In a short while, I will wander down to my local post office, where I will turn a key in the lock of my post box to find a card notifying me of a parcel. I will go inside, and collect my parcel, a board game I have had on order for the last five months or so. I wonder how big it will be? How heavy? Some board games I have had delivered have been surprisingly small and lightweight.
When I get it home, I will cut open the seals on the box it was posted in with my grape knife (a wicked looking curved blade that is extraordinarily handy to have around the place), and wade through the packing foam peanuts to find the a box wrapped in vacuum-sealed plastic.
I will carefully cut open one side of this plastic, and I will be immediately rewarded with a hint of the scent to come. I will slide the remaining plastic off of the box, and set it to one side, before reverently removing the lid of the box.
A small vacuum will be created as I do this, as air tries to get in the sides of the box trying to fill the expanding space between the two halves, prolonging the process and the anticipation of what I will find inside: Will there be lots of die-cut cardboard pieces to carefully punch out? What sort of interesting player pieces will there be? What will the art look like? Will the dice have a satisfying heft and clatter when rolled?
After a second the box will be opened, and I will breathe in that rich, heady smell of ink printed on cardboard and paper. I will take a moment to spread the contents out before me to have a good look at them, then I will variously unwrap, sort, punch out, and assemble.
I will read through the rulebook just enough so that I can explain them to others, but I will avoid the scenario booklets so that surprise is maintained.
I will then lovingly place everything back in the box, with any extraneous cardboard shells tucked under the moulded plastic insert to keep the game components flush with the lid and thus contained when the box is tilted sideways.
With the game pieces safely stowed I will collect the box, some other games, my wallet, keys, and other necessaries, hop in my car and drive to where my friends are. I will then place the box on the table, take everything out once more, and annoy them until they play with me.
The game is Betrayal at House on the Hill. I have been waiting for this for MONTHS.
It will be glorious.
Anticipation can be a wonderful thing; it is a good motivator and it can be pleasurable in its own right. But anticipation can turn into expectation, and that can backfire on you when things don't go as you have planned.
I had it all worked out. I had a wife I loved, a great job, a plan for the future I was working toward. Anticipation had turned to expectation regarding that plan though, and when it turned out that I wasn't going to get what I'd been working towards for years it was a real blow. I'd rolled a one and landed on a snake that took me back six years, ouch man!
To be fair there was a hell of a lot of good to come out of those six years for me. A hell of a lot. They have been valuable in terms of personal development and rich in experiences. I don't know if I'd do things differently if I had my time again or not. But the backfire of anticipation and expectation still stings, and I find myself anxious; Will I get to have what I want? A house in a quiet place with a bit of land to grow food, some to garden, and some to revegetate with endemic species. Chickens burbling happily while lying in the sunshine. The companionship of a big ol' licky hound. Having children and grandchildren, teaching them, sharing experiences with them, watching them grow up, and finally living on through them.