For the past couple of years my sleep pattern has been changing –now I rarely sleep for eight hours in a row. Generally I’ll sleep for three or four hours at a time. I’ll get up and take a walk, perhaps to a local convenience store to chat with the clerks, or I’ll play music, or read. Then I’ll sink back down into the depths of somnolence for a couple more hours.
That’s why I was up at 3:30 this morning. I stepped out onto my porch aerie to smoke a cigarette. There was some sort of commotion going on directly below. I looked down and saw several young men involved in some sort of ritualistic activity — perhaps a game of some sort? I recognized Tom, my young downstairs neighbor. I called down to him:
“Hey, Tom, what’re you guys doin’?”
He looked up at me and said sheepishly, “Oh, we’re just playin’ this game called Ninja.”
I watched for a while; the game involves starting out in a huddle, then every player draws back and assumes odd postures seemingly derived from Kung Fu movies, Bruce Lee stuff. The game seems to be a variant of that hoary classic game Tag.
I took a few photos, propping my camera on the porch railing:
I was curious about this game and looked it up on Wikipedia. One of the virtues of Wikipedia is that if there are several meanings of a word a Disambiguation page opens up so that you can choose the meaning in which you are interested. Evidently Ninja is a common playground game:
Ninja reminds me of a game my kids used to play with the children of some friends; it was called Midnight. I never quite understood the rules, but that game involved running around wildly while shrieking. Meanwhile the parents sat inside and talked, insulated by walls from the chaos outside.