Monday, May 21, 2018

Childish Things

Saturday night I managed to lose my wallet, which is at least as embarrassing as it is inconvenient. There's little in it that couldn't be replaced (aside from the punch cards for my local bierhaus), but's a pain in the ass.

One of the major ways it's a pain is the hindrance to my ability to drive. Oh, I could still drive (one needs a vehicle to drive, after all, not a license), but I just replaced one tail light bulb and I know it's only a matter of time before the other needs a similar treatment...and do I really want to risk getting pulled over for something silly and getting a giant ticket for not having a license on me?

No. I have better ways to spend my money.

Unfortunately, Department of Licensing offices are few and far between these days (government cutbacks), and they're closed on Sundays. And also, apparently, on Mondays (did I mention government cutbacks?). You can get a temporary license on-line (and print it at home)...but you need a bank card to do so. And my bank card was in my wallet.


So, I'm on bicycle, at least till tomorrow. Which is fine, probably good for me (I have a trailer to haul my kids to and from school, so no worries there). I've been biking a LOT lately, something I haven't really done since high school. The wife was in town the last three weeks and her office was doing some sort of "bike month" contest, which (because she's my wife) she was ultra-competitive about winning. We ended up riding nearly 16 miles yesterday before she hopped on a plane for South America.

My "car" this week.
Like I said, it's probably good for me. My muscle tone's been coming back, though that's at least in part due to changes I've made to my diet. Well, not today...this morning I'm down at the Baranof eating biscuits and gravy and hash browns and eggs and bacon (hey, I'll be biking later!). But MOSTLY I've been trying to eat more grains and raw vegetables and less of the crap that I usually do.

[still drinking too much, though. Exhibit A: misplaced wallet]

Spending a lot of time on my bike means firing up old muscle memories and, of course, that means waxing nostalgic about gaming, especially Dungeons & Dragons. Back when I used my bike as my main mode of transportation, the places I was going were (usually) gaming related: I was going to my friends' houses (to game) or we were riding to and from school (talking about our games) or we were riding to some book store or other (to buy games and game-related product). And just humming along at a leisurely pace, my mind drifts into imaginative brainstorming, thinking about things I'd like to do in-game...

But even if that wasn't enough to (naturally) get me thinking about D&D, it doesn't hurt that the dude who owns the local bike shop (where we picked up some fittings for our bikes) is a big ol' D&D player/DM and hangs out with other D&D DMs (at the shop) shooting the breeze about the hobby. This is all news to me, though totally unsurprising. The D&D hobby seems to enjoy a healthy following in the Greenwood 'hood, even though I've never before made the acquaintance of any of these people. I am either incredibly anti-social or incredibly self-involved. Probably both.

Anyway, had a decent conversation with these folks in passing though (as usual) I spent more time simply asking questions and listening and zero time expounding on my thoughts on the game (don't like to scare people). Interesting tidbits: these guys have played for looooong periods of time. They run separate games (they're not all in the same group). They have kids the same age (or a little older) than mine and have recently been introducing youngsters to the game (at the request of others). For this, they're using 5E, though with heavy edits ("cuts") due to accessibility/teaching issues.

[asked about older editions, one guy said his preferred edition was "3.5" but felt that was waaaay out of reach for most kids...or adults. The other guy joked he'd wanted to make his kids play through every edition of D&D in chronological order, starting at 0E. I'm not sure that's a terrible idea, actually...]

These things, these thoughts, have made me wonder what ever happened to the gaming companions of my youth. I mean, I know where they are (Facebook, yeah?) and a bit about their lives: spouses, kids, jobs, etc. But have they really quit gaming? Have they found other creative outlets for their imaginations? Or has that part of themselves really just withered and died over the last several decades?

It hasn't for me, though Lord knows why not. Even when I'm not gaming, I'm thinking about gaming (or how things relate...or how they could gaming). I think my parents assumed I'd "grow out of it" (my father probably thinks I did...). My non-gamer wife hoped I'd give it up sometime, though I think she's resigned herself to my hobby at this point.

[gaming is my "porn"...sneaking old editions into the house or looking at PDFs when she's not around or using my book profits as a "slush fund" for buying game product without leaving a paper trail in our bank records. Sorry, sweetie. I'm not dishonest with my wife, but Scorpios have secrets (as she well knows, being one herself)]

'Course it might just be that I've had too easy a life. My old buddy Kris ("the Doctor" or "Doc," as I like to call him) has returned to Seattle after living down in Oregon for nearly two decades. Visited him the other day, and man, he is doing awful. Looks to be in his mid-70s despite being only a couple years older than me. Has a hard time talking because his dentures are all broken; has a hard time moving because his back is all screwed up. He's been on Social Security Disability for the last 25 years and the pills he takes for his bi-polar disorder have him all fucked up...can't use his hands anymore to paint or play guitar (and he used to be badass at both). His parents are dead, he has no one who can look after him, he was homeless in Oregon for a couple years and he's now living with MY fucked up brother in a house owned by our mutual friend who's fallen back into his heroin addiction. Just a f'd up mess. And he hates it. Hates it. But what can he do? You can't find a place to rent in Seattle for the $500 month he has in housing allowance.

Another old gaming buddy of mine (this one from high school) has just decided to move east of the mountains, where the cost of living is 40% of Seattle. That's understandable enough...except that the guy was born and raised in the heart of this town and has lived here his whole life (with the exception of his time at University of Chicago). But despite being untethered to a family or mortgage, he just can't make it here (i.e. survive) as an artist...and art is his raison d'être.

Maybe if I lived in a "survival mode" of scrambling just to feed and shelter myself I'd have zero time for gaming. Maybe...though I suspect I'd need the solace of escapism that gaming provides even more than I already do. Maybe I'm just an asshole.

All right...this is a weird, wandering post that doesn't seem to have much point, so I think I'm going to cut it off. I've got a couple half-finished drafts on the old blogger that'll probably make more sense; I'll try to get them finished and posted over the next couple days. When I'm not busy biking and whatnot.

Later, Gators.

1 comment:

  1. Despite our trials and tribulations, we're the fortunate ones.