It’s all fun and games on Tuesdays
Tuesday nights at Austin Wood’s house look extremely similar to a Thanksgiving dinner. There’s a giant spread of different foods featuring accommodatio ns for everyone. The room is filled with warm smiles and contagious laughter. But the real reason it feels like a Thanksgiving dinner is because it feels like you’re spending the evening with your closest family members.
Wood has been hosting Tuesday night game nights for almost six months. He usually sends an invite out to his friends, most of which are co-workers at the Shoreline Trader Joe’s store. His small apartment quickly fills up with food and friends. The games on game nights sometimes differ week by week. This week features a Mario theme – Super Mario Brothers and Mario Kart on his new Nintendo Switch. Sometimes it’s Dungeon and Dragons or DND, which they have been playing since the start of game night six months ago.
Wood moved to Washington in December last year and after already working in the grocery field, applied to a Trader Joe’s close to his sister’s house – the only person that he knew in the state.
Since joining the Trader Joe’s crew, they quickly became like his second family. “I like everyone that I work with and that’s not something that you come by often,” said Wood smiling. “I’ve faced this [before], and I know when things hit the fan, they have my back.”
Game night for Wood is more than just a night to get together with his friends and play DND. It holds him accountable to be social and see his friends. “Before I moved up here I found myself just working and coming home and I just would make excuses like, ‘I’m too tired,’” Wood explained. “I found myself not being social for weeks at a time.”
The hardest part for Wood’s is when he isn’t able to host for a week. “It gets to me when I have to cancel or postpone a week because I know that I’m not just cutting out that social interaction for me, I know that everyone is [missing out],” explained Wood.
Wood decided to start game night after talking about the idea with his c-worker, Kai Jensen. At first they started off with a larger group, but now it varies week by week. There’s usually at least 5 regulars of the group who specifically take Tuesdays off for game night.
The group is as diverse as all the different food that is brought to eat. “When I look at people in my group, I see them as my fellow geeks my fellow nerds, but outside looking in I suppose we don’t really look that way,” Wood explains. “We’re a pretty diverse group.” Wood’s jokes that they come as all different shapes and sizes. One member is a theater major, one went to school for astrobiology and another brings her kid, Dominic, to game nights sometimes. And that is one of Wood’s favorite parts of game night, it brings all of his friends together in one space.