Friday, July 29, 2016
Man, Don't Get Annoyed
This past spring, my friend taught me to play Mensch, Argere Dich Nicht (Man, Don't Get Annoyed). We played the game very often, and I learned a lot from it. (A post about that: Leaping Into the Pool of Grace.) She sometimes plays the game against herself, and I've learned to do that, too. It's almost a meditative thing playing the game alone--watching how the odd combination of luck and strategy turns out; it's impossible to predict even until the last roll of the dice.
That's what I was doing this morning with my glass board version of the game (glass again! more here: Playing the Glass Game) as I sat at my dining table drinking a large mug of British Breakfast Tea.
As I played the game, my gaze was diverted often to the kitchen and I was annoyed at the sight of my own shortcomings. There was a bag of flour on one counter, potatoes on the other--just where I left them yesterday when I came home from the grocery. The sink was full of unwashed dishes because, predictably, I forgot to turn on the dishwasher yesterday and there was no room left to put anything else in it until I did. The floor wants washing, and I suspect that I forgot to put a clean bag in the trashcan after I took the garbage out last night. There's a big bowl of stuff to compost that is waiting to be sent outside. And the refrigerator needs defrosting. There's so much other stuff I want to do like painting the walls and the cabinets and the dining chairs and.....
I began to feel a bit grumbly about it all. Too much. Sometimes it's all too much. Why was I playing a game while there was a wreck facing me just a few feet away? Mensch, Argere Dich Nicht. How appropriate. It's amazing how easy it is to find many so sticks to beat oneself with.
As I sat there, I began to think of the many kitchens it has been my good fortune to visit--some tidy, some not; some prettily decorative, some entirely without any redeeming features; some welcoming, some unfriendly. And I realized that it was the last thought that was the most important: what makes one place friendlier and kinder and warmer than another? It's all down to the people who inhabit it. I can (and should!) be grateful for my own space, dirty dishes and all. At least I have dishes to dirty and food the dirty them with. I am fortunate indeed.
It won't really take so very long to tidy up, and there's not so very much to do. Painting will happen when it happens. In the meanwhile, my small kitchen is a good place where I can make interesting things happen (like Crave-y Gravy!) and there's a table where I can sit to dream dreams and play the game and remember friends.
Life is good.
.....Interesting article about Mensch, Argere Dich Nicht from the BBC: The Game That Flourished in WW1 Trenches.