The GGA Project -- Day #50 "Chuck E. Cheese for Grownups "

Before I get going here, and apropos of nothing:

The other day at the bank, an elderly Chinese customer handed me this note, then proceeded to speak to me at length in Chinese.

Unfortunately, I don't speak Chinese.  If you knew what I looked like, you'd know there was really never any reason for this man to have believed I did speak his language.  But no matter.  He was confident in my ability to understand, and I guess this note was easy enough to puzzle out.  The man was making a withdrawal, and this seemed likely to be to denominational breakdown he wanted.  No problem there.

I took out two $50 bills and put them on the counter, and he immediately began saying and repeating over and over again this single word:  "Sundesh"

It sounded like that, anyway.  I couldn't tell if he was saying something in English that I couldn't understand because of his accent, or if he was still speaking Chinese.  The only thing I could think was that he was asking for new bills; since the Chinese New Year is next week, many customers have been withdrawing money to give as gifts, and they all want brand new bills.  But the $50's I'd pulled out were new, so I didn't think it could be that.

I tried repeatedly to understand what he was saying, to no avail.  On the off chance he was speaking English, I made a writing motion with my hand on a sticky note and asked if he'd be able to write it for me.  He smiled and nodded enthusiastically, then took back the paper he'd handed me and wrote the following:

Awesome.  I love the idea that I wouldn't be able to understand spoken Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese, I'm not sure which) but would somehow be able to read it.  What a vote of confidence!

Anyway...back to the GGA.

I wish I could remember the first time I talked to Jesse.  I bet he does.  He remembers everything.  I guess, though, to be more precise…I wish I could remember the first time we laughed at the same thing or one of us made a joke the other found funny.  I just wonder at what point I recognized the potential for actual friendship in the person who had for some months just been a coworker I occasionally passed in the receiving room and with whom I'd exchanged few words.

It doesn’t really matter when it happened—just that it happened, because in the roughly 7 years that have since passed, he has come to be one of the people I trust most in the world…a true kindred spirit and a confidant.  Sometimes it scares me how similarly our minds process things, just everything, and how it sometimes seems we were specially planted in each other’s worlds with the sole purpose of ensuring we each had enough laughter in our lives.

Jesse has advised me sagely on a whole host of issues, and he is one of very few people I trust with just about anything.  Plus, I’m pretty sure that if we were both strapped hopelessly to the front of a runaway Mack Truck, he would somehow figure out a way to get us out of the mess.  This is useful of course.  This sort of thing happens every day.

I've also prepared him for the idea that we will grow old in the same loony bin.  I don't feel potentially crazy anymore, but there was a time when I did...and recognizing this same potential in him, I thought we may as well plan for it.  At least I'd know I had a dear friend nearby whom I cared about and who could keep all the memories alive, since, as I mentioned, he remembers every single word ever uttered.  (And for the record, I also don't think he's crazy anymore.  It's amazing how much a person's level of crazy can be affected by whom they're spending their time with.)

And so...it was great to leave a whole day free to hang out with Jesse(kins) and do

Today's New Activity: Dave and Buster's

People who live in the area would no doubt be surprised to learn I've never been to Dave and Buster's.  I just never really felt drawn to blow half my paycheck on arcade games before today, I guess.

I exaggerate.  It's actually far less expensive than I thought, based on legends I've heard.  I mean, I suppose if you went at night (like most adults must when they are not with children...this afternoon was definitely family time), ate a full-blown dinner, and did any drinking while you drained and recharged and drained and recharged your play card, it could get very costly.

We just got some appetizer-y lunch (pretty tasty!) and played a small sampling of the games.  First things first, however.  I implored this lovely woman

to read my fortune and tell me what was up.  Somehow she was able to almost instantly print it out neatly on a keepsake card.  She even busted out a little drawing to lend some imagery to the words.  Amazing!

Looking very much forward to that "romance or friendship" that's gonna come rock my world.

After fortunes and lunch, we first tried a shoot-the-zombies game.  Didn't work.  Zombies won.

Then I rode a motorcycle.  This was the best because I've had a growing desire to ride an actual motorcycle lately, a plan that has so far been thwarted by all the Moms in my life reminding me how easy it is to get squished doing so.  I count myself among those Moms, by the way.  Though I really really want to ride, the repeated thought of doing anything especially risky while I've got a young monkey to care for is indeed sobering.  Next best for-now solution: pretend motorcycle racing--incredibly unrealistic (run-ins with walls and other players result in bumps and "flips" as opposed to crunchings and beheadings), but still fun in that you get to rev and lean.

We also played ripoff Wheel of Fortune and Skeeball, and Jesse make mincemeat of a bunch of insurgents while also rescuing hostages.  Nice.

I had a super spaz-out on the dance-off machine, which had for some reason become a skateboarding machine instead.  I could not master a single directive on this thing, and the worst part was that I was given some kind of second-chance challenge in the form of MATH PROBLEMS running up the screen that I was supposed to solve and move my feet to answer accordingly.  That was disastrous.

In the end, Jesse and I played 4 or 5 spins on what amounted to a ticket-dispensing machine, with the goal of collecting enough tickets to win something for when I would pick up the baby later this evening.

So, the combined $20 of our efforts afforded the little guy this fun surprise, and the Sweettarts too (not for the baby).  :)

Monkey absolutely loves it.  He carried it around and kissed it all evening (made out with it really...he can get a little carried away)

Overall, Dave and Buster's was pretty fun.  What is surprising to me, though, is to think of all the money we adults spend just trying to keep ourselves entertained.  Arcades used to really kind of just be for kids.  But I guess somewhere along the line somebody realized that adults needed the kind of escape afforded by arcade games as well.  Don't get me wrong...I really think diversion is important.  There is time enough for having to think and concentrate and earn money and run errands and make dinner and fold clothes and clip our toenails.  There's time enough for being adult in all the traditionally accepted and unpleasant senses of the word.  I'm just struck by the realization that on any given Sunday afternoon, hundreds of grownup people are pumping mounds of money into machines at Dave and Buster's, many of them coming away with nothing more than the remnant satisfaction of downed zombies and maybe a tangible stuffed thing to give to their kids.  It's all good though.  It's all good.

Oh, and this song is for you, Jesse...  :D

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