In the two years of singledom before meeting my husband, my main form of entertainment after a hard day’s work, was to play scrabble via Facebook. At one stage I got so addicted that I would have games going against at least 20 different people scattered across the globe. I did not know them, they did not know me, but I felt an addiction shared between my opponent and I, which bred a certain familiar feeling as if they were my mates.
I started with playing against my daughter or friends, and initially only 2 minute games.
This soon progressed to finding a play-mate from anywhere in the world, much to my amazement and amusement. My initial results were rather poor, as I am Afrikaans speaking, and this is played in English, and in those early days it so baffled me to find these damn opponents place some “two-letter words” that I had never heard of, until I plucked up the courage to ask one of them to please explain to me what it meant. The answer was simple – some meanings are really unknown, but there is a list of accepted “two-letter words” in the game, and what’s more, they are attached to the side of the website. Wow!! that open up a whole new world for me! And it was not long before my scores started to increase.
And so, before I knew it, I evolved to playing 1 week games, where you can take a whole week to make your move. With it also came the knowledge that there are sites specifically designed to assist you to find words to play, essentially therefore making you a crook!! But I embraced it, and got caught out every now and again by a clever opponent (probably because they themselves knew and had used the site!). But please do not be mistaken – a huge amount of skill still goes into the game, as you still have to work out just where to place the word to the best effect to achieve highest score. And I became more and more addicted as every day went by – sometimes sitting in front of the P C until midnight! As per any cyberspace interaction with strangers though, you encountered some weirdos and chancers, and every now and again I had to stop a game midway as the other party was just becoming vulgar or offensive in the side-show chat that is allowed whilst you are playing your game as well. It was also during this time that I found a worthy opponent who was challenging me on equal footing, offering stimulating games where each of us would take turns in winning, thus keeping me interested in playing against her game after game. We exchanged some of this side-line chat, and found out a bit about each other, before becoming Facebook friends. Since then, we have followed each other’s comments and stories of daily life – me here in South Africa and her in Australia. And we have not played Scrabble for almost a year now.
Once we got to Tanzania, the boredom and loneliness of every day were relieved by still being able to play Scrabble. As technology in Tanzania is so developed, I had uncapped internet usage for a minuscule amount every month, and I initially played to my heart’s content, even against my hubby whilst he was sitting twiddling his thumbs in the office. (For those who don’t know, he was supposed to start the dairy farm project on Zanzibar, but governmental red-tape put a delay on it and eventually a total stop to it, hence he was also bored stiff at the office, nothing to do all day long).
At some stage we diversified to playing all sorts of gambling games – no betting of money, all just playing the games. But boy of boy, did we get bored after a while of having this as a our main form of entertainment! And we stopped playing. Every now and again I will try a game, but as per all “sport”, if you do not practise enough, you lose your prowess, and I get mostly embarrassed by losing badly these days.
Prior to meeting hubby, I often had huge dinner parties, and we would play “30 Seconds”, or Charades after dinner – to much laughter and delight. Living on a more remote farm these days, has curbed my games, but our recent short break in the Drakensberg with the kids included a few games of Rummi-Cub. Hmm….
Last week, my Australian friend’s father passed away, and her anguish in her Facebook updates are palpable. So to Teresa – even though we started our friendship as Scrabble opponents, and then progressed to Facebook friends halfway across the wide oceans of the world, I wish you peace after the loss of your clearly beloved dad – I feel with you, even though we have never met in person.
I look forward to uncapped internet usage again in future, and who knows, perhaps I’ll increase my previous score records, and make more friends in the process.
- Scrabble Time! (appleisblack.wordpress.com)
- Game Giant Mattel’s “Complete Disregard” for Their Legion of Online Scrabble Fans (robertatkinson61.wordpress.com)
- Richard Herring: Is there anything I can do? (As long it’s not lend you my Scrabble game) (metro.co.uk)
- 7-time world scrabble champ? (fifteenminutesoffreedom.com)
- Massive Scrabble fans, you may not like this news Negative Word… (shortformblog.com)