While there were plenty of tennis courts, my aunts had a preference. These were three asphalt courts across the street, rather than the turf ones closest to us. Of these, the “prime” court was the one with the most shade — in sunny, hot Aruba, this is important — and it was the court in the best ball-bouncing shape. Then there was a “middle-of-the-road” court that wasn’t bad to play on and that had part shade. The “last resort” court in this area was not top choice as far as play factor, and it got the most sun.
Although my aunts arrived a little after 8 a.m., the prime court was many times taken by the staff pro, who was giving a morning lesson. So normally we enjoyed the middle-of-the-road court. For awhile anyway.
The first day, at about 8:45 a.m., a group of three men and a woman assembled outside the court fence. The woman, Nadine, I found out later was an acquaintance of my aunts because of being a fellow timeshare owner in Aruba for years.
Now let me just explain that my aunts are great tennis players. I, however, suck. I don’t play enough. Too many times I connect with the ball at the handle, sending it in a pop fly over my head. My reaction to this is to duck and cover my head only to find out that it went behind me and over the fence. Other times I can connect with the ball adequately. Rarely is my connection with the ball an “ah” moment. My aunts dealt with my awful playing skills with patience.
I usually played on the same side as my one aunt, who is calm and not necessarily competitive but who doesn’t take shit and who also will be quietly sarcastic, if necessary. We played against my feisty aunt who is small in stature and extremely competitive. She ran our asses off, especially when she was tired of not having good volleys.
Back to Nadine…
My first introduction to this woman was that day when we were happily on our middle-of the-road court — all others being taken. We were sweating out any vodka or rum drinks from the previous day, when in comes Nadine with her three male tennis buddies. Their arrival into our court was announced by my feisty aunt who said, “Oh hell no.”
So, knowing my erratic play and seeing this foursome enter our court with their well-taken-care-of rackets in hand – mine I grabbed from the garage hook before I left and carried it on the plane without so much as a cover for the head — I left my aunts to play against each other and save myself embarrassment.
At the first break in play, Nadine asks, in a voice that reminded me of Estelle Costanza, “Laaaadies, how long are you going to be?”
My feisty, 5′ aunt seemed to grow a foot taller as she said abruptly, “Ten more minutes at least.” Then, she walked slowly to me on the sidelines, grabbed her water and, loud enough for them to hear and with obvious annoyance, said, “Unbelievable.”
After she swallowed her drink of water, she asked why I wasn’t playing. I said, “Well, I figured it would look bad if someone with my playing ability was taking up the court.”
“Wait til you see them play.”
About 5 purposeful minutes later than what they promised, but after an impressively long volley, my aunts decided they were done. While we were collecting our things very leisurely, Nadine came over to, I don’t know, thank us I guess. She was kind of just rambling so my aunts introduced me. Moments later, we walked off the court as Nadine yelled after us, “Thanks again laaaadies.”
While heading for the car, my feisty aunt’s “unbelievables” continued and my quietly sarcastic aunt said, “Nadine must really enjoy her job as ball girl.”
My feisty aunt immediately responded (while laughing), “Yea…hey wait, let Cindy see how they play.”
We all stopped walking and turned around to watch these numb nuts’ playing skills, which even I can say was particularly painful. I mean, as I said, I do get in a few good hits. But there was Nadine in her professional tennis attire and shiny racket, looking like a pinball, running around picking up dead balls — during play. Pop flies were going on. Swings and misses. Jesus Christ, we had just walked off the court, and they had managed to go through what looked like forty freaking tennis balls.
And…I was worried?
Are You Serious Right Now?
The next day, we again secured the middle-of-the-road court. At about 8:30 on this day, here comes the Estelle Costanza foursome to the courts. Thank God the last resort court was open, so they would have some place to play and wouldn’t bother us.
Between plays, I noticed that they were doing a lot of standing around by the fence separating our courts. Nadine was talking to the one guy, who I would quickly decide was the big complainer of the group — we’ll call him George Costanza.
A few seconds later I hear, “Laaaaaadies, are you going to be leaving soon?”
I’m thinking: What the fuck? Are you serious? How about you just play there until we leave? I don’t understand the whole disruption thing. At the same time, my quietly sarcastic aunt mumbled, “Geeeez.”
My feisty aunt — growing 2′ this time – answered, “Well, Nadine, we got here at 8:10, so I would say we’ll be here until at least ten after 9.”
Of course we made sure to take a break at that point to discuss their rudeness and then proceeded to play until 9:15 a.m. Always five minutes longer just out of spite.
The George Costanza Moment
On the next day, I missed the ending to this Seinfeld Aruba episode because I did yoga instead of tennis.
Apparently, after my feisty aunt let the information slip the day before on what time they usually arrive to the courts, George Costanza decided to set his alarm.
I say this because it just so happened that on this day, my aunts were arriving to the court at 8 a.m., a little earlier than normal. My quietly sarcastic aunt saw George walking down to the tennis courts, alone, to evidently hold the last resort court — all others being taken — for the rest of the group.
He caught a glimpse of her at the same time, and the both of them took off running to get the court first! This sent my feisty aunt into a fit of laughter.
But alas, my quietly sarcastic aunt gave up, saying later, “I wasn’t going to twist my ankle to get a tennis court.”
So they got into their rental car and drove about three minutes down the street to the brand new tennis courts at another hotel. Of course, these are tennis courts to which my aunts do not have legitimate access. This means that they have to stand at the gate and act like they are swiping their room card in the card key until someone lets them in thinking their card isn’t working properly.
If this was truly a Seinfeld episode, I’m sure that the story could go on to involve the hotel tennis pro who perhaps would have figured out they didn’t belong there, followed by some kind of run-in with law enforcement. Their luck was better than the cast of Seinfeld, however, as they enjoyed a leisurely, non-laaaaadies-interrupted game of tennis.
George, on the other hand, must have met with a stroke of bad luck. Maybe he moved too quick when he sprinted to the courts and ended up with some type of body pain. Or maybe he did twist his ankle. Whatever happened, my aunts did not see the foursome at the courts for the rest of the week.
We — my feisty aunt and I — did, however, see Nadine, who — I will remind you — is a condo owner. Condo owners do not have access to resort food and drink amenities, and Nadine was helping herself to the free coffee for resort guests only. Upon seeing her do this, as we walked through from the workout facility, my aunt yelled, “Heeyy! That’s not for you!”
This sent Nadine spinning around to find out who was calling her out. She said nothing after she saw us. Just stared at us with this guilty look on her face. My aunt and I laughed all the way back to her condo pool…
where Cosmo Kramer was up to no good.
Find out in the next post.