Sunday, November 19, 2006

he first week of my new job was all training and went well. A lot to absorb, but all good training is like that.

Last night we took our nephew to Dave and Busters for games. He's 13, just putting his foot in the world.

Had some Chinese food first, and good conversation. (My fortune cookie told me: "Look up an estranged friend. All is forgiven". My wife asked, "Who could that be?" I said, "Oh, it could be any number of people," and put the fortune down on my dirty plate.) At D&B's he and I rode atomic powered snow mobiles, where I got my ass kicked by another guy, looked over, and found that the "other guy" was a 6 year old kid that weighed about 40 pounds.

We also tried out the Battletech pods. It was our first time in them. I chose the name "Speck", and the mech named "Hellraiser". He chose "Bushwhacker". Three other guys were in the other pods, and they'd all played the game plenty of times. You have to actually use two levers, like a tank I guess, one to move the mech and one to shoot. I knew I was a dead duck right there. The only thing I can do with two hands is play the guitar. My nephew and I had looked at the three incredibly detailed spec sheets for the mechs and quickly chose the medium sized models (they get faster as they get smaller), thinking that was juuuuuust riiiight.

We were wrong.

As the game went on, I was killed. Over. And over. And over again. My mech's gun kept pointing to the sky when I aimed it. On the small radar screen I spied the red dots of my enemies and as I turned my mech (slowly, ever so slowly) and ran over to one, another one would plaster me, and the screen would go to the dreamy blue swirly tunnel and the faint woman's voice intoning "Elevating... elevating..." This is a mech's entrance to the netherworld.

Happily, you're returned to the battlefield in another mech, just like the one you left. They don't explain exactly how this resurrection occurs, but you just keep shooting. Every once in a while I'd run up to one of the other mechs (the other three guys had chosen the huge ones, which is what we should have done, especially considering that our inexperience prevented us from using the main benefit of the smaller mechs, which is speed) and butting up against them and shooting repeatedly.

When it was finally over, we got out of our pods and found out that the TV Screen on the left of the room replayed the entire battle. That's right, we could then watch, with the other players, how we had run around aimlessly in circles, or shot our guns into the air, or how one of them pivoted expertly on his midpoint, gun leading me to a fiery demise.

The winner was an eight year old who went by the name "Destruction". Ginko and Razor were next, followed by us.

I'm going to save my money and do it again.

Dave and Buster's is an adult oriented arcade. Alcoholic drinks and cigarettes allowed. I saw not one person smoking, I realized as we were walking out, but plenty of people drinking. Save for special occasions like this, with the nephew visiting, I avoid such an environment on the advice of visitors here and the old timers at my meetings, but it's strange how as time passes and you embrace the blessings of sobriety and the peace of listening to God, that the stabbing longing for those things start to dull into a memory.

But I'm always only one drink away from a drunk, and I don't want to trade in the joy I got from last night for another drunk for anything.

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