How I Learned to Stop Hating the Things I Never Used Washingtoniancom

“Within the 480 square feet of apartment I share with my stuff and my husband, there lives a closet. In that closet is a shelf and, on that shelf, shame, concealed like the deepest matryoshka doll. My shame, though, is not a doll. It takes the form of two te
is rackets stuffed into a single case. Itu2019s a hammock thatu2019s been used twice. Itu2019s two sets of snorkeling gear, a very nice camera, a loom, and a ukulele. My shame is the guitar that resides on the bedroom floor because itu2019s too big for the closetu2014so small, in fact, that I use childrenu2019s hangers to stow my coats, shoulders drooping.
I hate opening that closet. Everything inside reminds me of something that at one point I really wanted to do or be but still basically canu2019t. Itu2019s a closet of nostalgia and defeat and a vacuum cleaner, three of my least favorite things.
It was my husband, Samir, who insisted we take up te
is. Because the kind of ru
ing involved is difficult to appreciate on television, where the court looks modest and conquerableu2014like Pong for PS4, the otherwise unathletic can delude themselves into thinking theyu2019ll be able play it. I reserved a court near a friendu2019s house for mixed doubles. We didnu2019t even own rackets yet.
We do own rackets now. Not bottom-grade, begi
er rackets, because Samir thought those would be a waste of money and maybe even of our talent. u201cWe wonu2019t know if weu2019re any good if we donu2019t have the right equipment,u201d he said.
I knew right then, standing on the fourth floor of the cavernous sports store, that we werenu2019t any good, but the price difference was less than $50 and I had learned by that point not to pick fights over sums less than $50. The friend we were meant to play brought his girlfriend to the court, and she clearly set a higher threshold. They wore te
is whites. They swung Babolats.
Our Adams Morgan shoebox is less than two blocks from public, floodlit courts. We walk by sometimes and marvel at how good people can be at te
is. u201cWe could still play if you wanted,u201d I encourage.
u201cWe donu2019t have any te
is balls,u201d Samir says, and we go to di
er instead.
On the corner of 19th and S, a man sells his things on the weekends. Dusty portraits on stretched canvas, small pieces of antique-looking furniture he doesnu2019t want or needu2014a grab bag of decorative miscellany that suggests his home is a warren of candlelit rooms overflowing with first editions.
A friend recently showed me the set of sheathed daggers heu2019d mounted above his futon, which is really the most ominous thing you can do to a futon. I didnu2019t sit. u201cThose are jambia from Yemen,u201d he said. u201cThose are going to be worth money.u201d”

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