Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Losing streak

After a few experiments, I’ve concluded that board games are the best way to discover your cultural ineptness.

On Saturday night, a few girlfriends and I got together to have a room-warming for my flatmate. We were seated on the floor in a semicircle, which had grown progressively more ragged as the evening advanced. Candles and white Christmas lights cast sideways shadows in the dim room.

After a lot of talking, we elected to play Taboo – you know, that really fun but challenging game where you have to get your team to identify the word you’re describing (e.g., “plunge”) without using any of the taboo descriptors that could evoke the word (“dive,” “water,” “marry”). My team lead until it was my turn to identify the mystery word.

“Okay,” Marie said as she flipped the timer. “When you have things you need to get rid of, and they aren’t really worth selling…”

“Throw out!” I cried.

“Right, but in what?”

I grinned and took a sip of wine. This was going to be easy. With triumphant elocution, I said, “Garbage can.”

Marie shook her head impatiently. “No, the other word.”


A spark of concern flickered across her face. “No…”

Suddenly, as the other girls cracked up, I realized that I had run into a dreaded British Word. You know, like boot or bonnet or carpark.

“Rubbish bin? Wastepaper bin?!” I started throwing out gibberish, in the hopes that “Refuse receptacle” might actually be a proper English term for freaking trash. I spouted utter nonsense for a good minute as the sand trickled through the hourglass neck, mocking my inability to think of any British vocabulary beyond “tart,” “snog” or “shattered.”

By now, Marie had stopped trying and clutched the card, glaring at me in utter disgust. “Wheelie bin,” she intoned as the last grain fell. “It’s a bloody wheelie bin.”

My showstopping performances have made appearances in Taboo, Cranium and Trivial Pursuit. The only game in which I've managed to hold my own is a card game that involves clawing each other to ragged shreds over a token. I've decided I have to stop playing board games or risk losing all my friends when I screw up the next answer, although I don't think I'll ever refer to a wheelie bin as anything else again.


Kristy said...

I may have actually gotten that one right, but only because I've been reading a few English blogs and have already had the "What the hell is a wheelie bin?" conversation with myself. Who knew?

Meg said...

Good for you! I never figured it's life in Seattle? Gotta say, I sort of miss the sogginess (I know, we're sick people...)

Thanks for visiting!