Thursday, April 15, 2010

Map Game

Materials needed: Large world map, geographical ignorance, friends

  1.  One player is selected, preferably one with little to no knowledge of geography
  2. Selected player is positioned 3 feet away from world map, which should be hung on the wall
  3. Other players choose a state or country at random, shouting it out as it occurs to them
  4. Selected player must then locate such country or state as quickly as possible

 Scoring: Selected player earns one point each time he or she correctly points out the voiced location in under 1 minute. Player loses one point if location is spotted after 1 minute or if he or she is looking in an absurdly wrong part of the map (ie searching for California in the vicinity of Rome). Negative points may be accrued.

I realize that this game perhaps would be considered rather simplistic when played at the college-level, however, I assure you, it has provided many hours of glee during my sophmore year.  Seeing as I was always the selected player and keeping in mind that I thought Chicago was a state until the age of 16, this game was created by my roommate and hence the fun began.  I don’t believe I ever had a final score over zero but the hilarity that ensued – mostly for my audience of friends – made the game worth it.

 I can’t figure out how it is that I have such little comprehension of what the world we live in looks like. I’m not a visual person – when someone is giving me directions, I need the words rather than a map.  And when mapquest shows me the map of my route, I find myself turning summersaults with my head trying to figure out which way I need to turn (not recommended while driving.) 

Still, when my roommate’s five year old cousin creamed me at the map game, it occurs to me that there may be some holes in my education. Not that I did anything about it, but admitting you have a problem is the first step!

But this morning, I miss the map. I miss the game and the friends and the laughter too, but mostly, I just miss the map. It’s one of those mornings where I would like to glance at a map, close my eyes and point to a spot, and then just escape there.  A vacation from my life where preferably my baggage of worries and stress is lost by the airlines. 

I know – in the grand scheme of things, I have a rich man’s problems (without the wealth!).  No one is dying (knock on wood), I have a place to call home, food to eat, friends for company, and a family whom I love. I can walk to the library and the sun is shining.  So really, nothing life-shattering.  But it’s those little stresses, those daily irritations that start to build up leaving an air of displeasure on my morning. Not having a job, annoying calls from Verizon about an account no longer in my name, shuffling doctor’s appointments and filling prescriptions, inability to find a crystal ball to figure out what’s ailing me…

Nothing has changed from yesterday, and yet today it takes more work to shrug off the small grievances in order to appreciate the day.  I’m missing new eyes this morning and I just haven’t remembered where I left them. I try a gratitude list: carrie, Julie h, mom, dad, benj, a blanket on loan covered by the right fur, warm weather, my own apartment…nope, still haven’t found those new eyes for the day.

And so it goes  - some days are better than others. Some days are easier than others. And some days are just grey.  This doesn’t sit well with me. I tend to be a tad black and white…ok, that’s a lie. I tend to be extremely, over-the-top black and white. If I feel off, I want there to be a damn good reason – something I can point to and blame. Something I can know to avoid or work on. It’s the days that are just blah that get under my skin because there’s nothing really wrong, so there’s nothing I know to fix to make it better.  And I’m working on moving into the grey, really I am. However, like most life lessons that I have to learn, I have a very slow learning curve with this one. Not so much baby steps as snail steps, and with patience not being one of my strongest suits, I want to force things along.  Just be happier self! Snap out of it! Appreciate the day and it’s beauty!  Ah, obviously I also haven’t learned that berating myself into joy isn’t the most effective tool.

This I know – the more I struggle against the grey, the more it persists. So instead of trying to change the moment, the plan is to be in it, and maybe the next hour will be different.

Still, if I don’t answer my phone, I just might be on my way to Tahiti….if only I could find it on the map…

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