Thursday, June 09, 2005

Car Games

In case you were wondering how two people keep from going insane with three obnoxious kids and a smelly dachshund in the back seat while they pull a trailer around rural America, one way is to play car games. Sadly, the only car game our family plays is Zip. The rules are thus: You cannot not play Zip. Getting in the car with any member of our family is consenting to play Zip. You can think you are choosing not to play, but really, you are just conceding that you've lost. Playing Zip is easy. Every time you see a horse, you must be the first one to say Zip. You want to be the person with the most Zips at the end of the car ride. If you see more than two horses at a time, you may say "Blanket Zip" and one of your opponents must count the horses. If you are said opponent, you may think of cheating--saying there are only 23 when there were really 28 horses;--do not cheat. My dad will know. I don't know how, but he will, and you don't want to be caught cheating at Zip or you will be in for years of public ridicule. That being said, there are always ways to finesse the rules. You may make up a bullshit rule like "white horses count for 10" or "donkeys count for 1/2" and if those rules go unchallenged, you may keep score that way. Those are not actually the rules. White horses count for 1 just like any other horses and donkeys don't count at all. Making jokes about mules resembling your mother-in-law will get you slapped. Otherwise, there is no violence in Zip. You may also "neglect" to tell your opponents that you've taken this route before and thus know where all the horses are. This may, however, also get you smacked, but it is not condoned by the rules. Anyway, before my grandma died, I went up to my parents and then drove over with my dad to see her. It was a beautiful day and so we decided not to take the interstate (who wants to drive I-80 to the Indiana border if they don't have to?) but to meander through Indiana. Of course, we were half-heartedly playing Zip. I was winning, and gloating, a little, when my dad said that he needed to stop at a Walmart in the next town. Feeling cocky, I decide to break my rule about going to Walmart with him, and agree. We pull in and he says, "I think I feel something weird with the front tire. Go around back and see if the tire service can get us in to look at it." I don't feel anything strange, but it's his van. And when I pull around to the back side of the Walmart, he shouts triumphantly "Blanket Zip" and there, in front of us, are a hundred Amish carriages with at least one horse a piece. He looks over at me, smiling devilishly "Do you want to get out and count them?" "No, Dad, you can just win."


Blogger The Corporate Shill said...

In our family (five kids and two adults in a powder blue Suburban) we played The Alphabet Game -- be the first to spot words that begin with each letter of the alphabet in order and X was a killer, you could be stuck there across Indiana (longways -- none of that east/west shit). At least in Wisconsin you could watch for a "Xanadu: House of the Future; visit the Dells!" sign.

I'm not sure what car games LE played as a kid, but on our honeymoon he started up a vicious game of punch buggy, a game with which I assume most everyone is familiar. We drove from Seattle to San Diego and by the time we arrived I had a delightful bruise on my left arm (let's just say LE is competitive and I suck at this game). The tradition continues, primarily when we're on vacation. This past weekend, we were on a short vacation so we had to play. This time I almost kept it close. Our friends were appalled.

6/09/2005 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Twyla said...

This post made me smile. The two family car things I remember:

Dad's incredible, superhero ability to stretch his arm way back to the back of the station wagon to smack an offender

singing "99 bottles of beer on the wall...

6/09/2005 08:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm saving zip for my next long car ride with other humans. I always love to hear your story of the amish zip upset. I love me a good long car ride.

More randomly, this post makes me think of:

-We played the standard license plates from states other than our home state game. It was kind of a group effort more than a game, the person riding shotgun had to enter the states in the notebook. When we went to Colorado one time, we finally got all 49 contiguous states. We never got a Hawaii in all those years.

-When my Grandma came with us on long car rides, she always brought Pearson drops. She loved the coffee ones even though, despite being a good Norwegian, she didn't like coffee.

-One of my favorite car ride memories is shortly after Huck Finn and I met we drove to a party in the rural part of the state. His best friend's parents live in a beautiful old house that was a stop on the underground railroad with the hidden rooms still intact. After dinner, a big bonfire, hiking around their many acre property, and sitting out on the porch for several hours, we drove back in the middle of the night and we could see the glow of the big city and the suburbs most of the way back, even though we were in country pitch darkness except for millions of stars.

I'm going to have to invent airport zip or sin city zip for vacation this year - SuperGenius

6/09/2005 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Peggasus said...

When the snow and wind blows sideways during winter storms in central Illinois, straight across I-57 from Champaign to Chicago, we count the cars that skid off the road. Once we got as high as 103. That's about 1 car per mile.

6/09/2005 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Guy said...

I grew up a stone's throw from I-80 on the Illinois-Indiana border. I know exactly what you mean.

6/10/2005 09:13:00 AM  

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