Lyrical Laughs

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The real meaning of agida

WHEW! Summer is flying by and I'm trying to fit in as much fun as possible, so I'm cheating a bit today with a piece from "my other stuff" that was published earlier this month in our local paper. But don't worry, you can look forward to reading about why the Spouse and I may be prime candidates for Marriage Boot Camp next time! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this little piece and that you're getting the most out of your summer!

My kids may not be young anymore but they can still manage to give me agida. For those of you who didn’t grow up in an Italian household like I did, agida refers to angst, aggravation, worry – as in the sleepless nights and stressful moments my folks had with me for a daughter. I did nothing to make their job easy.

Honestly, my kids are mostly awesome and pretty much easy to brag about. But over the years I’ve learned that it’s not just about their intentions. It’s about what life throws at them. Take Saturday evening, for instance.

We were just about to enter T.G.I. Friday’s for dinner with my mom during a visit to Connecticut, when my cell rang. I was driving so I handed it to the Spouse. It was First Born – a very upset First Born. She and The FiancĂ© were on their way back from a very long day trip when they got a flat tire. Now, I know this doesn’t seem like something that should make me need a paper bag to breathe into. Just wait - it gets better.

After walking The Fiancé through a tire change (his first) all was looking good after getting the little donut tire in place.

And then they realized they had a second flat on the same side.
Enter agida.

Why did they have to take such a long road trip? Why did they pull over on the highway to switch drivers (which led them through construction which ripped up their tires)? Why were they hours away without me there to help?

As we sat in T.G.I. Friday’s for dinner with my mom, Spouse and I both got on our phones and started looking for a garage or Walmart or Sears – anything we thought would have tires on a Saturday night. As it turns out, they had landed in Nothingville, New York.

They did manage to get a can of Fix-a-Flat but were kind of freaked by the instructions that demanded protective eyewear and a professional to use it (which is why anyone can buy it, right?). So the not-so-happy wanderers went for the only other option they had – calling roadside service who said they would tow the car to a garage. What garage is open on a Saturday night?

Well, there happened to be a garage guardian angel that very night that appeared in his sparkling mini-van with wife and grandsons shortly after they were towed to his place of business. He got them set up with a couple of retreads, and soon after they were on their way.

The Love Couple still had a three-hour drive. Naturally, I half-slept until I got that text that said they were back home at 1 a.m.


Agida is probably genetic, so chances are my girls will actually use that word once they have kids. After all, it’s another word for worry, which – growing up in my Italian family – was just another word for love.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The odds are not ever in my favor

I have a small obsession. It’s nothing earth shattering or sordid, really, just something I tend to get a little wrapped up in. And I can’t stop myself from doing it again and again and again.  Hmm yeah, that does sound a bit sordid when you put it that way.

So here it is.

I am hooked on the card games on my cell phone.

No, wait – that’s not totally true. I am hooked on winning the card games on my cell phone.  Yes, I understand everyone wants to win sometimes, and I know I can’t always win. The thing is… I don’t accept defeat well from an electronic device.

Before I go to sleep I plug my phone in to charge it… but I can’t seem to put the phone down until I’ve played a few card games. They are all under one umbrella known as 250+ Solitaire. No, don’t look for it. Whatever you do, don’t download this mind-sapping vortex of delusional euphoria you experience the first time you win. It’s a trap – don’t buy into it. It’s like gambling only worse because you’re in the comfort of your own home or car or back alley and you don’t even notice that 3 hours have passed and you’re starving and probably slightly dehydrated and in need of a bathroom and some deodorant STAT.

Not that I’ve ever gotten to that point.

It’s not just at night that I obsess over – I mean, enjoy – this source of masochistic entertainment. If I’m sitting in the parking lot waiting for the Spouse after work I am usually secretly hoping he doesn’t appear until I’ve had at least one shot at winning Klondike. Klondike, by the way, is one of the simpler challenges among these games. I don’t want to take on anything heavy, like Golf, while I’m waiting.

Even the guy I married, the one who invented the sarcastic snicker that slips out upon winning a game – any game – thinks I’ve lost it. I asked him recently if he plays Scorpion, one of the games in this app, and probably my favorite. A few times, he replied. And me? Well um… yes. And I won a whole bunch – 245 to be exact. His look was incredulous. How many games did I play to win 245? I wasn’t going to volunteer the answer that easily.

For some strange reason (you know, like something having to do with the world going by while I suffer anguish over when to release the 3 extra cards on the side that could make or break the game) I have a touch of guilt over enjoying this delightfully hateful pastime that taunts me with a false sense of security for the first 12 or 13 moves, when WHAM – it becomes obvious that 4 of diamonds is going nowhere. The stats? Let’s just say that 245 was just over 20% of the amount of games I had actually played. Shhh, don’t say the number out loud.

Spouse is mostly mystified, and rightfully so, over how many times I will replay the same game if I think I can beat the odds. Hey, that option is there for a reason. I mean, doesn’t everyone try and try again until their battery dies (hence the reason I have to plug my phone in)? And why move on to a new game when you might have a chance of winning if you just hold out for the King of Clubs next time instead of moving the King of Hearts?

I am normally not a competitive person when I’m playing against others. But there is something about playing against a computerized game that brings out the adversary in me, shrieking at my phone after I lose 5 times in a row on Golf, which is just plain evil and has absolutely nothing to do with golf.  I believe I would fare much better in an actual golf game because as bad as I might be on the course, my little phone screen says I am averaging not quite 4% in wins. And you do not want to know how many games I’ve played to mark that achievement.

Yes, playing these games is a waste of time, I know this. It is a solitary activity and a sedentary activity with absolutely no social or health benefits. And yet… within the time I allotted myself to complete this blog post I am happy (and for obvious reasons also mortified) to say that I won Klondike twice!

Stats on the amount of times the game was actually played in order to achieve these wins will not be made available to the public.

What are your phone obsessions?