Sunday, October 09, 2005

Traumatic Experiences with French Pre-Teens

Satadru asked, and at first, I couldn't talk about it.

Oh, alright - it was the devastating spiritual and emotional depantsing I had the year before I moved to Ann Arbor. I was laid off (a good thing), and spending most of my time writing nasty rants about people in my neighborhood (got one published), swimming, and playing Tetris DX on game boy color. I was getting really good (I thought), and a bit cocky (like someone else I know). I played with ferver and passion. I played on the bus, in line, on the toilet. I played for longer than I could do anything else - till my thumbs were tingling and my elbows were numb. I was *mastering* it, I could feel it happening. And with that, I decided to make my abilities part of my self-definition, I decided to join the community of Tetris masters, and I decided to check my high-scores agains the rest of the world.

Even if I had no idea what I was doing with my life.
Even if I was spinning my wheels and my brain and my fingertips.
Even if I was spending my days in a series of anti-social distractions.

At least I was focused - I was training and building my Tetric skills. That has to count for something, it has to contribute in some way, right? Right??

Alexis begged me not to.

"There's no reason to do it," she said. "Just enjoy the game for what it is."

I agreed...for a while.

Late one night, she was asleep, and I crept upstairs to my computer, tucked in the eaves of our drafty home. I googled and scanned, and it was then that I saw them - the French Pre-Teens.

Curse them...curse them and their shifty huguenotic ways. Not only were their scores high - they were scores I thought impossible. Millions and millions, up to the highest number the score could be - for there were only seven spaces. And, lest you think they were engaging in unsupported boasting, the nasty little tadpoles had taken digital screen shots.

I was devastated. I felt I had nothing. My life spun into a kraken-sucked whirlpool of drowning destruction. I lay awake, eyes red and raw at the dawn.

The next morning, we were leaving on a roadtrip. Headed out the door, Alexis grabbed my gameboy off the couch.

"I don't wannit," I said listlessly, my toe grinding in the carpet, my shoulders low.

"I don't wanna play anymore."

And indeed I didn't - nothing touched me again in that special place that Tetris had occupied. I was alone in the world, the wind whistled through my thin shirt and whipped my hair about my face. I didn't let anyone in...until I met someone who didn't care about my score, who didn't even keep one.

Zelda, how I love you. I will always search for you.