Sarah Layne Photography

Last night I had a cultural experience. It all started because of Craig’s List.


A few months ago we sold a pie hutch on Craig’s List. The Force was strong on the couple that bought it and out of complete strangeness and desire to follow a hunch we ended up having an in-depth conversation, going to church together, and inviting one another over for dinner.


They have their own set of ruffians, but theirs are of the masculine-type. No pink and purple for them… I don’t know how they survive without it.


We’ve now talked politics and religion with this couple and yesterday morning we shot guns together. It’s fair to say we’ve cemented our friendship.


They must agree, because they were willing to invite us out in public and introduce us to their family.


Invitation: Game Night.


I’ve been encouraged to play bridge, Euchre and bunko before but said no to each invitation because I’m just too boring to go outside my comfort zone and manage the shyness of new people in addition to the complication of learning a new card game!


Right now, though, we’re on best behavior trying to score our new Craig’s List friends! We said yes. They’ said they’d pick us up at 6.


Game Night took place in a stunning home. A really, really beautiful home… it should be on the cover of Better Homes & Gardens. The residents of the home? A multi-generational family living debt-free and homeschooling six little rugrats.


I can’t tell a lie, when we walked in and the Mister of the House began to tell us his religious opinions a breath after he learned our names I was nervous. Who wouldn’t be?! While it’s nice to know where someone stands with God if you bring it up immediately to complete strangers there’s a chance someone’s going to end up in a corner holding a Bible and praying for salvation by the end of the night.


And the house… it was so beautiful and so clean! There were six youngsters running around and nary an American Doll, K’nex set or piece of half eaten was to be seen. Definitely suspicious.


After about five minutes of high anxiety I realized I needed to just get over it because our Craig’s List friends drove us and the only way we would be getting the car keys for an escape would be to get too close for comfort while pocket-digging our Craig’s List compadres.


That’s an awkward moment to imagine. {pause} We were in for the count, time to play the card game. I decided to make the most of it and started to trash talk. (Really, what competitor wouldn’t?!)


I’m told the card game we played is called Caravan. A search of the world wide web brought up a card game named Caravan that’s intimately connected to role playing – but this was not that kind of game.


We broke into sets of four players, dispersed among four card tables. The college student from down the street was strong-armed into coming when we found we were one player short. He changed out of his pajamas, trotted down the street, and assured us he loves Jesus. His entrance? Granted.


The game involves a set of dice, a deck of cards, an index card for keeping score, an ability to keep from rolling a seven and luscious dollop of luck.


And I won.


Did you catch that? I won. Out of the whole group of really cool people, I was the winner.


My satisfaction reigns supreme. I won.


(Have I ever mentioned I’ve circumnavigated the globe? Yes? Oh, sorry. It’s just a little thing I like to say every time I want to win an argument. I circumnavigated the globe and acquired the highest number of caravans during a game night with Craig’s List-in-law strangers.)


(Oh, how like to win! Winning is my favorite!)


(My prize? A Santa-shaped bottle of handsoap. How cool is that?!)


Here’s what I learned from the evening:


1. Look for new friends in unusual places. Craig’s List isn’t just for human trafficking and unloading gently used cloth diapers. You can find a friend there! I wonder where else you might find friends if you trust your gut and initiate conversation?


2. Be willing to do something out of character. I don’t like being in social situations where I don’t already have friends. Unfortunately, when you move you have to make new friends in your new zip code or there are going to be many, many days where you stare at the walls of your living space and throw yourself a little pity party of loneliness. I like that scenario less than going to a party of people I don’t know. Change the rules of the lonely game and accept an invitation – or have a party of your own and invite some new acquaintances you get a good vibe from.


3. Win. I know this is self-explanatory, but, well, go big or go home! I take complete credit for being the “winningest” player in a game that is completely up to chance because I’m just that cool! (ha!) But, seriously, that winning part goes a long way toward making your awkward evening fun and comfortable.


When’s the last time you had a game night? What is your favorite game to play in a group?

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