A week ago I went on a painting rampage. As usual, the paint was white. I don't know why, but I just love white, and nothing else seems to make me happy.
For instance, this white slipcover. Considering that it's supposed to protect the couch, it probably doesn't stand much of a chance. One week into its job and it already has chocolate and hair all over it. Oh well.
All whiteness in the living room is countered by the extremely colorful kitchen. Note the peacock picture: I am obsessed. We saw some male peacocks at the Willow Park Zoo and I was completely mesmerized. I've seen them before but I find it spectacular that nature created something with such magnificent color. I was drinking them in and trying to figure out how I could replicate Peacock blue and emerald green in my home, but unfortunately I have not yet found a way.
Growing up I always loved games.
I remember wandering around my house, begging someone-- anyone-- to play Bernstein Bear's Nature Walk with me, or Sorry! or 13 Dead End Drive. "No, no...not now," my mom would say to me, shooing me out of the kitchen as she prepared dinner. I often played Uno with Koseli, but she always won every game, and would grin wickedly at me from across the table. My constant losses instilled in me a sense of deepening shame-- play? No. Win? I must!
In sixth grade I went through a small obsession with the game of chess, of which both my father and my best friend Kathy indulged me. My dad was good, but because Kathy and my skills were identically poor, neither of us were able to put the other's king in checkmate. Foolishly, we once embarked on a game played solely by our kings, the futility of which took us much longer than it should have to realize.
Because of my limited experience with games, they began to evolve into a hated thing-- the dreaded culmination to a single's ward party. An interminable evening spent in misery and boredom at the bottom of the food chain in Scum. The cheerily shouted words, "Let's play a game!" were inevitably followed by a sinking feeling in my stomach. Though I immediately liked Jason's family, it frightened me when I realized they are connoisseurs of games. My family simply never played them. I had no practice, and I absolutely refuse to try anything I'm bad at.
My first time playing a card game with Jason's family was with his grandparents. I was on a team with Jason's grandma, and it didn't take long for me to realize how unmatched I was with my partner. My cards were flopping around every which way. My shuffling was a catastrophe. Without her whispered instructions, I would have been utterly lost. She insisted that I use a card holder-- a little plastic contraption designed for small children or very inexperienced players to keep their cards straight-- because I wasn't holding mine right. Nevertheless, both Jason and his grandparents were incredibly kind, and I found myself laughing while we played. The allure of games began to unveil itself to me.
Jason loves seeing his brothers because they understand worlds more about games than I do-- worlds, that is, that are crawling with ninjas, assassins, orcs and super-soldiers. While I don't mind watching a video game in progress, I have never had enough guts to actually play one. When Jason bought the game Oblivion I spent an hour carefully crafting my character to look as much like me as possible. By the time I was finished choosing her eyebrow width and outfit I was so emotionally invested in the thing I could barely stand to play the game. A giant rat attacked me in the first five minutes and instead of punching the thing in the face, which is what you're supposed to do, I sat on the couch and screamed, my hands clutching my cheeks in horror as the rat bit out great chunks of my character's flesh. While in the past I have frowned darkly on video games, I realize that these, like all hobbies, require a certain amount of talent that I do not posses. Jason has honed his talent into a fine art, on top of which is some kind of deep and unbreakable connection shared by his brothers. No matter where their lives may take them, they will buy Mass Effect 3 when it comes out this year, and it will give them something else to discuss in short sentences over text. Perhaps it's not a deep connection, but when I think on it, it isn't any different than my sisters' shared interest in decorative pillows and small animals, which I consider at times to be quite profound.
During our last couple visits to Jason's parents', we have played only one game, Ticket to Ride. I'm not sure if it's the company, the game itself, or both, but since my sixth grade experimentation with Chess this is the first game I have truly enjoyed. I always come in last, though after a few games my point values have gone from the weight of an incredibly large cat to a baby tiger. I still have a hard time controlling my competitiveness-- swift kicks under the table are evidence to this-- but overall I like to believe that maybe I've grown up. It is only the beginning, but I am starting to understand the subtle harmony between competitiveness and having fun-- the very heart of the reason why people play games. And I'm beginning to suspect it has less to do with winning than I imagined.
The smell of stinky cats filled our kitchen. I sniffed suspiciously. Catching Winston roughly up in my arms I began to inspect his fluffy-cotton paws for remnants of his litterbox. Horrible images drifted in and out of my mind's eye, the paramount vision involving my white couch, rug, and bed splattered in poopy pawprints. As helpless as an un-diapered baby, Winston twisted in my hands and squeaked for freedom. There was nothing. Puzzling over the mysterious stench, I looked up to see Jason raising a shaking finger past my left arm, his face filled with horror. There, plastered to the bottom of the oven was a whole, unsmeared and perfectly intact poop. It levitated several inches above the ground, perched ominously and disgustingly in plain view.
Mouth gaping, the questions in my mind switched lightning quick from how? to why???
Winston officially had his first real accident. But was it an accident? Revenge? Surge of evilness? A plot to undermine my authority? We'll never know.
All I know is that it didn't work.