Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Puzzle Envy

I am a jigsaw puzzle master! I very much enjoy jigsaw puzzles, and I am quite good at putting them together. I seem to have the innate ability to quickly identify where pieces go and put them there. I would probably go so far as to say that I am a bit of a jigsaw puzzle snob. I've put puzzles together with people who just don't know what they're doing. They'll be looking at a piece and trying to place it in an area where it obviously (to me, that is) doesn't go, and although I enjoy their company, I sort of roll my eyes and think, "If it were up to you, we'd never get this puzzle together." Now I say most of this in a half-joking way to preface an experience a friend of mine and I had at work today.

I'm currently rehearsing a show at a local theater. Some of the cast of the show preceding ours had started a jigsaw puzzle of Mickey Mouse in the green room (for those of you not from the theatre world, a green room is an area where the actors can relax when they're not rehearsing or when they are off stage). This Mickey Mouse puzzle is one of those mosaic pictures where a giant image (in this case: Mickey Mouse) is made up of smaller pictures (stills from different Disney cartoons). As far as puzzles go, it is mildly challenging, but certainly not the most difficult I have encountered.

A friend of mine (who is in the cast of the show we are currently rehearsing) and I decided we would finish this puzzle. Both of us are very organized in how we set up the pieces (something I cannot say for whoever started the puzzle) and both of us seem to be very good at putting it together. We had categorized and laid out pieces by where we felt they would go in the puzzle and had put a number of them right-side-up (that is to say the image on the piece was correctly oriented so that if we were facing it, it would face the correct direction as it would appear in the final picture (does that make sense at all? I know what I mean, anyway.)). We had made much progress during breaks in our rehearsal, but because our breaks aren't long, and that's the only time we have to work on the puzzle, we were going slower than we would if we had ample time to devote to it.

Anyway, at lunch today we were kind of excited to get back to it, and we walked into the green room and saw two people on the technical crew (who were on their lunch break) working on the puzzle. I suppose that's fine. After all, neither my friend nor I started the puzzle, and it is in a public area. However, we looked into each other's eyes a bit disappointedly and in a bit of frustration; partly because we knew we couldn't work on the puzzle with them and that, therefore, our time with the puzzle would be limited; but mostly because these two individuals had completely messed all the pieces up and were staring at the pieces and the unfinished puzzle dumbfoundedly and clearly had no idea what they were doing. In fact, one of the technicians muttered, "I hate this puzzle!" which made my friend think (he later told me) "Then why are you doing it?"

My friend decided to go home for lunch. My house was too far away for a trip home, so I ate my lunch in the green room and worked on other things on my computer while I silently watched these two people flounder for 45 minutes as they unsuccessfully tried to work on the puzzle. I silently thought to myself, "Amateurs!"

Finally they left, needing to get back to work. I proceeded to correct the damage that they had done and put more pieces in place in the next 20 minutes than they had done in the 45 I had observed them.

Soon it was time to get back to rehearsal. My friend entered, and I looked at him, and he said, "Don't even talk to me about it." We laughed.

Truly, everything I've written is in mock seriousness. It's hard to convey in written word, but I am not really upset about any of this. It's more tongue-in-cheek. I just thought it was funny and was joking with other cast mates later that puzzles should be left to the experts. Some people just don't have the knack. Another friend said she didn't have patience for puzzles. She could never figure out where the pieces go and was always putting them in the wrong places. I said, "at least you know that. These two people didn't seem to. I just wanted to jokingly say, 'All right, let the professionals in. Nothing to see here, folks. We'll take care of this.'"

As I later recounted this story to my mom, she was laughing; probably because she knows that she's one of those people who isn't very good at jigsaw puzzles and will continually try to put a piece where I can clearly see it doesn't belong. I just smile and let her do so.

Anyway, it's probably not as humorously expressed here as I had hoped, but it made me laugh.

Oh, and by the way, my friend and I fixed all the pieces again. Wonder how long that will last. :-)

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