After I purchased my first racket and a cute outfit, even new tennis shoes with socks that matched my skirt and panties, I signed up for my first lesson at the local park. The instructor had been teaching for years, and my husband had praised the man's abilities.
On my first lesson, I noticed that the other players all had more skills than I did. And they would nod knowingly to all the adjustments and posturing the teacher would suggest while I felt totally out of my comfort zone. Still, how hard could it be to hit a ball across the net in a certain spot and move a few feet back and forth and sideways?
I got nothing of the theory and physics of the sport, how holding the racket a certain way, and attacking the ball at a certain angle would cause the ball to spin and land in a certain spot. The entire experience was more a series of stretching exercises in a cute costume! I missed returning the ball ninety eight out of one hundred. The two balls I didn't miss were the ones the teacher had basically placed in the spot where I was standing, waiting for them. I never got the skill of hitting the ball overhead to start the game, finding the posture way too difficult for me.
What I did get out of the classes was two things: I was totally uncoordinated for that sport; and I was totally dense in the understanding of all the physics laws involved even though the coach kept elaborating and demonstrating each movement in slow motion. Tennis was a foreign language, and not even the best racket and the most detailed instructions could be assimilated in the course of six weeks. I never thought of my body as uncoordinated before. But trying to move after a ball brought the concept of "aging body" close to home. In my twenties!
I put the costume away and didn't think about tennis for ages until we moved to the current address, forty years later, and sixty miles from any Chinese restaurants. My desire for Chinese foods, however, was immediate. Though I had never tried to cook Chinese dishes before, though Chinese cuisine is my favorite.
Within months, I began to purchase cookbooks, bought a wok from Le Creuset, and tried some recipes. Nothing I cooked tasted as good as the stuff I had had at Chinese restaurants. I kept trying for a while. Every dish tasted the same as the one we had the week before. I was missing something, maybe a secret ingredient, or a technique, or... Frustrated I gave the wok to my daughter who promised to give it a prominent place in her vegetarian kitchen.
Darn, I thought. This feels just like my tennis experience.
A few years later, my husband announced that he was going to cook Chinese dishes and where was that wok we paid so much money for?