Thursday, October 21, 2004

Trip Journal -- Day Five, Fourth Entry

13 Oct. 2004 (still)

I am retiring from Scrabble.

Yesterday, a fellow passenger peer pressured me into a game.  I'm a fair player at best.  I haven't had a game of Scrabble since before Law School; I don't have a list of a hundred 2-letter words at my fingertips; and whenever I did play, it was always the friendly type of game where there were no challenges and you could look in the dictionary whenever you damn well pleased.

This here, on the other hand, was by-the-rules, go-on-and-challenge-me-if-you-don't-think-it's-a-word Scrabble, and I was in over my head.

I actually didn't do so bad, losing by something like ten points.  And this only because:  I had good tiles; I got a very lucky play; and there was a third person in the game.  My main competition, a passenger named Gerde, is someone who I could never beat one-on-one.  But the third person kept opening spaces on the board and leaving plays I could take advantage of -- which Gerde never would have given me.

So, really, it was not the slaughter it should have been.  Several of the other passengers (including Andrew, of monopod fame) gave me a good-natured ribbing for losing to someone whose language isn't English -- but, really, I considered myself lucky to lose with dignity.

Besides, my game improved just by playing with Gerde, and I told her so.  When you're playing friendly Scrabble, like I used to, you just play your tiles -- you don't try to screw the other guy.  Gerde played offense and defense.  And she worked them multiplier squares.

One thing I'll say for me -- I'm a quick study.  Gerde found me this morning and wanted another game.  This time, we had two other players (thank goodness).  I had reasonably good tiles, some extraordinary luck and, ultimately, the best Scrabble game of my life.  I also had a close, yet decisive, victory.

Gerde asked for another game and I demurred.  I shook her hand, happy to have come out of things with a split decision, and "retired" from the game for the duration of the cruise.

Funny enough, I ended up having a couple meals with Gerde and her husband.  They're a nice couple and have been almost surprisingly friendly.  I felt like I'd passed some sort of test once Gerde found me a worthy Scrabble opponent.

Ultimately, the Scrabble was a good thing.  I'd dreaded playing Gerde at first -- because I hate appearing ignorant and (having watched her play) I was pretty sure I wouldn't come out in the best light if we played.  But I ended up finding out that underneath her competitive exterior, she's really quite a nice, warm person who I'm looking forward to spending more time with.

Just not over a Scrabble board.

1 comment:

st0rmwhispers said...

Sounds like you are really having a blast...

I know a few white-water-rafters around here...Y'all live for danger!  In South Bend they have the EAST RACE  for rafting...I guess its a pretty big deal ( )  You can check out the link if you like.

Keep having fun!