So friends came over on Saturday for dominos. By this I do not mean, “Get the door. It’s Domino’s” dominos. Nor do I mean multiple viewings of the 2005 movie with Keira Knightley starring as model-turned-bounty-hunter Domino Harvey. (Yeah, I was suspicious, too, but “model-turned-bounty-hunter” probably happens more often than you’d think.)
Nope, I mean the game. With the tiles. Zero-to-six dots on them. None of my friends had played before, not even the half Cuban. And at least two of them asked if the game involved lining the dominoes up and tipping them over. Which, with one set, would have made for a very short, or repetitive, evening. No, the game itself, invented probably by the Chinese in the 1100s, is a kind of like Uno, Bridge, Mahjong, and poker. Kind of.
At 8, E– arrived with fancy wine he’d won in a petanque tournament. Petanque is a whole other nonmainstream game. You want to know more about that, go to his site. T– arrived an hour later, what with having to make sure his teen kids were safely on their way home. He’s a good dad. And G— showed up the latest, delayed after some canoodling with his fiancee, I suspect.
The game got underway, with my trying to communicate what little wisdom I have about the game. I have played since I as a child. I do not want to exaggerate the importance of dominoes in Latino culture, since it verges on the stereotypic. But it is pretty important. In general I emphasized to my friends the importance of smacking a winning Capicua tile down and saying “Capicua!” with gusto. Other than that, there was, as in any other game where a bunch of guys are involved, much talk about literature. We killed the wine. T– went for a beer run.
The game went on, slowly. And, as in most evenings with a bunch of guys involved, it ended about the same time the beer did. Alas, we did not finish the game. It was 1:30 in the morning, E– was in the lead but was half asleep, T– had to get home to his family, G— to his fiancee. They left, and I stayed up, cleaning, mumbling a Van Morrison song. Actually, I may have just brushed my teeth and topple over like a tile onto my bed.