I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

August 09, 2012 - 1:07 p.m.

Like a Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Yesterday was a long day. I left my house at 7:38 and didn't get home till 11:16. Yes I'm anal enough to time things to the minute.

Here's the backstory (no Carey that does not make me a Doofenshmirtz). For my 11th birthday or so my parents' friends Rita and Dave gave me the Goren Bridge Tutor.

I taught myself the game then lent it to friends so they'd learn and we could play. When I was in college I lent it to three of my friends, Farley, Willis, and Lauren and we started to play almost every week. When Lauren moved away that ended but a few years later Farley started to play in bridge clubs. He eventually lured me in. He already had a partner so he fixed me up with his friend Roy. That was back in 1994 or so. Roy and I started playing regularly then. For many years every week. We were never good but we had our moments. I've written about it here many times. Then when my anxiety thing got bad calling Roy was one of the things I couldn't do. I felt terrible about it but as those of you who have gone through it know, that isn't enough to make you do the things you get anxious about. It had been two years since I played with Roy. Then I got to the point where I could email him. We arranged to play bridge at a tournament near where he lives out on Long Island. And that's where I went yesterday morning.

I took the Long Island Railroad out to Hicksville. I had to change trains at Jamaica. On the second leg I was busy trying to send a text to Carey. I still don't know why but I was trying to send a text and my phone kept insisting it was a email and it wouldn't fill in Carey's address from my contacts list. When I was busy trying to get that to work I heard someone say, "Gordon!" I couldn't figure out who would know me on the train. It was the conductor. I didn't recognize her at first in her uniform and out of context but it was my friend Marie. She's a WFUV volunteer. I love chance meetings.

When I got to Hicksville Roy picked me up and drove us to the Marriot where the tournament was. I did not have high expectations for our play. We hadn't played for two years. I couldn't remember all our conventions. Roy always had trouble remembering them. This was a recipe for disaster.

Things ended up not so bad. We played two sessions. In the first we had a 46% game. Yes that's below average but we are strat C players, (e.g. bad) and that was almost enough to score. We had some terrible hands and had too many tops and bottoms but we've had way worse.

The game went slow and we only had an hour for lunch. We went to a sandwich place with a great rep nearby. It was great. I had a buffalo chicken sandwich and fries. My only complaint was that the fries were too salty. In my entire life I never had fries served that I didn't have to salt. I don't think they should salt fries at all and let the customers put it on themselves. They know how they like it. You can always add salt but you can't remove it.

We went back for the second half and felt subjectively that things went better. I had to race out of there so couldn't stay for the results. Roy checked and sent them to me. We came in 5th Overall, not just our section and 2nd in Strat B. That won us 3.28 Silver points. You can see the results here; Wed 3PM Open Pair Only Session August 8, 2012. We were in section D East-West.

Back when we started playing bridge that would have earned a mention in the NY Times's bridge column. They stopped posting results there the second year we played in tournaments; very sad.

The reason I had to rush out was to go to the Met Game. The tournament went late and I got to the train station a half hour after I thought I would so I ended up missing about an hour of the game. I got there as the top of the fourth started. When I got to our seats Alan wasn't there. I had called him and left him a message that I'd be late. I looked all around and couldn't find him. Then I spotted him walked down the stairs of a different section. I raced to the Promenade but didnt' see him. I went to the section I saw he came from and found him when he went back to his seat. I don't know why he changed sections. He never got my message that I was going to be late and thought I was just not going to show up but that doesn't explain why he moved two sections over.

The Mets were losing 3-0 when I got there. That was the good part of the game. They lost 13-0. The Mets have fallen apart the second half the season.

Alan left after 8 innings. I stayed and moved down to the Excelsior level one below ours. The view there is much better. You really appreciate how much closer you are to the field than at Shea stadium. Too bad I can never talk Alan into moving down.

After the game I timed how long it took me to get home from the last pitch till I walked in my door. That's fairly consistent because there is a special 7 train that leaves a set time after the game is over. It's a super express that skips most of the stops, even express stops. It's one reason I didn't leave early. I'd have had to take the local train and not saved that much time. From the game ending to I walked in my door took 58 minutes. That's why I know the exact time I got home. I could have taken off one minute if I went to the right end of the G train that I transferred too. That meant walking an extra block when I got off the train.

I made some progress with my anxiety yesterday. I saw Roy, played bridge, and took in my snail mail. Those are all things I've had difficulty with. I was rewarded in the mail by getting my birthday card from Carey and my driver's license.

Now it's late and I haven't eaten yet. Maybe when I'm done I'll be able to read my email for the first time since Falcon Ridge. I've made progress but I have a long way to go.

Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017

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Horvendile August 09, 2012
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