Sunday, July 10, 2005


We had it all planned, but the weather didn’t cooperate.

Yesterday evening, we and our friends were ready to enjoy an evening of music at Chastain Park, a favorite outdoor concert venue here in Atlanta. On the bill was Smokey Robinson…and on the bill of fare was SWMBO’s seriously yummy gazpacho, along with Gary’s grilled flank steak sandwiches, fresh fruit (Rainier cherries!), and Adult Beverages.

The protocol at Chastain is that you bring a picnic-style dinner to enjoy while you watch the show. Given the diverse crowd, dinners range from simple picnic hamper meals to elaborate Champagne and caviar affairs served on linen, complete with candlesticks.

Our friends Marc and Shelly have had a front-row table at Chastain for years. It’s literally right up against the right side of the stage. From there, you can see the performers’ nostril hair, it’s so close.

However, as the old Yiddish proverb says, Men tracht und Gott lacht. Make all the plans you want, but the Big Guy Upstairs may have other ideas…and frequently does. In this case, “other ideas” consisted of the outermost rain bands from Hurricane Dennis, which rolled into our area at about 6:45 in the afternoon with a vengeance. It was like a cow pissing on a flat rock…a cow that had been drinking a lot of iced tea and that had been given a raft of diuretics, at that.

So our picnic turned out to be an indoor affair, sans live music, at the home of Marc and Shelly. We amused ourselves by devouring our dinner, drinking many Adult Beverages, and playing a couple of board games.

Board games? Why, you old fuddy-duddies! Did you play Parcheesi? Monopoly? Cribbage?

No, we played a couple of “New Wave” board games, the kind that foster actual conversation and human interaction. One of them was “Whoonu?” in which players attempt to guess, out of several choices, which things a certain player would like best. [Note that the cards don’t feature too-obvious choices like “oral sex” or “big titties,” but more subtle stuff like “the color red” and “cotton candy.”] It’s actually a pretty good game, one that gives you a better perspective on your friends’ likes and dislikes.

The other was “Moods,” in which players recite phrases while trying to express selected emotions or moods. To get the flavor of this game, try to imagine saying “Would you like fries with that?” in a romantic mood. Or in a panicky mood. Some of the choices are mondo tricky to convey, especially if one has Limited Acting Chops. And it’s your Acting Chops - or your ability to interpret other players’ Acting Chops - that determine how fast you move your pieces toward the finish line.

At first blush, these sound like “touchy-feely” pastimes without the manly chest-hair of venerable games like Monopoly, Risk, chess, etc. But when you have six or seven people, chess is impractical - and the others take too damn long. With these, you can finish a game in a reasonable length of time while having an element of human interaction that you don’t get from video games - or even old-style board games. And, unlike knowledge-based amusements like Trivial Pursuit, these games don’t give Double-Dome Smart-Asses an unfair advantage.

Fun evening - and we didn’t even feel bad about missing “Soaky” Robinson.

No comments: