today I had a bunch of ‘I miss _______’ moments. But the overwhelming one was billiards. I miss shooting pool.
Because, for me, shooting pool means spending an afternoon or an evening or both with Panda. Pacing around a dimly lit table, eating and drinking junk, and talking. I find it particularly relaxing because hah.. I don’t really concentrate on the game. The balls bouncing off the rails are a side effect of our thoughts.
I miss it all. I miss the click and clack of cue meets colour; far more satisfying than smashing a thousand windows after a bad day. I miss the the smoke so thick it made my eyes water. I miss the watery tea they’d serve you for free that would scald me and leave green bits between my teeth (no tea bags just loose tea, the real deal). I miss sweeping ashes off the felt and even the little grooves and burn marks on the wooden rails from guys setting their smokes on ’em while taking shots.
Further, I miss the cool guys who played without glasses (who need them now). The smart asses who refused to take their cigarette out of their mouth haha.. so they clenched it in their teeth and squinted their eyes through the haze and made the shot anyway. Hell, they could blame it on the smoke in their eyes of they missed.. or look like a real tough guy if they made it. Myself, anytime I tried to do that I just got water in my eye.. of the salty tear variety hahah how do they do it??
I miss an arrogant ass or two (I’ve met a few) who’d take me out to play pool for an evening at the most expensive place in town…or the guy who was King of Hefei, groomed in England and friends with anyone who was anyone. The fact his parents were in tight with the provincial gov. probably didn’t hurt. He was arrogant but if you could stand him – you could play anywhere for free.
I miss hour long lunches where I’d be whisked away on the back of Panda’s motorbike to shoot pool underground for an hour or two.. sometimes drawing a crowd because 1. it’s a woman in the pool hall playing, not sitting off to the side bored and texting her friends while her bf asks her to buy him a drink. And 2. I had those moments where.. I surprised myself. *shrug* playing 4-8 hours a day for a few weeks will do that oddly enough.
I miss going for the toughest shots. Hahah, turning down an easy straight-line shot saying ‘pfft, too easy. I like a challenge!’
I do, and at the moment… I feel things are lacking in the challenge department. Maybe not so much ‘challenge’ as motivation/interest. Hope it comes back soon. Til then, anyone want to shoot pool with me? Drop me a line… I don’t care of the cues are warped and the table uneven. It keeps things interesting.
RIP Alexander Higgins; “Hurricane Higgins” and “Alexander the Great” in turns
But fear not, there will always be a spirited lad to take up the yoke.
Possibly my favourite English – Chinese press conference ever: