Sunday, October 7, 2007

On the Road Games

If there is one thing that Jim and I do a lot of, it's traveling. It's long hours of yellow lines and white dashed lines and green signs and semi-trucks. It can tend to get VERY BORING before long, so whether it be a 30 minute drive to Ankeny, an hour drive to Tama, or a 10 hour trek to Michigan, we have learned how to pass the time without losing our sanity, considering the fact that we are breathing re-circulated air for hours at a time.

I've compiled a list of Things to Do to Pass the Time while Traveling and I hope you find it helpful if you're a missionary on the road or just a person who takes long trips just to say you did.

First I should say, this list all started when I whined to Jim, "I wanna play a game where you do somethin' or somthin' else."

He laughed, mostly because my request didn't make a lick of sense.

"Like what?" He asked.

Hence, I began my list...

#1 I spy

Jim was the first to spy something, and it was yellow.

"That sign?" Was my guess, as I pointed to the yellow road sign on my right.

Jim looked at me with utter surprise, "How did you do that!"

I guess I was right. From my point of view, it was the only "yellow" thing within eye shot.

"I thought you would guess the school bus that just passed us!" He explained his deceitful plan. "And the school bus was supposed to be what distracted you from saying the right answer!"

"But," I began, "the sign was on MY side of the road, there was no way I was going to guess the school bus. I didn't even see it! That was bad strategy."

Needless to say, we didn't play another round of "I Spy." But, it did take about 2 minutes, which was 2 minutes less of droning highway noises.

#2 20 Questions

This is a favorite of mine! Because 9 times out of 10, I guess with way less questions than Jim. Sometimes, my first guess (before I ask any questions) is the right answer. I keep telling him he's predictable, but he likes to play that way, so I let him.

Once, I had a "thing" in my head, and it was his turn to guess. The answer was "A Mirror." It took him til the next day before he finally got it.

It was great for me, because every usual question that might help The Guesser get closer to the answer actually made it harder for him. Questions like, "Is it red?" would be answered "yes," as well as "Is it green, yellow, purple etc." Basically, my logic was that, a mirror could be any color depending on what it was reflecting. Mean, I know.

I picked another "thing" later, and it was a Rainbow. I won't go into details, but it wasn't any easier.

Once, Jim picked a Mailbox for me to guess. For some reason, it took me a Very Long Time. See, I had chosen a Mailbox earlier in the game, so I never suspected that's what he would do! Now, that was good strategy.

My favorite one to pick was Person, Bill Black. I worked with him at BMM and I picked him for 20 questions a billion times. Jim started catching on though, when every time it was a "Christian male whom he knew that worked at BMM with glasses and a mustache."

As you can see, the rules can be modified a little. We definitely go WAY over 20 questions. Basically, we just go until the item is guessed.

#3 Discussion on a Heated Political or Religious Issue

Oooh. This is a good one.

One reason why it's so good is that the minutes pass almost unrecognizably. It seems as though hours have passed while discussing the new Hilary Care health plan or whatever it is. Time flies when subjects like The Emerging Church come up, or when questions about Creation Science begin. Sometimes these conversations evolve into discussions about cultural differences and methods of reaching those cultures with the Gospel. Other times the subject changes to history and reasons for culture or language differences and similarities.

We like this game. It's intellectual.

#4 The ABC Game

This game is one that I try to avoid, but, it's a good time passer and it gets your focus OUTSIDE of the car.

Here are the rules: You have to find the Alphabet (A-Z) , in order, from signs, license plates, bumper stickers and the like. It's fun for awhile, but then, when you get to the letters like "Q" and "X" or "Z", you're pretty much stuck. You have to wait for e"X"it signs and dairy "Q"ueens so that you can moooooove on! Oh yeah, and speed "Z"ones, too.

That's really not the reason I avoid it. I really try to avoid this game because I'm too competitive. I love winning and if I'm behind, I start getting anxious and panic...a little. The ABC Game is competitive because, if someone else names the letter you need first, than your out that letter and have to wait for the next "K"rispy Kreme truck to go by.

#5 The Think of the Next Game Game

Self-Explanatory but ingenious. This game gets the creative juices flowing for the next time you run out of games to play. You start making games up, and the Made Up Games are usually the best ones. The less you have to play The Think of the Next Game Game, the better off you are. It just means you have great imaginations and lots of time on your hands.

#6 The Dictionary Game

Have you ever played Balderdash? This is our made up version.

If we have room in our overstuffed Pontiac Grand Prix, we may bring our New Webster Dictionary (not the pocket version). Along with that we bring a stack of 3x5 cards and some pens. But, that is only if we decide to play with a group. When it's just me and Jim, we make do with Webster.

Here's how it works:

Ok, pick 1 word from the dictionary.

Jim picks "Repast" (Really, he does. We're playing as I type).

Alright, now - only Jim knows what this word really means, but he has the definition of ANOTHER word (in this case, "Venule", but only Jim knows that, too) and then he recites the given word, the spelling and gives the real definition as well as the false definition, in any order he pleases.

Jim says: "The word is 'Repast', r-e-p-a-s-t. Here are the possible definitions (the number of definitions can change with difficulty): #1 - "small vein, as one connecting a capillary to a larger vein." #2 - "the food eaten or offered at a meal."

Hmm... let's think this one over you word smiths.

I think I'll say that Repast is definition #1, "a small vein, as one connecting a capillary to a larger vein." The fact that it has the word "past" in it, gives me the clue that maybe something, like blood, passes through it.

That's my guess.

Jim, what's the answer?


I was wrong! It was definition #2. Okay, that's 1 point for Jim, and so on.

#7 The Next Thought Game

Garage Sale...Saturday...Sleeping In...Sore Back...Chiropractor...Childhood...Memories...Pictures...Digital...
Analog...Anabaptist...Germany...Schnizel...Poodle...Ken Ham...
Creation...Evolution...Science...Mr. Smith...Goes to Washington...
George Washington...Carver...Turkey...Thanksgiving...
Ben's Birthday...Truck Driver...Air Brakes...Endorsement... the Victory...In Jesus...Salvation...Grace...
Clay...California Raisins...Sunmaid...Sunburn...Pontiac...Chrysler...
Sail...Wind...Break...Car...etc, etc, etc.

That should sum up the Next Thought Game. I started by saying "Garage Sale." Jim continued with the immediate thought that came to his mind at the word "Garage Sale." He thought of "Saturday," which made me think of "Sleeping In," and so on. Some of the connections make good sense, no sense and some sense if you know the situation. This is a fun game that can go on a LOOOOOOONG time!

#8 Make Friends with a Fellow Traveler Game

This is when you make eye contact with another driver who you have already passed on the road. You may have passed them several times and they may have passed you. This may be due to terrible driving skills, or it could just be fate, waiting to happen.

This last trip, Jim and I made eye contact with a trucker from PA, with a Steelers Sticker on the side of his red truck. We passed him without making any effort to wave or socialize. But, lo and behold, he started waving at us first. We passed him and he passed us on the road two or three times. Each pass became more social as he gave us a thumbs up, a hearty wave, a honk or a big smile. We began to enjoy our newfound friendship on the road, but we were slightly confused as to why he would be interested in little ol' us. Maybe it was the Michigan Sticker or the Iowa Hawkeyes Sticker on the back of our car. Could it have been the Iowa Plates? I was wearing a Faith Shirt. Maybe he knew about Faith? We may never know. But, what we do know was that we made a friend on the road and it made our trip slightly more bearable.

To you, sir, the trucker with the Steelers Sticker, if you ever read this...Thank you, for your friendliness.

#9 The Very Long Nap Game

This game is a personal favorite. I'm pretty good at it, too. The rules are simple.

No drooling, talking, or twitching uncontrollably. The radio should generally be tuned into something classical or something talk, to get the best Very Long Nap. You should also avoid intellectually stimulating thoughts and forget every responsibility you have ever had or ever will have. Pretty much, just tune out.

The best equipment for such a game is one of the ergonomic pillows that kind of hug your neck. I don't have one yet, but after a few hours, I can tell I NEED ONE!

Make sure you can recline. Preparations for this game should begin when packing the car. The Husband should be careful NOT to pack too close to the passenger seat back. This ensures a nice reclining position for the best Very Long Nap ever.

When you wake up, groggily say to the driver, "I won." And doze off for a few more minutes to prove your point.

Hopefully, you haven't been bored to death (or to a Very Long Nap yourself) by this entry and had to make up your own games to get through each grueling sentence after the other. It's my desire that your next trip be less boring, more entertaining and full of unique memories. Happy Traveling!

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