Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Forty minutes of my life I'll never get back

I recall a Scrabble tournament I was in about 25 years ago. On the first day, I got the starting time wrong, and when I finally, exhaustedly, cursingly, burst through the hotel ballroom doors, fifty minutes late, there was my opponent, a prim lady sitting at a board with but a single word on it: YODEL. That's fifty minutes of her life she'll never get back. I don't remember if she had a book with her, or maybe her knitting, or if she simply spent the hour, between glances at her watch, contemplating the cosmic YODEL. ("little old lady who?")

Anyway, I was thinking about my own experiences with misspent or strangely spent time yesterday, and the fine line between deeming them worth the life they've used up or not.

A week or two ago I came upon my son in his room with a crowd of Dungeons and Dragons miniatures assembled on the floor. A bit of a jolt, seeing your 15-year-old playing with plastic monsters and demons again. "That brings back a lot of memories," I said carefully. "Yes," he replied. "I'm selling them on EBay." Oh; right.

And indeed, the following day he set up a tabletop photo session, adjusting the light, improving the angle, etc.; composed his text for maximum allure; uploaded the works and waited for the bids to come rolling in. Which they did, in spades, topped at last by some lucky guy in Alpharetta, Georgia.

So, cut to the Arlington Post Office on Monday. Matt's on the Cape, entrusting his parents to box and pack 130 D&D critters of various sizes and threats, from Noble Salamander to Greenspawn Razorfiend. We selected a box, borrowed a scissors from the obliging postmaster, and purchased two rolls of blue bubblewrap. Then we completely took over the leftmost counter with an operation worthy of "Chicago Hope." Carol was chief surgeon. I was the tape-roll nurse, occasionally pausing to swab her forehead. She expertly cut the wrap into individual sections to accommodate big suckers like, say, Eldritch Giant, or fragile dudes (don't say that to his face) like Demonic Gnoll Archer. Then we made up bivouacs for small armies of little nasties like Wererat Rogue and Witchknife.

Occasionally other customers tried to horn in on our operating table. We sighed stertorously behind our masks, irritably sweeping away scraps of bubble-wrap and curls of tape. They completed their business in a hurry.

Finally, one more layer of clear bubble wrap for prophylaxis, seal the box, present it to the postmistress along with borrowed scissors and various bubble wrap bar codes, and off they go. Good luck, Ogre Executioner. Safe trip, Doomfist Monk.

I suppose there's a third category between time wasted and time worth spending: time wasted worth wasting more time writing about.

Remember us, Ratswarm.

1 comment:

  1. I recall with a cringe the day I realized I was "too old" to "still" be playing with my Star Wars dudes. It was later than I'd like to admit....