Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pen and Paper

Last Saturday, Hanah and I made the fateful decision to try and visit London to do some sightseeing. Unbeknownst to us, Nature was planning to put on a little show. When all was said and done, the sights we saw were mostly buried by snow. What started out as us playing the roles of tourists morphed into an impromptu version of the Amazing Race. Through a combination of buses, subways, taxis, and trains, we finally escaped from the city. Thanks to Hanah, we even managed to retain a little sanity.

It was the last leg of our journey and our spirits were flagging. We had already spent five hours on a bus trying to get into the city, only to find that the snow had managed to shutter the entire place. We sloshed through the soot-stained snow near the Thames and decided to call it it day. In what was either a terrible coincidence or a brilliant tactical maneuver on the part of transit unions, many of the subway operators happened to be on strike. Compounding this chaos were power outages, signal failures, and lots of cold, cranky people. After a number of creative transfer-station decisions and with the help of a taxi, we made it to a rail station and hopped on a train with only moments to spare.

Or so we thought. The train that was miraculously waiting for us had already been sitting there for an hour and would continue to sit there for another half-hour. Even two lovebirds such as ourselves start to get testy after twelve disappointing hours of cramped seats, crying kids, and damp clothes. My morale was a bit low and I found myself wishing for a little digital distraction to help me escape. All around us, people were taping away on their smartphones, taunting me. All we had was a small notebook and pen. Undeterred, Hanah challenged me to a game of movie-title pictionary.

We played game after game. We laughed at eachother’s drawings, discovered which movies we had both seen, and turned a lost day into one I’ll remember for a long time. Later, I tried imagining how the scenario would have played out had we each had an iPhone or a DS. I have a hard time thinking there would have been as much laughter, and I highly doubt we would have thought to save our crude doodles. We probably would have looked like a lot of the other folks sitting around us: content, yet isolated.

Here’s a snapshot of one page of our game:

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