She slipped her four of clubs down on top of the three of clubs seemingly without looking, just as I was grabbing mine, but starring so intently now at the card in my hand frozen above the table, gripping it tightly — the anger and frustration shot up into my whole chest, the vibrating spring carrying a transistor frequency of dark thought-matter into a reddening field of view. “Great, not again, you just can’t be faster, and now you’re stuck with this, probably forever,” I heard myself thinking. Although it didn’t even sound as coherent or grammatical, more a mixed song of anger like a telegraphically dictated rhythm, full stop. But like a fortune cookie of ticker tape, I began to flip the signal over in my mind as I took a breath.
Was this frozen moment of anger — a hieroglyph of disgust — going to win the game? Or was it just the opposite, an emotional analgesic for when things aren’t just totally perfect, the hooking bait of defeatist self-pity that rendered a second negative point against me, eating up not just precious seconds of game-play but precious cycles of thought and energy.