Playing With A.: Some Useful Terms

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Cleaning My House – I’m starting now to study for the literature GRE, which has led to a significant cutback in playtime. Not to be stopped, A. has taken to organizing everything on my table and “scrubbing” my cupboards and “vacuuming” my floor. As I type this she is picking up everything she put on my floor to clean and putting the books, markers, band aids and other detritus of my life in a variety of interesting and unexpected drawers. She just sponged off the back of J’s wedding invitation, and is now making my bed.

Telephone – Ever since Mere, the volunteer nearest me, accidentally tore A’s ten-denar note in half, A. has had it out for her. Every day she comes over and makes a series of “phone calls” to Mere in order to ream her out. She makes me talk to Mere too. Since learning my mother’s name “Soo-tan” has joined the call rotation. We used to make real phone calls, until I checked my phone bill. The landline has not been plugged in since.

Making Coffee – Since the day she set her hair on fire, A’s coffee has improved. She knows to lean back while she lights the cooker, and now only puts in one spoonful of sugar for each spoonful of coffee (rather than two).

Looking at My Computer – Now she’s leaning on my arm watching me type. And now she’s holding onto my hand and sometimes hitting it to make me type a difyfyerent letter that better sruitsybyuhr8uihythyt78fr7r …better suits heru interesvg

Donkey Kong – I introduced this game as a means of distracting her from another favorite (typing on my computer), but she likes it a little more than I expected.

Animals – This can go in one of two ways. (1) A. and I are walking down the drive, heading for coffee. Suddenly she freezes, points down the drive and whispers, “Ellen – an animal!” at which point I express doubt and continue walking for a minute before I see the animal and run, screaming, back towards her. Then she pulls out her pistols and shoots the animal. (2) One of us runs down the drive and hides. The other walks along, usually speaking loudly about going for a coffee. Whoever is hiding bursts out and starts to eat the carefree coffee drinker. Inevitably, this version also ends up with someone shooting someone else, though it’s hard to tell who will be doing the shooting – usually, A. every game, even when she is an animal presumably lacking opposable thumbs or a knowledge of firearms.

Tag – Just like in America, only we run around yelling “Petch!” instead of “Tag!”

Hide-and-Go-Seek – Since I’m a little taller than A. I don’t have quite as many places I can hide. The result of this is, sadly, that she always beats me in hide-and-go-seek. This is like in America only you when you get back to home base you spit on the wall.

Basketball, Soccer and Volleyball – All three quickly devolve into something in no way resembling the games themselves.

Jail – A. ties my wrists together and puts me in a “jail” from which I then strive to escape. Similar to tag and also to “Animals,” at least in that the game always ends with Ava shooting me.

Doctor – I pretend to die, and A. takes the opportunity to stick me with “needles” (pens, hair pins) while I cry and claim to have made a miraculous recovery.

Hairdresser – Similar to doctor, only now A. is sticking the hair pins into my head rather than my arm.

Traveling – A. takes all my bags, puts a variety of my crap in each of them, and then walks around my house declaring her intentions to travel to Italy. Bon voyage.

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