Coffee and a Boggle

Coffee and a Boggle

Last Saturday, it was my great pleasure to have two American friends over for a late morning cup of coffee. Ruth, a coworker from my California days, was visiting Paris with her partner Pia, and she had contacted me to know if I’d like to meet up. We had the loveliest time chatting together and catching up.

It should be said that Ruth and I have been through special times together : she and a few other coworkers (namely Marni, Geoffrey and Marcia) had made it a habit to play Boggle in the office kitchen (roomy and warm, bright orange and blue, how I miss that kitchen) during lunchtime. You know, Boggle, where you shake sixteen dice in a plastic box (rattle rattle rattle) then let them settle to form a grid of letters, and try to find as many words as possible on the grid before the sand timer runs out.

I gradually joined in the fun, and became a real Boggle enthusiast. It was a fabulous way to learn a bunch of tiny improbable English words, which I can never get enough of, and I loved the mood we played in, cheerful and relaxed. People would walk in and out of the kitchen, hover over the game (hints were highly fordbidden of course, but they would make a big show of pretending to see 7-letter words), the wonderful Mark C. would unfailingly make his favorite “it boggles the mind” pun, and we would chew on our sandwiches between each game, comparing lists and counting points.

Unfortunately, we got bought over by The Evil Irish, and some high-heeled little miss perfect, in a effort to show who the boss was, let us know with puckered lips and flared nostrils that Boggle playing was not considered an Appropriate Lunchtime Activity. I won’t even go into what she thought of the foosball table — she obviously hadn’t quite taken to the whole Silicon Valley oh-what-fun spirit.

That marked the end of the happy Boggle days, although we did secretly book a windowless conference-room a couple of times, in an attempt to relieve the withdrawal pains. It helped (just the memory makes me laugh with delight), but it didn’t feel quite the same. There was no toaster oven in there.

When I left the company, my Boggle friends were kind enough to give me my very own game of Boggle as a parting gift. I couldn’t have been more pleased, and I enrolled Maxence to play with me after that, in a pretty intense fashion, while we prepared the move back to France. We did have to invent a dictionary penalty though, because I, um, kept making up words. Not on purpose, of course, no. I wouldn’t do that.

So last Saturday, after the coffee was drunk, I took out my precious Boggle set, and we engaged in a little game. Pia turned out to be mighty good, and after two years of abstinence it was great to play again, just like in the old days, with one of my original partners in crime. A sandwich from Gene’s Fine Foods would have been nice, too.

  • Merkin

    If you like Boggle, and if you’re ever bored in an office or anywhere with an internet connection, you’ll love Babble http://www.playbabble.com

  • http://foodgoat.blogpsot.com ladygoat

    Boggle is the best! I would love to play it at work. If I play long enough I start to see Boggle configurations in my head, and while I’m dreaming.

  • http://www.toomanychefs.com Meg in Paris

    My husband and I met at work (an international organisation in Paris) and in the early days we had heated games of Scrabble on the computer at lunch time. I think my French colleagues thought we were crazy (well, people in love are anyway) but we loved it! Boggle, too, is good, though – played it loads when I was little.

  • Carol

    You must have worked near to where I live. Genes is just up the road and I believe there is only the one?

  • carla

    scrabble rocks…!

  • http://domesticgoddess.typepad.com/domestic_goddess/ Heather

    I can’t believe someone would actually say what is or isn’t an “appropriate lunchtime activity”! Good grief! We had not only the requisite foos ball table, but actually a whole game room with pinball machines, a basketball hoop and a pool table- and we were all the more productive for it!

  • http://www.toomanychefs.com Barrett

    Mind the Boggle?!

    Boggles the mind.

  • http://edibletulip.typepad.com Daphne Randall

    Ah, yes, boggle is quite fun! Reminds me of my time as a teenager en famille at the cottage on Lake Champlain where we drank lite budweiser beer and ate salty thin chips like Lays. Excellent memories! Now I play backgammon and cribbage with wine after dinner. Games are under-rated. Love the site. I worked as a chef for a family in Burgundy and I know Paris fairly well so I love checking out your web site and getting the full culinary tour. Thanks!

  • http://www.americandemeter.motime.org Karen

    Boggle would be a great way to help someone improve their English! I used to tutor a lovely woman from Korea, and was always thinking of lesson plans.

  • http://www.americandemeter.motime.com Karen

    alas…once again the wrong URL to my blog was recorded. if you click on my name at the end of this comment, you’ll get to the right page.

  • http://www.rappyamhappy.com rappy

    There’s an online game called Text Twist (you can find it on Yahoo! Games), which is similar to Boggle. You have 2 minutes to get as many words as possible, and you need to get the 6 letter word(s) in order to advance to the next level.

    I’ve spent far too many hours playing it.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Merkin – Thanks for the link, the game is cool! (Although, when I’m bored with an internet connection, blogging is my activity of choice!)

    Ladygoat – Oh yes, I get that too, with any concentration-intensive game!

    Meg – And now, I have even met the Scrabble partner! Am I lucky! :)

    Carol – I worked in the business complex to the right of Gene’s, across the parking lot, just off Saratoga Ave. I adored Gene’s Fine Foods, and I loved loved loved that little plazza. The Moveable Feast Café (my first Caesar salad ever), the Prolific Oven (luscious cakes and cookies), the Tuesday Morning bargain store… Are all these still there?

    Carla – I can’t play Scrabble, I have no luck, I get the worst letters, and then I’m all upset! :)

    Heather – Yeah, that girl was just from a completely different planet!

    Barrett – :))

    Daphne – I’m delighted you like the blog!

    Karen – Yes, I did learn lots of new words. Only small ones though! :)

    Rappy – Oh that sounds good too, I’ll check it out!

  • http://www.mum-mum.info Wena

    ooh! boogle! i remember playing it during english classes in primary school at the age of 10-12. very addictive and we spent hours playing it.

  • David

    I bought a Nintendo DS as did a coworker, and now we play in the office wirelessly against each other!!

    Boggle FTW!

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