Monday, May 11, 2009

Meet Petra

As it turns out, one shitty couchsurfer cannot defeat the combined luck of Kat and I, and everything turned out peachy in Georgia.  We got in touch with a very friendly and hospitable tank gunner, one of the most active couchsurfers in Savannah.  We spent a few days at his house, which all went something like this: he would get up at 5 or 6, go do something productive until noon, and come home when we were waking up.  He would then *cook us breakfast* and take us to the beach, or the barbecue cookout, or wherever.  Thanks Fernando!  We love you even though you make us feel inadequate.

While we were there, he hosted another couchsurfer, Petra.  Petra is a powerful-looking woman with a big kid smile, a professional tennis player ranked 238th in the world.  She's Slovenian, and bald.  Her routine is something like this: she goes to a tournament, where she makes a few hundred or thousand dollars, depending on how things go.  She stays at a couchsurfer's house while she's in town.  Then she drives to the next tournament, two or three states away.

I thought it sounded like a really unusual life, so I asked her more about it.  She doesn't have a home base, or own anything besides what's in her car.  Her closest friends are her fellow athletes: she meets the same players at every stop in the circuit, and she's become friends ("but not best friends") with some of them.  Her dating life seems to have suffered -- her last serious relationship was several years ago -- but her attitude on the subject is that she doesn't really miss it, because it's not her focus.

Her focus is tennis.  She loves that game more than I think I've loved anything.  She practices intensely, running long distances along the beach, or the riverside, or whatever is scenic in the town she happens to be in.  She takes a week every now and then to practice 8 hours a day on the courts.  Whenever she talks about the subject she gets really excited and exaggerates her vowels in a particularly eastern european way.

What's most remarkable to me is how calm and happy she is.  I don't think I'd be able to live like she does, but it seems to work for her.  She credits her spirituality -- she discovered a meditation center some years ago, and heads over for a weeklong seminar every now and then.  She says that people who've known her over the years say that she's become much more at peace.

I wonder if/when she's going to settle down.  I touched on this, and she did seem pretty wistful about the idea.  In a surprising moment, she talked about how idyllic she finds the idea of being a tennis coach and having an apartment and steady life.  Maybe I'll run into her a few years down the road, living the 9-5 dream.


  1. I'm inspired by Petra's meditation that is creating peace. It sounds like she had many "hair pulling" experiences previously.

    You and Kat found peace via the internet and Fernando. What a find!

  2. hey there. So sorry i missed your show. I wrecked my car in Kroger parking lot and don't often venture to mlk because i got car jacked at gunpoint not too long ago. I really hope our paths cross someday:) where are you now?