Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sedona and the Macy's chess club part 1

Not even kitties can resist the Route 66 Doghaus. I had to make a dog stop before the journey. Mmm the hickory bacon dog is like a roller coaster in your mouth and digestive system.

I stopped over at Macy's cafe Monday night to check out their chess club. Last Monday they had three boards goings and a limited number of creepy old guys so I inquired as to how often they meet. A white bearded man said every Monday until 10. So I penciled it in.

My mountainous home. Partly cloudy through a dusty windshield. Also analogous to life.

Macy's is a self described "European Cafe." What makes it European other than the prices is still a mystery. It keeps busy most of the time and kind of reminds me of a pseudo hippie Panera but with all vegetarian food. The clientele is pretty mixed. Ive seen babies, dirty hippies, old pretentious hippies and chess players all in the same ten foot radius. You'd think that would open some sort of vortex.

A picture from Oak Creek Canyon Lookout. Pictures just don't give it justice, it is so huge.
So Monday night rolls around and I return with the intention of getting a good game in and finishing my book. I talk with the girl behind the counter for a couple minutes cause I cant figure out if shes a hippie or a lesbian. The tattoos and short hair really go either way and shes obligated to make conversation.

Certain death from the canyon drop.

Their are four games going with a fifth guy hanging out harassing the other players. I took my hot apple cider over and asked if he was up for a game. He kindly gestured to sit down and started making conversation. Flagstaff has a unique small talk that isn't so much "What do you do?" or Hows it goin?" Its more of a "What are you doing here?", "What adventures do you bring?" introduction.

Something green is growing on the outer edge of the canyon. Look at that lush forest in the background.

I tentatively spill a small life story and he does the same. I start to wonder if were ever going to play some chess and hes still talking about old friends and places from long ago. It doesn't take long to realize no one is actually from Flag, everyone has a story to tell and they all want to tell it.

It goes on forever and the cold nights keep a little remaining snow to make small native American snow men with. Then they scalp them with snow tomahawks.

We set the timer for ten minutes a side and I start as white. The cafe is a buzz with activity even for eight in the evening on a Monday night. I know he underestimates my play because he starts with some crazy post modern fianchetto. I beg him with the queens gambit but he denies.

You cant fight the sun up here nor the awesome mountains.

We get into a tough middle game where I dominate the center but he is launching a complex counter attack. I know the he knows that he played to soft in the opening. He gets that concerned look because time is starting to tick down and he needs a good plan quickly.

The road to the city leads right through that.

We come out of the middle game and into the endgame dead even on material. My position is slightly better and we both a several major pieces left. His time is dwindling fast while I have a couple minutes left. At this point I'm thinking about the strongest piece, the clock. He is too. I'm not subtle about looking at it.

A view of Slide Rock about 1500 ft down the canyon. Its being shadowed by the cliffs on the other side.

Then I blunder. Their goes a rook. Hes not relaxing, he has almost no time left. Mine is running short too and its my only hope. I foolishly make an exchange in the hopes of complicating the endgame further. Gambling on his endgame skill is really all I have left. But he pulls through in the end by queening an untouchable pawn and mating me with about four seconds left. That was a burner and I didn't want another game.


Anonymous said...

Hickory bacon dog sounds tasty to me. I saw a Michael Moore book somewhere between those books, i take it you like Michael Moore? I do, i got two of his movies. What's the title of the book? So do you really live that picturesque? Too bad you lost your game. Better luck next time. ;-)

transformation said...

i cannot get into the details, but she, my guru spoke of otherworldly experiences in this canyon. i have meditated there, and been there twice.

Pawn Shaman said...

tcoem - it took a minute to figure out who you are ;). Those are actually one of my roommates collection of books. Im not really a Michael Moore fan. His movies are worth watching but his info always turns out to be majorly skewed and biased. Fortunately, I do live that picturesque. If you ever get the chance you have to come see it.

Trans - From your other comment and this one, I cant tell you how nice it is that you understand this area. Their is something truly mystical, as if words can describe it, about the canyon. I have heard of such experiences in Sedona and will certainly explore it further. After a short walk my first time at Grasshopper Point I had no choice but to stop and let go of everything. As Heidegger says "We never come to thoughts, they come to us." Something about Sedona pours thoughts down like rain.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the matter with tcoem is, you can now comment with any open ID on blogger. Problem is, i cannot fill in any name. I can only fill out my blog url, and it just uses the first part after the http etc of the url as a name. Anyway, wow another offer to drop by in the states... I also got an offer from chessloser. It'll probably never happen though, but thanks anyway.

chessloser said...

you, sir, are a WRITER. that was freakin awesome. your description of macy's reminds me of how it used to be, "back in the day," in bisbee, down south where i lived. babies, hippies, bikers, freaks, all in a 5 foot radius. from what i remember, sedona had the only blue arches, a mcdonalds with a big turquoise M. is it still there?