Five Hundred

13 July 2002

I got my first birthday present yesterday! And no, I don't know what it is. It's not my birthday yet, and some members of my family are morally opposed to opening birthday presents before the birthday. But Timprov opened it to make sure it had a birthday gift note in it. It did, from Sarah, and the box is taped shut again and sitting in front of the stereo, which is the official location for birthday presents in this apartment. (In the old apartment, it was on top of the TV, in front of the dresser, or wherever we could fit them. The old apartment was small. At my folks' house, it's either the dining room table or the hearth.)

I also got a box from Cal and Bobbie and thought it was a birthday present. But I asked, and it wasn't, it was croutons! Yaaaaay croutons! I'm glad I asked. Because unbirthday presents of croutons are much appreciated. Sourdough Cheese Pepperidge Farm. Yum.

It now feels like my birthday is coming up. I love squirmy birthday anticipation. There's stuff to get me from here to there, see. There's "Spiderman" with Amber at her speakeasy theater. I'm not sure what makes it a speakeasy, but that's what it says on the front page of the website itself. They serve food and drinks, including booze, and we'll be watching the movie on couches. We've never been before, but Amber loves it, so I'm looking forward. That's this afternoon. Next Wednesday is the They Might Be Giants concert, and some form of writers' group meeting is alleged to be Thursday. (We're not yet sure if we have any stories or if we'll just be talking shop. I have no stories to give them. I'm writing this book very very hard. Any stories that come out will be very short and accidental. I'm getting a backlog of short story ideas, but that happens when I'm working hard on a novel. That's why I have periods of clearing the decks before I get to going hard on another novel.) Then the next week, we'll have all kinds of errands, taking Mark to the airport (he's going to Denver for the day for work), picking up the bottom half of my bridesmaid's dress from the seamstress, and so on, and then it's my birthday.

And I have a birthday present sitting right here. If I had not been virtuous, I would have opened it when it arrived. So it's definitely birthday time.

Yesterday was a three-rejection day, so I've got stuff headed back out again. Hope springs etc. I've been reading bits and pieces of Lasky's The Hungarian Revolution at a time -- it's a collection of documentation from the time, and while it's useful and interesting, it's a bit much to absorb all at once while pondering its impact on the section of my plot and characters that has to do with the '56 Uprising. So I read the new Analog -- the September Analog. It is July. And the September Analog is in my hands. And I have nothing in it, so it's not special advanced copy of any kind. Strange are the ways of magazines. Ah well. After the Analog, I started reading Susan Matthews' Angel of Destruction, and I have to be very careful, because I think I want it to be something entirely different. Every time the main character from her other books pops up, I think, "ooh ooh, yeah, talk about him." But this is not his book. It'll be interesting anyway. I hope.

I've been feeling scattered and easily distracted for the last day or so. I'm trying not to be cranky or annoying about it. I have no idea how well that's working. (Right now Timprov is in his room reading baseball news and Mark is still asleep. So if I'm annoying anyone, it's probably me.) While "Spiderman" wasn't high on my list of movies to see (it's at the right place at the right time, and it's $3/person), it's probably not a bad choice for a scattery day, if I can't get focused before then. I just feel like I've left bits of my brain around the apartment.

You know what this mood is perfect for? Five Hundred. I haven't played Five Hundred in so long. We played it constantly at the end of my junior year and beginning of my senior year. We even got the special deck so we could play six-player, which we almost never did, because like anything but four-player, it was pretty sucky. Five Hundred was the ideal game. You could almost always find three people who wanted to procrastinate from homework or didn't have any, and you had time for a game between dinner and tutoring or whatever else you had to do. And once you had three, it was a simple matter of peer pressure, whining, waking people up, and well-placed phone calls to get a fourth. We got wild and crazy. Troy and Matt and Slacker overbid their partners' ten bids. They instituted Suicide Five Hundred, where you had to bid 10 of something or Double Noola. ("What's the craziest thing you did in college, M'ris?" "Well, I think I went Double Noola with two Aces and a King once.") We eventually got tired of it and played Spades and Hearts and drifted away from cards a bit at a time. I haven't been in the mood to play Five Hundred in probably three years. Maybe a bit more than that. But it seems like the perfect activity for this morning.

Anybody want to be a fourth?

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