Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Table Tennis

975 words

Oh my, what a day! Packed full of fun things that went rather well.

After breakfast with my friends, I went straight to that nice photo store where I blew a lot of money on a bunch of photo-related things. Luckily, a significant amount of that money wasn’t my own as I also picked up some films for Richard and a guy in my photo course. In addition to some films, I got some different developer for myself which is supposed to give finer grain and also spent almost a tenner on a small camera battery.

A battery for the Canon AE-1 I got myself off eBay for €25 in an attempt to get a camera that is more reliable than my EF and T-70 which both have problems with their batteries. As I currently have the T-70’s battery compartment in a state where I taped it well enough to actually keep the batteries in and in contact, I do plan to use both the T-70 and the EF, so I can have both high and low ISO films at the same time.

As I am carrying a ludicrously heavy backpack for these few days which contains three cameras (and that’s not counting the MacBook’s iSight), I could pop the new battery and film straight into the AE-1 and start trying the camera out. While not in mint condition, the camera appears to work quite well and I’m curious to see the results I’ll get from these photos. Unfortunately after a week of sunny days, this was a really dark and overcast one, not giving a lot of light for good photos.

After that shopping spree I headed for Potsdam to visit a friend there. Scarily he already has two little kids and was in charge of looking after them for the day. So I joined into that fun. Which I was a bit scared off as many people seem to start being completely obnoxious once they have kids and can’t talk of anything else. Similarly many little kids can be really nerve wrecking. Luckily none of that was the case. Despite having to look after the little ones we could still have a good time taking them for a walk in the park (they had great trampolines there, which are probably more fun for fully grown people than two year old lightweights!) And later on we played with Legos and ‘zoo’ with a set of little animals and wooden blocks to build the cages from.

Fun, but still exhausting I have to admit. So I didn’t mind too much that I was supposed to be back in Berlin after dinner. And after arriving at my friend’s there, we headed off for drinks and after contemplating several possibilities we went to Dr. Pong where there was supposed to be some Almost Tropical music which I was keen to try out as I only came across that site in the pursuit of good taste in music to begin with.

That said, we almost didn’t enter the club to begin with. Their website looks quite slick and stylish, but the place looks like a bit of a dump to be honest (making the web site inadequate in my opinion). It consists of two small rooms, one of them tastefully lit by strip lights, the other with some couches a slightly chaotic bar and the music playing. To be honest, it didn’t look all that accommodating to begin with. But as we went there and found it and it was free to get in, we wanted to try it anyway.

And, oh!, I omitted a crucial detail in the description above: The room with the tasteful strip lights also featured a table tennis table – hence explaining the club’s name. And on that table people played ‘Rundlauf’, a variant of table tennis that’s invented to make many people share a single table (and that everybody seems to have played in primary school). Part of the people queue at one side of the table and the others queue at the other side; the person at the head of the queue as to play the ball; on success he or she moves on to the other queue and the other side of the table – when making a fault, the person has to leave the game. This goes on until only two people are left playing the ‘final’.

Of course that’s quite funny. When starting out with twenty people, things start really slowly, and the time between your own shots seems to be really long. But as the number of participants shrinks, there starts to be some running towards the end. What was really cool, though, was that the people were really nice. Some of them were rather good at table tennis, but still they just played along, not knocking people out just because they could. Just when things started getting more serious with only a few players left, they’d use some of the fiercer shots.

Having not played table tennis at all for many years (and not having played Rundlauf since fifth grade or so), it took us a while to get used to it again, but in the end we managed to stay in the game reasonably well. And after the people who could really play well left, we even managed to make it to the final a few times and even win once or twice. In total, this was a really weird and amazing experience. And while the nice music that was played, wasn’t the main focus, it made things even better. [In addition, I was really amazed that having a room filled with a few dozen people at various levels of drunkenness, a dog and twenty people running around a table didn’t leave us with some little accidents or someone breaking the table tennis ball by accident.]

December 10, 2006, 9:16

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