Part of this is the problem of the current set - it is difficult for me to read and therefore difficult for me to play. The other problem is the general problem of "play" as an adult in general.
I went and carved time out to play last Weds but preparing to play made me remember the disability issue - I could not "risk" playing because of the academic workload coming up over the weekend and could not afford the neurological side effects.
On my birthday we agreed to play, but the person was caught in their group work - his original desire was to play in "Organized Play" but that starts at 7 - there is no way to move from work to "play" without some mental preparation ( plus material preparation) as it was he joined us at the home event three hours late -
In that time my other friend and I had taken the opportunity to sort cards - specifically land - by matching the artwork in it. This is in preparation for something like a cube - a fixed form of the game that emulates the booster pack based draft environment.
During the sorting of cards there was a feeling of "play" we talked about what the cards meant - imagined stories about the art, recognized and matched artists and art themes. Joked and remembered stories, made vulgar references ( ah trickster class)
This form of play - pattern making and improvisational/adaptive - seems to interact with Bordieu's descriptions of habitus and the idea of "discovery" of things that seem natural or original within the context of cognitive and social interactions being "the forgetting of history" - by which he meant the individual acculturation of discipline and the world that existed before the person did, through the structure structuring itself.
We are sorting cards that were based on archetypal semiotics and specifically reference the art history of landscape painting and the MASSIVE structure of hierarchy and discipline that those paintings rest upon.
We are using tools not designed for our task, and the inversion of what the items are is part of the play ( I use a very fancy tea caddy to sort cards)
|not the land cards|
The card sorting was also a side effect of the study - these were the cards that were being categorized for collection and circulation data - so one of the places where my work self/play self are explicitly combined in native participation - there is no separation of anthropological self in the acts of sorting cards - there is only the knowing consumption of the activity (Holt)
The gathering that night was birthday based and where normally my birthday goes by with minimal "marking" due to the difficulties of balancing "down time" with some work I am doing as an adovacy rep, I let my social circle know that it existed. There were three separate gatherings of friends with overlap and they all involved food, sharing of things they like and the trying of those things by me.
The acts of "play" in the gatherings were in the choosing of what to mark me with- and what I should share with them. There is aspect of joking relationships - One of my gifts was matches, a very large box of matches - I do no smoke. I understood the matches ;-)
The acts of play also include the plans of boundaries - and discovery outside the Bourdieu habitus sense - or maybe inside if we look at it through improvisational adjustment lens.
The culture of one of the Gatherings included "birthday shots" among the group that was there ( and the hostess particularly) - as a rule I don't generally drink shots because if I like something slamming it back quickly simply to create a physical effect seems counterproductive - and improvisational adjustment was negotiated - I would try something new once they discovered I would drink whisky shots if it was a good sipping whisky - the person most invested in the birthday shot tradition was excited to share her favorite whisky with me - and the ordering of birthday shots meeting the outlines of that social space could continue according to it's rules while I interacted with it through application of my own - the gathering went on for over 4 hours - during which I sipped through 4 shots slowly. Having been at other gatherings with the Birthday shot tradition I am aware that those 4 shots would have been consumed in rapid succession if I were game or still standing at the end - so I am also aware that the rituals of ordering, viewing, shared toasting, anticipation of effect and proposed ideas of future misbehavior, then consumption would have been in a much tighter timeframe and had very different effect - so the improvisational adjustment was also on the part of my friends.
I would argue that we "played with" the birthday shot ritual in that we warped its "rules"
The status game discussed by anthropologists in terms of social and cultural capital uses the word "game" which drags along the word "play" as a verb to describe the action of engaging in the game.
Playing - simply means engaging here - play as verb
Play as a noun however is still running around loose.
The end result of the night is we all have a way for me to participate in future birthday shot rituals that is now "Known" -Drinne WILL drink shots with us she just won't throw them back
In this crowd getting me to participate in rituals around alcohol shows personal knowledge
I do intentionally not share some of this knowledge - the social pressure for that is protective to them - my tastes are significantly different than what is often ordered or shared and I don't want anyone to feel judged nor do I want anyone to go to extra expense to get something specific to my tastes.
I need to give some thought to this - my reticence is based in making others feel comfortable when I share information there is a social and cultural capital exchange going on based in economic capital
Friendship and name kinships are involved in this specific group - knowing things about each other "outside" is a kind of cultural currency.
But the "play" aspects of a party involve very little "play" outside the rituals themselves - so they seem to be "leisure" in the way that they are simply "not work" only inversions of rules or creations of patterns seem to be "playful" - and I'm inclined to think of them as "things of transient effect" but on reflection they aren't transient at all
My cards are sorted by art - everyone present now knows the different arts and on particular piece of art will forever be called by this group "the Vulva Land"
The group that celebrated with me now knows I drink whiskey and scotches and that can be a site of future sharing and ritual -
Those are not transient. That's emergent effect from play and tiny, but transformational
However, it does match with the idea of "forgetting of history" as discovery - those things are transmitted through play. They existed beforehand they just weren't shared with each other and they were utilized through activity.