Apr 30, 2008

Magical Me

Photo: My favorite kind of magic.

A few things I'm getting into (or back into):

Cooking. (The Esq is probably shouting 'Hallelujah!') It's been really fun; two nights ago I had a wild hair and we grabbed a bunch of BBQ food at Trader Joe's to throw on the grill. I realized that 'spring food' (fresh veggies, fruits, barbecued meats, yummy salads, sparkling lemonade, homemade dessert) makes me into a happy bunny. It's healthy and fresh, and I feel good preparing it (and eating it!). We had a spring potato medley (I love purple potatoes) doused in butter, olive oil, and rosemary; chicken skewers--the Esq's mom marinated half of the chicken with teriyaki, sesame oil, ginger, brown sugar (nummers), and I did my half with garlic, rosemary, olive oil and sea salt; simple spinach salad with pear and smoked gouda; heirloom tomato skewers, sweet potato skewers, grilled pineapple skewers...I will skew anything, hear me now, anything at all. I also made dessert: big oatmeal cookies covered with sauteed apples in a brown sugar and cinnamon sauce, and topped by a homemade vanilla whipped cream. All made by Yours Truly from scratch, thank you very much. Cooking allows me to focus, so that my mind can actually wander. It's a pleasant balancing act, throwing on some good music and hammering out the details of a recipe. We've decided to put 'diet' at the top of our priority list, and cooking real meals is the key to most of it; the only part about cooking I hate: the clean-up. Also, thanks to Princess Lil Red and my mama, who are always helping me in cooking emergencies, which is always.

Stretching. Or "yoga", whatever. Before it was hip and trendy yoga, it was boring and necessary stretching. Let us not forget that. We were at Sara Rose's place--having a very nice vegan meal, I might add (YES, it's still me)--when she and Joe Ball began to stretch. This isn't unusual for Sara since she's a massage therapist and always stretching; but then Joe Ball joined in, and then I couldn't help but join in, and then the Esq started up...it was pretty amusing. Four people doing impromptu yoga together after a vegan meal. Sound like me? Didn't think so. But it was helpful--now I have to do it multiple times, every day, otherwise I'm a big, solid iceberg. So I'm getting super stretchy and downright bendy. It's cool.

Tutoring. I love the 826Seattle. Yesterday I worked with Cameron. The last time we saw Cameron, he was part of a blog about how middle school kids suck--he was the big dorky kid. I felt a special kinship towards him, since he was about as likable as a used tissue and as nerdy as they come, but very sweet for a 12-year old. Cameron fails socially, almost on every level. He is simultaneously shy and overbearing, too honest, too loud, and nerdy in an unapproachable way. I think he's really funny and interesting, but I'm also 20 years older than him; I can ferret out the good stuff because I have the patience. After we'd worked for over an hour straight, I suggested taking a break, because I'm nice. I did not suggest taking a break so that we could play Magic the Gathering. And yet that is what we did. And while we're on the subject, yes--I did look around to see who might be watching us, and yes--the non-nerd in me was screaming YOU HAVE MADE A GRAVE ERROR IN JUDGMENT; I DO NOT PLAY MAGIC THE GATHERING, SIR, I SIMPLY CANNOT AND WILL NOT. But I got over it--the conversation we had before, during, and after our card game was worth it:

Cam: (dealing cards) Have you played Magic the Gathering before?
Me: Ah, no.
Cam: I love Magic. *beams* I have Asberger's Syndrome.
Me: Oh. Oh? Ooh. That's, ah--mmmm.
Cam: Do you play Dungeons & Dragons?
Me: I've played a couple of times, but it was years and years ago.
Cam: I'm a Level 5 Human Palladin.
Me: (not laughing) Mm? That's pretty cool.
Cam: You know, I could let you join my team!
Me: I don't know, I'm not very good--
Cam: (reverently) I think you'd make a good Dungeon Master.
Me: Oh, ah, God--yeah, I dunno, Cam, I'm not really good at that kind of thing.
Cam: Yeah, well, if you play D&D like you play Magic the Gathering, you'll probably get creamed. *laughs hysterically at his own joke*
Me: I don't even know how to play, you're just playing for me.
Cam: (waves his cards dismissively) Well DUH--that's because you can't play a Kithkin creature card if you only have two mana, and I can't even believe you didn't play this Enchantment card--why aren't you tapping your Land cards? This Hill Giant could have totally done damage to my--(looks at me)--what?
Me: *blink*
Cam: If you join our D&D campaign, I think you'd be a dark elf assassin--wait, no! You'd be an Orc Wizard.
Me: Perfect.
Cam: You'd cast spells, and although Orcs are stupid and ugly, you'd be intelligent and beautiful. You'd beat people up with your flaming hand--a spell, of course--and have the ability to poke people, like a shocking poke.
Me: *muffled laughter*
Cam: You could summon a net and throw it, like Spiderman, only not like Spiderman.
Me: Makes sense.
Cam: And you'd be part of a gang called the Sirens; you'd lure married men to rob them blind with your charms!
Me: Like I don't do that already.
Cam: What?
Me: Nothing.

At this point, another little girl (12 or so) came up to us; she's special, too, but adorable and very curious. She also has a Napoleon Dynamite voice, which is disarming. She ran up to Cameron and this is what transpired:

Girl: Hey, what are you doing, because I. am. so. bored.
Cam: (puts cards away) Nothing.
Girl: Is that Magic? There's a group of people who get together at my school and play that after school.
Cam: So?
Girl: Do you play Dungeons & Dragons? I feel like I've seen you before. Do we go to school together? I'm the after school D&D leader, you should join!
Cam: *eyeroll* I don't even go to your school. *eyeroll*
Girl: Maybe you could just join the club, come to my school after your school gets out!
Cam: (huffy) Maybe not.
Me: (kicks him under the table) But that was really nice of you to ask, sweetie--do you want to sit down?
Girl: (sits down) What's that? -points to Magic cards-
Cam: Nothing.
Me: Cameron, just explain it to her.

At this juncture I was just thinking, here's a cute girl that is special, his age, into the same nerdy things, and starving for friendship--I figured it would be good practice for him to talk to girls without telling them they were straight-up idiots (something I witnessed last time). I sat back and listened. They mostly talked about Magic and their D&D characters, bemoaning the last game they had lost or bragging about their conquests. I actually felt good about forcing them to interact. Ever the social director, that's me. I came back into the conversation here:

Girl: Basically? There's, like, two kinds of 'weird' to me--
Cam: (lights up) --am I one of them?!?!
Me: *snort*
Girl: Yeah. Like, there's weird like you-weird, and then there's just weird-weird, like too-weird.
Me: (wiping eyes) God, you guys are keeping me young.
Cam: (curious) How old are you?
Girl: Are you way older, like 22?
Me: You are now my favorite.
Cam: Hey! I thought you were 20!
Me: *beams* Just for that, I will go home and learn how to play Magic--rematch next week?
Cam: Sweet!
Girl: I want in.
Me: (tersely) But you're going down, both of you, and not in a blaze of glory.
Both of them: Yayyy!!!

So that's how I ended up here, awake at 7:30AM on my day off, watching How-To videos on YouTube, getting NERDIER by the second and learning how to play motherfucking MAGIC the GATHERING, just so I can participate with the strangest children I've ever met. *sigh* If I could have a tutor, I'd want it to be me; the geeks dig me.


WenigGluckliches said...

Dedicated tutor, you are!

Those kids don't know how lucky they are.

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Thanks! All nerds deserve love. :)

Michelle Auer said...

Awww... this is such a heartwarming story! Sounds like they are a couple of pretty great kids. And you sound like you are a very dedicated tutor! That is so cool.

kiki said...

I recommend building a black & blue deck. You get the aggressive and damaging spells of the undead, but a fair balance of healing from the blue enchantments. Don't waste your time with any gold cards if you do. They require to many different kinds of mana.

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Kiki, you always come through for me.