The Graduate was on TV the other night in honor of director Mike Nichols who recently passed away. I've probably seen it a dozen times. When I first saw it, I was eight years younger than Ben, the Dustin Hoffman character. He seemed so grown up and sophisticated to me at the time, Mrs. Robinson so old, broken down and pathetic. Now I watch it and not only does Ben seem like a baby, but Mrs. Robinson is gorgeous! She's young - Anne Bancroft was only 36 years old - and totally fabulous looking!
Your perspective changes as you get older and I was thinking about that playing bridge yesterday at the Bridge Center. I remember getting so nervous before playing my stomach would hurt. I would go through the rules and conventions in my head before the game, stretch out my hands and do a few neck rolls (those last two things I just made up).
And of course playing against some of the really good players can be so intimidating. There's one person in particular at the Center who is very skilled. When I play against him, my palms sweat. He bids and plays fast because he thinks fast. When it's your turn to bid or play, he's impatient. He taps his finger on the table while he's waiting and sometimes shifts in his seat. These gestures would make me hurry and feel as if I were not a player worthy of his time, because, of course, I'm not as good as he.
But yesterday when he sat at our table and played against us, I forgot that he made me nervous. I was concentrating on my hand and didn't notice his restless gestures. My partner and I played two hands against him and his partner. We made our contract in the first hand and set their contract in the second hand.
When they moved to the next table, my partner said, "He's rude, the way he taps that finger." It hit me that just because someone is a way better player than you, that doesn't mean they get a pass on being rude. I discovered his arrogance said nothing about me as a player but spoke volumes about him.
I also discovered if you're ever feeling old and broken down, just wait 47 years. Then you'll see how fabulous you really were!