October 06, 2003


I hereby introduce you to one of my vices. When I was ten-eleven-twelve years old, I used to spread pieces of a puzzle across my bedroom floor for days on end. Something about the slide-connect feel of the pieces fitting together was oh so satisfying. I think I also liked having something to do with my hands and part of my brain while leaving the other part free to listen to the radio and daydream. But that passed and I moved on, shuffling tiny colorful cardboard pieces under the bed and desk and rug. The jigsaw phase was past.

Until one weekend ten or eleven years ago. Dan and I went down to stay at a bed and breakfast inn on a working farm outside San Diego, an incredibly peaceful spot, perfect for afternoon siestas in the hammock by the brook, a bungled morning attempt at badminton, and yes, evenings by the fire putting jigsaw puzzles together along with other inn denizens.

Maybe I was trying to carry a little of that lazy weekend into my daily life, maybe I just had remembered that satisfying slide-connect of the pieces, but I found Puzzle Zoo on the Third Street Promenade and started bringing home jigsaw puzzles which took over the dining room table for days and weeks at a time.

That was fun. But it did make it kind of hard to eat dinner, have company over, and, well, get stuff done. Not to mention the cat's glee at jumping up onto the table, scattering pieces which he'd then bat around the apartment until he lost them under the couch. So, more sadly this time, I boxed up the puzzles and stacked them in a closet.

Then of course I had Damian. Young kids and thousand piece jigsaws? Not so much. Not until someone figured out javascript this and shockwave that and hey, a puzzle that takes up no more room than your computer screen, with a new one every day. No more pieces under the couch. No more slide-connect either, that visceral shiver-your-fingerbones feeling of a correct choice. But it does make a cute little clicking sound which is almost as good. I'm a daily puzzle addict and it costs nothing but time. Which, yeah, I don't have, but still. It's fun and fun is good, right?

Here's the thing, though: does this jigsaw lust make me a little old lady at heart?

Posted by Tamar at October 6, 2003 10:31 PM

I'm so glad to see I'm not the only jigsaw addict! I have been playing at jigzone.com, where the puzzles are a bit quicker so I get my daily fix in only a few minutes. I'm not sure if it's a bad thing, but they have an archive, so I feel compelled to 'make up' the puzzles I miss.

Also wanted to let you know, I enjoy your blog and photojournal.

Posted by: Tricia at October 7, 2003 07:16 AM

Puzzles are a wonderful thing! I've always enjoyed the mental challenge and stimulation of visually trying to match the picture - colours, shapes - and the different parts of the pieces - a sharp angle here, a rounded knob there. When I was studying for my pre-lims, I did several larger puzzles to help distract me and keep me from stressing out. A great way to keep the mind focused and yet relax at the same time! Besides, it also makes you feel somehow "productive" when watching those cliff-hanger baseball playoff games... (Go Red Sox!!!!)

Posted by: jms at October 7, 2003 08:54 AM