Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Living Room Became a Concert Hall

Oh yes. It was loud, raunchy, and rockin'. The furniture was shoved out of the way, and wires and cables created a trip hazard everywhere you looked. A microphone kept getting shoved towards me while I politely declined.

You see, my son bought a new game for XBox yesterday: Rock Band.

It consists of a karaoke-like scenario in which you play bass, guitar, or drums (or sing) along with a song and a guiding track on the video. Very much like Dance, Dance-Revolution, you have to hit the colored keys on the phony, plastic guitar (modeled to look like a Fender Stratocaster) or hit the color-coded drums or sing the lyrics along with the game. My son seemed like a natural at it, but my husband (who actually plays many instruments) fumbled a bit before finding his footing. He tended to want to play exactly the way the song goes, but you have to follow the guiding track on the screen. Do anything untoward, such as a drum solo, and you fail. When the band can't get it together, they are boo-ed off the stage and it's game over.

Sound complicated enough?

When hubby and I came back from our weekly "hunting and gathering" (aka, grocery shopping) trip yesterday, the kids were rocking the house in the living room. It's the first time I've seen my daughter smile in ages. She seemed to forget she was sick and just had fun. It really made me feel good.

I don't actually play video games any more, but I did get into The Sims for awhile (before they came up with all of these weird add-ons). I found that it was great fun to build large imaginary houses with fantastic gardens and swimming pools. I could make the characters any gender, wear any clothing, have any hairstyle, be any Zodiac sign, and have any career path I wanted. Things rarely worked out tidily, though. Sometimes a Sim would swim to exhaustion, "forgetting" to get out of the pool. Next thing you know, there's a tombstone by the pool and all the other Sims come out to mourn and cry. The ghost of the dead Sim would come back to haunt and frighten the remaining Sims. All of these events, all of the surroundings, had an effect (good or bad) on the Sims energy, health, social wellness, etc. A Sim could die of loneliness if you didn't make sure they met other compatible Sims. If you had the right kind of bed, oops! There would be a baby Sim. If you couldn't handle 3 virtual days adequately with a baby Sim, which meant one Sim had to quit his or her job usually, then a social worker would come and take the baby away.

Later, there were add-ons for parties (a virtual Drew Carey came to entertain at one of my Sims parties), pets (mine always died - never could figure out what was going wrong), shopping malls, and so on. It began to get a little too complex for me. After all, I needed to put that kind of work into my own life, not just a Sim life. So I threw it over when I was about halfway through college. 'Nuff of that.

Disclaimer for the rest of this post: I don't think my friends read my blog. If they do, it would amaze me because they just don't keep in touch with me that well.

In fact yesterday was one of those days when I had to "feed" my social life. Hubby and I met up with a couple of old friends for coffee. Both of these friends are now divorced from the husbands they had when we all first met.

One is dating a man who looks much older than her. I can't for the life of me see them as a couple. The other is living with a guy who is into Harley-Davidsons and mojitos. Now, don't get the wrong idea. They both have very good IT jobs and actually met at work. Her last husband gambled away their savings to a dream of being a poker champion. This guy is a step up. Yet she (and he) looked worse for the wear yesterday. Her hair had grown out and was unstyled. She was wearing no makeup. Her clothing was unkempt. She was a candidate for What Not to Wear. I felt bad for her, because she looked so downtrodden. Her father has been seriously ill, and we talked about that. I know that she's made several trips to Florida to check on him. She is starting to go through now what I went through with my mom ten years ago. And it seems to last forever as we watch them slowly slip away from us.

Still, I worry about my friend. She needs to take care of herself, but we have grown apart. I don't know that it would be all that welcome for me to talk to her about it all. She and our other friend have actually become quite close and even canned all the tomatoes from said friend's garden last year. I mentioned that maybe we could all pitch in this year and grow a variety of things (she has a yard with full sunlight, whereas the rest of us don't). I was mentioning that we could pitch in on seeds and weeding and such, but the subject died. Suddenly I felt like a fifth wheel.

It's strange that most of my friends now are online. I have a few "real people" that I talk to on a regular basis, but we don't live close by. After the weird way that yesterday's meet up went, I may not be inviting all of them out for coffee again anytime soon. I was left feeling that we were beating a dead horse trying to stay friends. We've all moved in different directions. Still, it's a shame. I hate to let friendships go.

Maybe I should have them over for a game of Rock Band. It certainly seemed to bring my kids together yesterday. In fact, at one point, Dad was on drums, Son was on bass, and Daughter was on mike. We were almost like a real family again.

1 comment:

Not Afraid to Use It said...

I understand what you mean about hating to let friendships die. It is hard to think of some friendships being seasonal, and that this season may have passed. My advice would be to put it on the back burner, and if it is meant to be it will blossom again when the time is right.