Its early on a Sunday and the room is almost empty. I picked my favorite table...in the middle of the room, with tighter, but not the tightest pockets. One side has seating in between it and the next table, so its good for drills. I'm working on a one-rail position drill. I'm shooting pretty well, but I've been a little unfocused...and I'm really trying to get back on track.
Then, this guy I've never seen before hovers over my table (this hasn't happened in a long time):
Mosquito: "How you doing?"
Me: "Um, I'm fine"
Mosquito: "You ever hear of a game called one-pocket?"
Oh sweet lord. Really? Really? If I were playing in a bar, this would be a perfectly reasonable question, but in a pool hall, where I'm clearly a regular, that holds a monthly one-pocket tournament?
I answer "Yes. If you're looking for a game, you should ask for Billy." He says something more but I've returned to my drill. He walks away, but I suspect what is coming next.
There are at least 10 tables available. With a whole room of tables, my new friend, mosquito, decides to take the one closest to me.
I never look over at the table, unless I'm checking to see if I will interfere with his shot. The whole time though, I feel like he's trying to get my attention. Everything he does, his warm up strokes, his comments to himself, somehow I feel like he's performing for my benefit.
It turns out he had a pre-arranged game and eventually the other guy shows up. I start to think that maybe I was wrong, and I'm just full of myself. It also occurs to me that I'm hungry and my blood sugar is low, and I should probably give up on practice and get food. I play for a little longer and then start to pack up.
Immediately, mosquito turns around (in the middle of his rack):
Mosquito: "Where you going? Its too early to leave!"
Me: "I've got lots to do."
Mosquito: "No, no, its too early. What you going to do now?"
Me: "Stuff. I was lucky to find time to come down here in the first place."
Mosquito: "Well, that's my kind of woman who comes down on a Sunday to shoot pool..blah, blah"
What am I supposed to say? Gee, lucky me, cuz that's the reason I came down to shoot pool in the first place...I ignore the comment.
Mosquito: "So, do you know any bars in the City that are good for pool?"
Me: [I give him the name of a good pool bar that I never go to.]
Mosquito: "Do you go there?"
Me: "No." And I leave, unfortunately, with the sense that he was not discouraged.
In a world where there exist violent dictators, serial gropers, and American Idol, this is not the worst thing going on. When this kind of thing happens in a bar, so be it, or even the bus, which is a public place after all. Its annoying, but I can cope. But in the pool hall, as expected as it is, it just offends me. Pool is a sanctuary of sorts for me, and its a sanctuary that I pay for by the hour. Please let me practice in peace!
I'm fortunate, as this hasn't happened in a long time. There used to be one or two regulars who were a problem, but I haven't seen them in awhile, and even they got the idea that I wasn't interested in being chatted up and left me alone.
I guess its back to the corner table with the buckets for awhile...