Friday, August 08, 2008


I have changed platforms. I am very happy.

Unrelated, but longer, side note: A recent Charlotte Observer column mentioned the columnist's child enjoying a spray park--quite literally a large concrete slab dotted with sprinklers and sprayers for the express purpose of running through. Think of it as that fountain at the mall you always wanted to jump in, but your mom wouldn't let you. All the water is chlorinated and recycled, so in these drought-ridden times it's a far more eco-friendly option than setting up a sprinkler in the yard for your runts to jump through. I would seriously love to find this park and run around in it...except perhaps after all the little sticky tripping hazards have gone home for dinner.

The thing is, when I was a kid I hated running through the sprinkler. It was absolutely no fun. Not the sprinkler bit--that was a delight. What made me sulk and sit it out was the boys. We typically set up a sprinkler when there were numerous kids to play in it--on neighborhood-friendly holidays such as July 4 and the like--and there were always dozens of kids who wanted to splash around. Most of the kids were fine with waiting our turns to run through it, but the neighborhood rascals would grow tired of that quickly and decide to turn this harmless garden tool into a weapon or a game. After ten minutes of jump-splash-whee the event suddenly turned into run-spray-argh or some bizarre, confusing team-based contest in which we were required, usually by an older, blond male, to run around or through the spray before the contraption tilted and hit a designated mark or person. It never made much sense, it wasn't fun for the girls, and I usually wound up getting an elbow to the face and storming off to cry in a dry lap. Well, initially dry.

The thing is, i've always hated games. I don't enjoy having an objective to my leisure time and I despise abiding by arbitrary rules. I've always sucked at video games for that reason--while most players are off trying to kill other players or obtain weapons, I'm contenting myself with exploring the game space and trying to talk to other characters. I usually wind up being killed within minutes. I tend to drive safely in racing games and was actually mocked ruthlessly for asking a game owner what button flipped indicator lights. Apparently blinkers are not commonly used in Mario Kart. I've never gotten the point of Mortal Kombat, found myself bored and lost in Doom, and only enjoyed X-Wing until the Imperial troops came into view and started firing. The star background was fun to fly around in...that is, after I figured out how to take off from the mothership. That sort of fiddly stuff is needlessly difficult. In any case, I don't understand physical or social competition outside of the biological imperative to earn a mate, and will never understand how an afternoon of playing in the sprinkler can be improved upon by adding rules. Particularly the common childhood rule of "if you're not playing the game, you can't play in here." Okay, fine. I'll take my sprinkler and go.

1 comment:

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Oh, I totally love you.