A night that wasn’t in the cards

Remember MySpace? I can’t even type that with a straight face. Well, embarrassingly to say, MySpace was the forum used to create my first blog. This blog, sandwiched between creative selfies and Kanye West’s song, Heartless (not really building a case for myself here, am I?), contained one shining and brilliant moment of self-discovery. As brilliant a moment of self-discovery can be at the ripe age of 20, anyway.

In it, I professed my hatred for card games (obviously not classics like Go Fish and Old Maid; I’m not a monster), but especially my extreme loathing of pitch. Not even when I was 80, not even when all my friends – well, those who were left – invited me to play, not even if it was a choice between playing pitch or getting pitched from the game of life would I partake in this ludicrous activity.

My mind was firmly made up.

I hadn’t thought about that blog until recently. You see, I woke up last Sunday with a terrible hangover headache. Everything was a blur – and then – fuzzy recollections of the night before began to enter my brain.

My stomach lurched violently as I began to experience panic mixed with deep regret and shame.

What have I done? I thought, as I sat up straight in bed, rocking back and forth. Shivering, I wrapped my arms tighter around me.

The night had started out innocently enough. Clayton and I were visiting friends out of town, and our plans were to attend the Do the Brew beer sampling event later that afternoon. After sampling countless amounts of ales, blondes and stouts, I’ll admit my standards went down a bit. I wasn’t thinking clearly. A carefree, reckless attitude was certainly present.

After the event, our friends asked if we wanted to go back to their place to, you know, grab some pizza. Have a few more drinks. Just talk.

“Sure,” I naively said. “That sounds great!”

Before I knew what was happening, a pack of cards was placed in front of me on the table, and the suggestion to play pitch hung in the air like a wet blanket on a clothesline.

I shouldn’t. It’s late. I have to work really early tomorrow morning. Is that my phone ringing?

You can only prolong the inevitable so long, and my excuses were falling on deaf ears. Tipsy, deaf ears. The worst ears for declining pitch: the state game of Nebraska.

“I told myself I would never learn…,” I said feebly.

“Come oooon. Just play! It can be our little secret,” they cajoled.

Before I knew what was happening, cards were being dealt in my general direction. Ew. Ick. I tried to brush them away with a shudder, thinking of the people I would disappoint and hurt if I irresponsibly continued this heinous act.

It was all for naught.

I attempted to eject myself from the game with all the effort of someone who tries to politely refuse the last piece of apple pie, even though they secretly, desperately crave it. I couldn’t possibly.

Then,

Oh, no. It’s happening. Just close your eyes.

I played my first hand, letting the cards of failure fall where they may. Then, the thrill of the chase after almost nine years of painstakingly abstaining from the game took over. I felt … liberated.

Sure, I didn’t played my cards right – specifically, because I ended up playing cards, but also because I didn’t yet know all the rules. But the sense of camaraderie I felt, as well as the various card strategies and lingo learned, welcomed me into adulthood. I came out of the whole thing feeling more experienced. More mature. More worldly.

And so, so dirty.

Back to Sunday morning.

You see, my friends had encouraged me to play this game for more than nine years. With love, persistence and plenty of peer pressure, they offered to teach me more times than I can remember. Year after year, I never gave in.

Now I had to tell those very friends the ugly truth that I had learned to play pitch, and that I had learned it without them. I took to Facebook, and was met with the disapproval I expected, but lots of cyber slaps on the back. Following are some of the responses:

1. Yaayyyy for you! 
2. I feel so cheated on.
3. And you don’t regret it either, do you?!
4. Boo!!

I may have lost respect from my best friend and others, but regardless, the training wheels are off. Like it or not, I’m a full grown woman now; well, despite my love of animated movies and staying up past my bedtime.

My friends may be able to forgive me for my shameless behavior in time. Whether I’ll be able to forgive myself is still up in the air, seeing as my careless actions now guarantee myself a spot at the card table whenever the occasion arises.

It’s too soon to tell if pitch is “the one” for me in terms of card games. So far, it’s been a tumultuous love-hate relationship. I guess all I can do is keep testing the waters and keep things casual in case I end up liking another card game more. After all, it’s way too soon to settle down with just one game for the rest of my life.

Spades, anyone?

Marriage is like a deck of cards. In the beginning all you need are two hearts and a diamond. By the end, you wish you had a club and a spade.

4 responses to “A night that wasn’t in the cards

  1. Now that you have crossed over to the pitch side, be sure to savor your time there. Embrace those late night games where you expertly cover your partner’s three (10 point) or steal a trick using the jack (4 point).

    Why?

    Because although those days have just begun for you, they are already numbered. Soon, your friends will have kids – or you will have kids, and those deliciously uncomplicated nights of pitch with your besties turn into “Gee, it’s almost 8:15, and Gavin will only sleep in his own bed” or having to play at a whisper so you don’t wake up baby Lucy.

    My kids are still too young to allow us to enjoy a cards night – my best guess is we’re still 3-4 years away. And I miss it. So much.

    • After playing, my husband said, “See? It’s not really about the card game as much as it is about enjoying time with friends, exchanging stories and memories of the past.”

      I can see what he means, and I’m glad to have finally learned how to play, if not for just the fun lingo. TRICKS! They’re not just for kids. 🙂

      Take the kiddos out fishing. Read them stories! The days will move quickly enough and you’ll be teaching them how to play cards in no time!

  2. MYSPACE!!! You were consistently in my Top 8, even as years passed, you were a top 8 in my book (in “myspace”… (zing?))

    I actually remember reading that one. I am not sure if that’s creepy or not. I am starting to realize that as we get older, remembering small things about friends you were good friends with at some point in your life then bring those things up is creepy. They think you’re super weird for having fond memories of those good times, and then give this look like “ha… yeah, let’s not talk about how we used to be friends, we’re acquaintances now…” Was that just weird there? Saying that?

    Anyway, I remember reading your blog… haha! Heck, I might even be brave enough to say I still read your (non-myspace) blog!

    Anyway, myspace me… (I don’t think we ever said that)

    Weirdo out!

    • CODAH! FRIEND! What a great surprise to find your comment waiting for me after finishing lunch: a huge steaming bowl of soup in the 90 degree weather we are having today. Another checkmark that I don’t always make the best life decisions. 😉

      I think the people who DON’T think back fondly of friends in excruciating detail are the weirdos! Plus, how do you plan practical jokes in the future if you don’t remember their every irrational fear, hope or dream? So, you’re an A+ in my book. Please don’t Punk me.

      Seriously though, hearing from you made my day, and I couldn’t help but burst out laughing when you told me to MySpace you. Lingo before MySpace’s time…

      Speaking of which, I went out to see if it still exists, and it TOTALLY DOES! Should we sign up again? Maybe we can make it cool again. Scratch that. We HAVE THE POWER to make it cool again! As long as that power doesn’t include being cool ourselves. Because I am not. 😦

      Hugs, my fellow weirdo!

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