miércoles, 3 de abril de 2013

Meditation. The Egyptian dominoes

I find myself in the waiting room of Miami’s airport. I’m tense between two flights with my attention on loudspeakers and screens so as not to miss my connecting flight. I’m alone in a corner when two young women and a young man come close and ask mecourteously: “Do you mind if we play?” – “Do play at your ease.” – “Thank you.” And they sit down on the thick carpet.
They take out their dominoes and each takes their men. Suddenly I hear myself speak: “May I join you?” – “Yes, better four than three at dominoes.” I lower myself down to the carpet. They explain: “We play the Egyptian dominoes. It’s this way. The double six starts, then four sixes are placed at its four sides, which gives us four lines. Thenumber of points at the four ends are summed up, and if you get 5 or a multiple of 5 when you play your turn, you get points: 1 for a 5, 2 for 10, etc. Understood? – Yes, go ahead.
I’m losing at the beginning. I notice how they are calculating in their minds, but I don’t get the algebra for my 5. It gets interesting. I improve my performance. I even begin to think I’m going to win the game. Suddenly the girl who is keeping count tells me: “Hadn’t you said you were going to El Salvador? They’ve just announced the flight.” I hadn’t heard a thing. I jump up, take hold of my hand luggage and shake hands all round. They all smile. I run ahead.
I almost missed my flight. That would have been the first time in my life that such a thing happened. But I had never had such an entertaining waiting time. Thanks to the Egyptian dominoes.

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