Thursday, November 12, 2009

Looking Back

Welp, tomorrow’s my birthday and as of right now I have zero plans planned. It’s my day off so I don’t even have to work, and my wife generally gives me a lot of “birthday leeway” so I probably won’t have much in the way of chores around the house either. Pretty much my schedule is wide open…so I may very well end up doing nothing.

THAT thought is a bit more depressing than the prospect of being another year older. I don’t take extremely good care of myself by any means, but I still feel about five years younger than I am…chalk it up to periodic fasting and a lot of walking. Oh…and red wine taken in liberal, medicinal amounts.

Still, it’s only human to feel a little envious of others. Oh, I don’t envy other people their high-paying gigs or high profile positions. For the most part I am totally satisfied with the decisions I’ve made in my life and the point that it’s brought to me. But I DO feel a bit envious of others who have regular gaming groups that have stuck together “through thick and thin” over the years.

Sorry to wax melancholy and all, but it IS my blog and my birthday, so I’m feeling entitled. Also, part of this blog is a review of my personal history in/through gaming, and I’ve gotten away from that a bit with recent posts (instead devolving into Scorpionic venting). So there!
Anyway, there are a few different ways people find gaming groups: one is going to Cons, which I don’t do. One is taking out ads at the local game-shop/on-line forum which to date I have procrastinated on except for Pat’s On-Line B/X game. And the other (I’m guessing usual) way is to gather together a group of friends and play…unfortunately, this is the one thing I haven’t seemed to be able to keep together over the years.

It’s the same with bands (i.e. musical groups). Talk to anyone who’s been in a long-running band for a number of years and they’ll tell you the thing that keeps ‘em together is as much friendship as the urge to make music. It’s one of the reasons one might find musicians of disparate talent working together for decades…if they enjoy each other’s company and can “gel” well THAT’s the important thing. I myself have played with a number of bands over the years but with one exception they were all people I hooked up with through “friends of a friend” or through an advertisement of “musicians wanted.” None of ‘em lasted beyond one or two gigs (and some not even that long) before falling apart.

It’s been much the same with the few gaming sessions I’ve had over the last decade or so…one-time sessions that are sometimes fun and sometimes not, but that just don’t go anywhere. There’s no glue that holds the group together…the people, even if they’re passing acquaintances, are not “friends” in the strict sense of the term. And they simply drift away.

I HAVE had strong gaming groups in the past and we WERE in fact good friends…but we’ve just drifted apart over the years. I mean they’re STILL friends, but we’ve just lost touch or (more often) they’ve moved out of the area. I’m the only “non-rolling stone;” at least it seems like that sometimes: Boston, Oregon, California…even Eastern Washington and Snohomish County. Outside the city may as well be the moon for the inconvenience of casual gaming.

Is it really so hard to hang onto friends?

Well, perhaps it takes a special type of miscreant to continue to play games into adulthood while still maintaining a job, home, spouse, etc. Some people “grow up” and move onto “adult” things. Some folks “never grow up” and are still working out the un-resolved issues of adolescence. I’m just kind of a weird duck, I guess.

Or perhaps I’m just lazy. Just got a call from my wife wanting to know what I want to do for my birthday tomorrow and I really have no idea. She wants to know if I want to hang out with any of my “old friends” but it has been so long since I’ve been in contact with most (and hell, for many I have no way to contact them anyway!) that it would seem weird (to me) to call ‘em up and say, hey, hang out with me for my birthday. This is what I get from putting off networking 365 days a year. Why can’t we all just live in the same damn town/neighborhood? Ugh!

Anyway, if I’m envious of anything it’s the folks out there playing regular games around the table. If I had MY druthers, that’s what I’d be doing Friday night. But even if I were to somehow, miraculously “get the band back together,” who’s to say we could even come to a consensus on what game we were going to play. Plus I’d probably have to prep it all myself…and then we’d have to make characters and such…and what I’d rather do first is actually CATCH UP a little with people before sitting down to a game…and shit, why haven’t I done all this before?
As I said: ugh and double-ugh. Not to beat myself up or anything, but I accept that this is simply a silly dilemma of my own making. Ah, well. I’ll muse on it a bit more tonight I’m sure.


  1. Aim high and be true to yourself and they will come...

  2. Excellent advice, sir! Appreciate it!
    : )

  3. Thanks! I actually have 12 hours and 16 minutes left till I am officially 36!

  4. Happy birthday!

    And yes, it does seem like it's hard to hold on to friends in this highly mobile world we live in. It's a shame, really.

    Your reference of "getting the band back together" immediately brought to mind some gamer version of Blues Brothers, which was simultaneously entertaining and disturbing in its implications.

    I'll echo Blair and say that almost certainly you'll find yourself with another group of friend-gamers in time. It's recently happened for me; it's really nice when that happens. (Now I'm waiting for people to start moving away...)

  5. The is the reason that my two of my highschool buds and I started going to GenCon 5 years ago. We live all over the country, have kids, jobs, etc., but man it feels good to geek out over an extra-long weekend. It's the only con I go to, and it is nice to have something "regular" even if it is only once per year.

  6. Thanks, folks. I'm actually having lunch tomorrow with an old gamer buddy that I haven't had a decent, sit-down conversation with in...well, about 15 or so years. Maybe he's looking for a game...?
    : )

  7. I forgot the "be proactive" part of my advice.

    Happy birthday & good fortune in your quest!