Solitaire Confinement

I recently downloaded solitaire to my smart phone, so it looks like I’ve officially reached my middle ages.

The first thing you should know about any of this is that I have this awful habit of pronouncing “solitaire” as “solitary.” I’m more than painfully aware that it’s treacherously incorrect, but there’s just no way for me to change how I say it. I kind of accidentally grew up referring to it as solitary, even though I knew it was spelled “solitaire,” so at this point I’m too far conditioned to amend my habits. The worst part is that my parents say it the right way, so I’m not sure if as a kid I just misheard them and they thought it was some accent I developed in my travels across the neighborhood or that they thought it was cute that I was being stupid, but regardless, they never said a peep to me about being absolutely wrong. Fortunately my friend finally clued me in, and I was like, “Thanks Mom and Dad; this is almost as cruel a betrayal as the Santa Claus Hoax of 2001.” I can just imagine how the kids at school would have had a field day if they found out how I said it. They’d taunt me by referring to “chairs” as “cherries” and “bears” as “berries.” (Wait, do all words that end in the “air” sound turn into fruit if you change the ending like that?) They’d write “salitary loser” on my papers because they didn’t know how to spell solitary but still wanted to make a statement. They’d chuck decks of cards at me and yell “Pick it up solitary” at me, also because they didn’t really know but kind of knew what “solitary” meant.

Luckily, “solitaire” is not a game often discussed at elementary school social settings and so I never had the chance to incorrectly say it and be busted by my peers, and even more luckily, probably not a lot of kiddos were aware of this game and wouldn’t know the difference about my pronunciation from whether the queen said it like that or if only weird sheltered redheaded girls said it like that (thus rendering my digression rather pointless, though inevitably enjoyable).

So how did I come to download solitaire to my smart phone? Well, I’ve always had a passion for solitaire. And by “passion,” I mean I used to play it as a kid when I was bored and had exhausted all my other options for entertainment. I remember sitting on my living room floor half-watching Sister Sister while playing solitaire with a deck of cards. Yes, I had a brother (well, have a brother) with which I could play card games, but that’s the beauty of solitaire– I could play it by myself without the potential for shouting and crying and the inevitable forceful exchange of toys (because for some reason as children, we were always trying to trade our shit). And in my meditations, I believe that’s why they named this card game solitaire: because there is not one “sole tear” shed– then, over the years, the English language butchered the pronunciation and now it’s solitaire, or solitary, if you will.

Of course, when you’re growing up, you forget about all the blissful joys of youth, and so in the grind of life, I forgot all about solitaire, until one day, at some nondescript social gathering I have effectively blocked out of my memory (they’re all more or less alike), I was fiddling around on my father’s smart phone and found solitaire: behold! And I beheld. I beheld his phone and opened the app to find a half-finished game of solitaire, and being the inconsiderate daughter I so proudly am, I finished the game for him and went on to start a new one.

Afterwards, I thought to myself, “Boy, that was a lot of fun.” (Of course, I was at a drab event I didn’t want to be at, so my perception of “fun” at the time was probably rather skewed.) I don’t have any games on my phone, had not even considered downloading games for my phone, so at that point I decided to install solitaire to my wireless mobile device.

I’d also like to take this time to point out that I was inspired to download solitaire to my phone by my father, an older and distinguished gentleman who has solitaire downloaded on his phone, so if anyone took offense to the opening line of this article, there is your proof: I’m not just being cheeky; actual middle-aged humans have solitaire on their phones, and I am not making generalized, unfounded claims (this time).

But when I went to the app store, I couldn’t quite find the same solitaire game that my dad had on his phone. Did it have a red spider or an edgy red spider on the logo? Gah, I couldn’t remember. So, I did what any normal seeker of solitaire would do, and I heavily researched every spider solitaire app. This one has good reviews… But this one has more features… Except SolitaireLover899 says that this one has a lot of ads…

And that’s how it came to be that I had three spider solitaire apps on my phone. I couldn’t pick just one, because I was so conflicted by the reviews, so I decided to go with the Top Three (narrowed down from my Top Ten list) and test run them all. So for a few months, at any given moment, I’d be in the midst of three different raging games of solitaire.

Don’t worry– there is a happy ending. I did pick one app eventually, and we are happily engaged in the throes of card play. I believe it was destiny. Or, Destiny.

In any case, I’ve been playing it a ton lately, and the setting is on “Easy,” so I’m feeling pretty good about myself. I like to play solitaire when I have problems I’m scheduled to be avoiding, although sometimes the game is even more stressful than the problems I’m using it to ignore, so then I have to revert back to productivity. What a buzzkill.

And I mean, it says it’s on easy, but sometimes I beg to differ. Sometimes the cards just aren’t working out for me and I end up losing three games in a row and that’s when morale gets really low. I’m sure my neighbors can hear me at 1 am, crying in despair, “Can’t a girl get a 4 around here?!” and they probably think it’s a haunting, and they’re like, “What kind of ghost is wailing about 4’s? Is this golf? What are we dealing with?”

So, truthfully, I don’t know how all these old folks handle the stress of solitaire. It’s really exhilarating. I think I might develop a heart condition from all the pressure and the lights and the action of the sport. Fortunately for all you people, I won’t be going to any national solitaire play-offs any time soon and getting swept away in the fame of solitaire stardom, but jeez. I’d like to be able to master at least the Easy level. But I guess that’s something I’ll have to work on by myself–in a solitary way.

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