Thursday, June 07, 2007

I grew as a person because of games.

This is a response to a friend’s statement of growth as a person. It became too long to put into a comment so I decided to make a post that is very non-WOW related.

Responding to Peterson:
Glad to see someone evacuated the cylinder of plant matter out of your posterior extricator.

Growing as a person is something I can understand. I was a wall holder for most of my high school years. I had many friends that knew me as a quiet yet imposing figure. Many stories were made up about my 'legendary' anger that had no basis in reality. The stories kept me out of trouble since no one wished to challenge the voracity of those claims. I kept that image in line by being fiercely loyal to my friends and defending them when needed.

I still had this aura around me even after I graduated. Kind of a suppressed violence about me. I had always felt I was alone and would stay that way forever. I looked at people as rivals for living. Not that I attacked or did anything really. Yet I didn't let anyone come close either. I created a bubble around me that was a deterrent to others. I was always polite but not overly so. I never allowed the slightest interest in anything other then a passing familiarity to show to people I interacted with.

I can remember the exact time and place when I realized that it was time to slough off that mode of existing without living. Course the realization was after the implementation. Sometimes my body runs ahead of my mind. Turns out this time it worked for the better.

It was 1999, prolly around March or so, at a Denny’s near where I still live. I walked into the place like I had for the few months at pretty late hour. I had quit a security job yet had some funds still available. There were these to guys there, twins yet very different personalities. They were having a discussion about a video game, a game which I was very familiar with and loved a great deal. I wanted to join the conversation, yet the old high school clique mode of interacting kept me from saying anything. They were gamers, but at the time I had not thought of my self as a gamer and that we are a community. Sure I played but I was a solo by geography and not choice. I kept my mouth shut listening to them discuss a game I felt in my blood was the greatest game ever, that is until I heard them giving false info out to some one who would not know it was false. After I heard the one say it, I was compelled by some force to correct them, these strangers that knew no what they dood. (Did. Yeah, but dood sounded better.) I corrected them and they paused, for a second I thought they would disregard my statement and dismiss me from a discussion I had no place in. Instead there passed a moment of synergy, a pulse of like to like, they recognized that which was there that I had not seen.

I was a Gamer.

Introductions were made, food was ordered, and a relationship with these 2 amazing people began. I was welcomed into their inner circle of friends and gained new ones as our friendship grew. We became a normal fixture at that Denny’s so much so that people when looking for us would look there first. People would arrive to catch a few words then leave just as the next group would arrive. Looking back I see that I had been allowed into their ‘court’. First I was just a visitor; soon however I was one of the few, the diehards that stayed there well past the midnight hours and sometimes deep into the next morning. For over 1 year I spent most of my waking time when not working or sleeping (and sometimes sleeping there to) at that Denny’s. As the months passed I became more of the person I am today. Perhaps it was the variety of people I was exposed to or the camaraderie I felt with these 2 men. My self worth grew in tandem with my confidence. I met intellectuals, Goths, college students, aspiring actors, and workers. We were there when the place had to shut down do to lack of food because of a screw up with the ordering. We helped clean the place before a very important inspection that would determine the longevity of the restaurant. I helped people by being there. Me. Some how I became a something other then a person not wanting to be around other people. I became a human with all the emotional baggage that goes with it. I would not change that for anything. Because of that single piece of misinformation about a video game I was opened up to the world. Confidence, in my right to say and have opinions that I would have kept to myself in school, became a permanent fixture in who I am. I also gave up placation. I stopped telling people what they wanted to hear and told them what I wanted to say. People listened to me. Very weird.

It comes as no surprise to me now that I met my wife at that Denny’s. No she wasn’t working there, though she had in the past. In fact she had quit or got fired from there only a few months before I started going there at night. Might have turned out differently if she had still worked there…perhaps.

I look at the person I am today and I see the steps I took to get here. I made mistakes, most often with money, but there were times when the relationships I wished I had nurtured were let whither due to callousness or distance. Most often distance lead to the dissolution of a friendship. I recently took the time to find 2 friends I was very close to in high school. Perhaps it was my love of RPGs that always lead me back to searching for them. Side quests for the win.

I have attempted to track them down a few times in the past 10 years with little success. After my newest child was born I had a week off to help the wife. I spent nap times on the computer digging through the muck of the intertubes. It took me 2 days of search engines and white pages. I found one of them through his mom and dad. The other I found through Myspace. Yeah I have one, doesn’t get much love but its there. I speak with one a few times a week through IM and the other through emails. One has had a rough time of it yet is thriving, while the other seems to have given up on life. I wish they didn’t live so damn far away. I’m a guy who even in my introverted high school days knew the power of a hug. I spread that to my friends then and still do to this day.

Finding these guys makes me realize how much has happened to me since I received that piece of paper telling me I’m done with being a kid. Although I held on to being one for a few more years. Through all this time one thing has let me into more circles, video game. I look back and still see the kid I was. High school kid, yeah not a young adult. Nothing about me in those last few years was adult, except maybe the drive to make up for the mistakes I made academically. I was 16 years old for at least 5 years. That 16 year old is still here. He is more verbose and eloquent when it comes to expressing his feelings and even expresses those feelings. He stands up for what he believes. Still plays way too many video games. (Not really, GAMER FOR LIFE!) Games are a part of who I am and helped shape me into the well adjusted dashing man meat that I am. Without the knowledge of a certain game who knows how long I would have maitained the distance, placed by me, between me and other humans.
I’m not really sure how to end this strange piece of verbage, or if it is really a response to what Peterson wrote. I can not bring myself to hit the delete button. So now I end it without having any idea as to how to end it. Perhaps a critique of my self to show there is still room for improvement:

I do not take criticism well. No joke there and no remorse. Don’t be hating. I’m always right and righteous. That’s just how I roll.


Jesse Petersen said...

Quite a post there, young Mindkiller. We are more alike in personality than I thought, although separated by several dozen pounds and at least a dozen inches of altitude.

In high school, once we moved to a new state, I was fine to sit at a table and read my Grisham, Cook, or Crichton as everyone else came and sat, yelled, laughed, and horseplayed around me. I was a much different person before we moved.

Mindkiller said...

Dude, I used to sit and read at Dennys all the damn time. Even after I found this group I still had a book for those lean times(rare though they were) when there wasn't anything to talk about.

Greg said...

Never played WOW, but love to read about it. Strange I guess, but from the Official Forums, to Alla and Thott,to Bloggers like yourself,simply enjoy reading what's going on with it. Honestly, right now my computer's not up to snuff to play it, but it could be easily with added RAM. I don't know, may be I'm afraid the game won't live up to the expectations.So, I was reading your WOW blog, as I do on occasion, and was enjoying your positivity immensely as always ( why so may people play a game they seem to be so down on boggles me), and I got to this entry. Being an ultra-loner pretty much my whole life,(yeah, I have my certificate in restaurant corner book-reading as well), but more recently alone due to a physical ailment, your words really struck home. I'm really glad you went for it-(life that is,) and you've garnered the many rewards of it. You entry was one of the single most solid I've read,(and not just including WOW Blogs or Forums.)but ever. Thanks. And, yeah, I like parentheses,lol, sorry so many.