep, folks - these are the scores from today's breezy badminton on the beach. This is highly significant for 2 reasons. Firstly, despite my dad having retired 5 years ago, along with my most talented sporty friends, I have NEVER won at a game with him. E-VER. This has bamboozled me especially because he wears varifocals. Hoooow bad must I be?

Secondly, the conditions at the beach today couldn't have been more different to the usual indoor badminton court where we play. Turns out that my pops performs so well there because he anticipates the shot to gauge his reaction and his predictions mostly (OK, always) pay off.

But today, things weren't predictable - the breeze was everywhere, the court was smaller, the floor was sandy and the shuttlecocks were, quite frankly, shit. The only way I could play was, as I always do I guess, engaging with exactly what was happening, measuring how the strength and direction of the breeze was affecting the shuttlecock and accommodate the court's smaller box. My scores are on the left (OK, I lost one game).

Since I'm always inventing my life as I go along (on and off the badminton court), I can sometimes lose confidence and ask myself what the French toast I'm doing. But seeing my dad play today almost as a complete beginner, simply because he couldn't possibly predict or adapt to the new conditions of the game he knew so well, it showed me how quickly I had accommodated and thrived in these new and bizarre conditions. This gave me a great advantage. And the chance to reign supreme all afternoon.

A book by Nassim Taleb on Anti-Fragility http://www.amazon.com/Antifragile-Things-That-Disorder-Incerto/dp/0812979680, introduces an important concept of strengthening through taking risks and exposing ourselves to certain types of stress, encouraging us to transpose what seems like a fail... rather than panic and wish that everything could be normal. Normal is dull and if you play someone who wants normal, you'll probably lose.

On a less allegorical note, one of pure fancy, I saw the most beautiful bag covered in pompoms in Marbella casco antiguo. I may actually need varifocals because when I came to pay the $14.50 on the price ticket, the older French, slightly haughty shop owner wanted $145.00 of my finest dimes. It was all very Pretty Woman. Kind of. This happened to me decades ago in Vivienne Westwood where I saw a shirt and tie for $30 in the sale and as I drew giddy self-assured breath at the counter, was asked if I wanted the shirt as well.

Stupidity is a massive part of my gene pool. Fortunately, optimism and forgiveness are too.

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