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Thursday, June 6, 2013

This means war.

Every time I go to the subway, I grab a copy of the Metro so that I can relax for at least half of my ride by doing the Sudoku. When I get on the car, I flip it open to the back, fold the paper in half, and start the puzzle. It usually takes me about 6 stops to finish it.

This past Wednesday, I was into my usual routine, when I noticed that a man directly across from me had the exact same ritual. We ended up starting the puzzle right away together. I do these puzzles at a reasonable pace, and relish the calm that washes over me as I solve it ... just like the feeling I get when I do my crosswords. It's a very Zen thing I have going on with these little boxes.

Today was different, though. I don't really know why it happened, but I pushed myself to solve it quicker than I normally do, and not because I wanted to better my time, but to beat the man across from me. I've never acted like this before, but instead of a calming wave, a feeling of destructive power surged through me.

I *had* to beat him. I *had* to finish my puzzle first. And I had to do so in a spectacular fashion by demolishing my competition and leaving him to Eat. My. Dust.
I don't even get this way when I compete at the ACPT every year!
You can imagine the surprise I felt as this was taking place.

I made a stupid mistake about a minute in, but caught it right away and changed the number. That wouldn't have happened if I had taken my time like I do every other day. I kept peeking over at him and saw that his pen wasn't making as much contact with the paper as mine. Fabulous!
But wait, was I looking up at the wrong times? Was he possibly even filling in the grid even faster than me? I pushed the thought out of my mind and trudged on.
About 4 stops later, I saw him fold the paper the opposite way and put it down on the seat next to him.
There was no way he could have finished.
I only had 4 more boxes to fill in, so I was done within a minute.
That was one minute after he put his paper down.

I get the feeling that he gave up. Judging by what I was seeing, he wasn't filling in the grid like I was, so there's a huge chance he just decided to stop. Or maybe he was superduper fast and did it in a matter of minutes. One minute faster than me.

The paper sat beside him lifeless. Not even so much of a hint of a suggestion thrown my way.
Harumph.

He got off the train at Yonge/Bloor. I had 4 more stops to go til we reached Bathurst.
The paper remained on the seat and stayed in that exact spot for the duration of my train ride.

For 4 stops, I stared at that paper. Sitting there. Taunting me.
What the hell, Polly?
I knew I was going batty because I honestly had one of those angel-and-devil-on-the-shoulder moments.
Half of me knew I was being ridiculous and felt I should laugh it off and let it all go, while the other half wanted to run over and check the puzzle.
It was the weirdest sensation I've had in I don't know how long.

I'm very happy to say that the train pulled into Bathurst, I got up from my seat, and walked directly off the car, without touching the paper. And not only did I not pick the paper up, but I actually laughed my ass off as I stepped onto the platform.

Did I somehow step onto some weird mind-altering traincar?
Did the train zoom through an evil wormhole and suck me into it as well?
Was I part of a Doctor Who episode without realizing it for 13 subway stops?

I have no idea what the real answer is, but I'd better start packing my cape in my bag from now on, just in case I need to fight off invisible evil-doers the next time. Or next time *travel*.
You never know.

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