Saturday, June 14, 2008

Cards in the hand

The other morning I found myself teaching my young son how to play solitaire on my Ipod Nano, he picked it up and wanted to know what games were on it, not even considering that an electronic device might exist for some purpose other than play. I kept telling him it would be easier with a real deck of cards but he was enamored of the tiny device, the clickwheel, the way that it automatically moves the cards around on the screen. He grasped it quicker than I expected he would (as per usual) and I sighed, wistful for he summer days when my gammy and I would go head to head with stacks of cards for hours on end.

I don't ever remember playing any games against my gammy, always just alongside her. We'd each play solitaire, sometimes klondike but often other versions too. Chatting and joking, pointing out missed plays to each other. She taught me how to shuffle and make a bridge with the cards, a skill I still perform with a flourish.

I've played solitaire on the computer, on my phone, and on my ipod. But nothing is really as satisfying as spreading those cards out, the snapping sound they make against each other and on the table, the clacking as you hit the sides and turn them face up to see how they've re-ordered themselves as the game progresses. The satisfaction of watching the ace piles get thicker. And the cleansing purge of shuffling them all together again at the end, wiping out the failed attempt and starting over. With real cards there aren't any high scores to compare yourself to, only that game, in that moment. I think maybe there's something to that.