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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Order & Chaos

A few months ago, my family went to Jerusalem (I think) for Shabbat. Don't ask why- I don't remember. I stayed at Yosef's house. I hadn't seen him for a long time, but we were friends in 7th grade. At his house, Yosef's parents maintain constant order. The kids never even speak out of place, and constantly bow to their judgement. The meals were a solemn affair- everyone would sit quietly until Yosef's father decided to ask them a question. I like Yosef, but the experience was depressing.

Not that I didn't enjoy myself sometimes- Yosef introduced me to the strategy game "Twixt", an elegant logical competition in which the goal is to make a line from one side of the board to the other with "bridges". Generally, Yosef played systematically, while I played irrationally, looking for "out-of-the-box" solutions. It is worth noting that I lost almost every time; nevertheless, I liked my moves better, because they were more funny and imaginative. Yosef has two older sisters and two younger brothers. His brothers are very friendly and I had a good time playing Twixt with them while Yosef slept. (He was, unfortunately, sick that Shabbat.)
Last Friday, my family went to Gush Katif for Shabbat. It was my mother's idea, of course. I stayed at home, but ate at Eliav's house. I've been inviting him over almost every day recently. At his house, Eli's parents have no control over their children. Eli and his siblings do as they please, ignoring their parent's desparate pleas. The meals were a strange affair- at lunch, Eli suddenly became angry at the world and wouldn't speak, and blamed his father. I like Eli, but the experience was disturbing.

Not that I didn't enjoy myself sometimes- I introduced Eli to the intricacies of domino lines, a "sandbox" for creatively elaborate contrivances using lines of dominoes as well as blocks, cars, Lego, etc. Generally, I tried to play it safe, while Eli played recklessly, looking for "out-of-the-box" solutions. It is worth noting that my creations worked more often than his; nevertheless, I liked his better, because they were more funny and imaginative. Eli has two older sisters and three younger siblings, the youngest two brothers. His brothers drove my nuts with their constant noisemaking, pestering, whining and crying. I avoided them like the plague.

But why must order and chaos always come at the expense of the other? Why must life only thrive when it runs wild? Why must sanity be the trademark of the boring? Can there be no middle ground?



I'm not sure whether or not this is actually relevant, so I didn't want to clutter up the post proper with it, but it occurs to me that both Yosef and Eli were very repetitive in their statements as we played.

As I played Twixt with Yosef, he would keep saying "Do what you feel is right.", and that sounded silly because the move I was to make did not have some grand epic implications as the Obi-wan-esque statement seemed to imply. I asked him to stop because I was getting very tired of hearing that line every time he made a move, but he kept doing it anyway.

Similarly, Eli would preface everything he said with "Technically, ...", and that sounded silly because invariably what he was saying was not very technical and didn't for any reason demand or allow that the word "technically" be placed before it. I asked him to stop because I was getting very tired of hearing that word every time he suggested anything, but he kept doing it anyway.

I don't know what to make of this connection- maybe you do.

It's nice to hear that someone plays Twixt in Jerusalem. But I don't have a clue about the Force, technically.


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