DJ’s down in NPR has an all day special that allows one to play from opening until 7 PM for a scant $5. Not a bad deal for those who have the time. Unless I run into someone willing to play a couple cheap sets, however, I am usually content to play a half hour or so by myself. All I want to do, really, is get a feel for the Simonis cloth which is very unlike what I play on in the bars or in the game room of the fogey farm where I live and practice.
So, I go down DJ’s yesterday and at first glance it seems that only three of the eight tables are in use. Picture a three row arrangement with three tables in each row, then pluck out one of the corner tables. That’s DJ’s. Anyway, I point to table three and ask if could play on it. No, says the blond, that’s so-and-so’s table. “Where is he?” I ask. Playing on table two with Joe Shmoe, she replies. “So, I can’t play there.” No, he paid for the table, so it’s his.
I look over at table 5 and notice a case laying on it. “What about table 5?” I ask. “That’s taken.” It seems that whoever had taken it, had paid his five bucks and scrammed. Balls were racked up on table 8, but the dude who was in control of that table was sitting at the bar watching television. To make a long story short, I don’t like to play on the center table where you’re surrounded by tables on all sides with no place to lay your stuff or on the table by the door where you’re too often interrupted by people walking in or out not to mention the glare. So, I didn’t play and spent a couple hours shooting the shit about pool, health and cigarette smoking. It’s one thing to let guys play all day for five bucks, but to let them control two tables for the duration is nuts. Theoretically, you could take control of the whole place for forty measly dollars.
Speaking of which, thanks to a couple fortuitous two-rail kick shots, I came in second in Friday night’s gin mill tourney. There was a low turnout, so my prize was only forty bucks, just enough to buy DJ’s for an afternoon. I am playing better, but improvement is still a gradual thing. My shot-making, especially, is a lot better. Plus, I’m trying to use my head more.