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Belatedly ...

Translate, if you can, though I guess you might not, at least, not for a while, not now anyways, but then someday, perhaps, perhaps not until ... well, that would give it away, now wouldn't it, and that would be cheating.

The easiest game to win is when someone doesn't even know they're playing. For example, on a whim, on a busy street in DC during the lunch hour, I suddenly stopped, patted someone on the shoulder and yelled, "TAG! YOU'RE IT!" I took off running, watching over my shoulder the face of the most surprised person in the entire block. Fifteen children formerly categorized as "being good" started to giggle maniacally and hide from IT. Only one other adult ran, and I'm not sure if he was playing or just freaked. Obviously, this is not the kind of thing to do at night. And yes, this was well before the Nike ads about world tag, so I might've tagged an advertising executive. Still, it's not the kind of thing you tell everyone. Hi, I've play games with strange lawyers in the street. Some people are permanently "not playing". The converse is also true. Take a one-on-one contest in the midst of a bunch of players ... and your real opponent might never know they're in the game, or think you just lost to someone else.

But I seriously digressed. It's more that the games can provide the side-stepping I sometimes need to do the difficult. Adds a twist of fun to the pain, the spoonful of sugar to the medicine. And even if I obscure my own point, I feel better. Like to admit ignorance and apologize for unintended injury. In public, or at least in front of anyone listening after getting their attention. I may not name the parties involved, and they may never know, but they could infer, if they knew my frame of reference.

I'm almost too much of a one-on-one person. It's more than that and less than that, I think. Closer to true would be that I'm a very tight-knit kind of person. What I consider a friend, some would consider close. That's just my nature, but then that itself is something I'm still defining. Where do I need to draw lines, if any must be drawn? How will each of them (and you) respond?

That's the enigma. I'm carefree and careful at the same time. I can force a mistake out of my head, but I can't forget it. The worst ones I've made still haunt me. Every day I do enough right to cover my wrongs, but once you've convinced yourself you can be that darn good the little slips can be a fuss, even if they do mean more to me than anyone else. And it's impossible to put things out of my mind if someone else is bringing it up. So the games, the obscurity, it is definitely a ploy, but not a play for attention. Much the reverse. To play it down, sell it short, and try to avoid the big deal under a pile of trickery.

Then when the point gets across, it's more likely to take some time, and I won't get called on the carpet immediately. And when someone isn't certain they've gotten the real message, they'll check back to make sure, usually in private. There's the end result I look for. Salvage a little dignity that way. Granted, anyone could turn me in at that point and ruin the whole charade, but rare indeed is the person willing to play the game and turn that on me.

And all that is a lot more than I expected to say. One more paradox for the pookah. I'm wise about my idiocy, use high drama to stay low drama, and put the answer to the puzzle in the first piece you look at.

If I'm lucky, you'll read this twice, and with the armed knowledge of the first reading, pick up the second meaning. There is no secret pookah decoder ring, but there is a plot untwist at the end. That anyone can guess, and some will have a better chance than others, but only you'll know, because it was especially unspecial to everyone else.

But if you do get it, will I know? Or, figuring out the game, will you decide you're not playing? Or is the game itself enough to run you off? I don't think so, or I'd never have pulled the cover off the machine, which is as much of a lesson as the message. Get the wrong message, and I'll regret the whole thing. It is all here, though.

Nothing changes perspective like the knowing wink.

- Pookah


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 14th, 2001 01:48 pm (UTC)

The only thing I get out of that is secret.
other than the fact that the first thing I looked at was the title.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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