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It was October 2000, and I worked at KB Toys as a sales associate. Being a geek and a tom-boy, whenever a mom came in spouting something about needing this action figure or that game, the 30-and-40 something managers would always direct them to me, because I knew this stuff. It also meant I was the one who kept the games in order when we got a shipment in. I had fun with it and life was good.

One day in walks this guy, who I guess to be somewhat older than myself, asking for a copy of Master of Orion II, a PC game I was unfamiliar with at the time**. I had just done a rearrangement of the shelves, and hadn't seen it, but then again, I wasn't looking for it.  I said as much to him, and bid him go over the shelf himself. He didn't find it, and started asking me about console games instead.

Right away I recognized the titles he'd asked about as RPGs, which were and still are, among my favorite genres. So we started talking about games, a conversation that lasted a good 20-30 minutes, during which he demonstrated himself to be exceedingly understanding and polite as he shuffled aside for other customers, waiting for them to go before picking our thread back up again. We also learned that we lived about ten minutes from each other, and enjoyed many of the same types of games. Sometime during this, he glanced down at his watch and realized he was going to be late for his haircut appointment if he didn't leave soon. But he asked me if I'd like to hang out after I got out of work.

"Sure, I'd love to. I get out a 5:30... Oh shoot, well it'll have to be a short hang out, cuz the bus that takes me home gets here at 6:00."

"Ah, well that's okay."

"However..." I started tenatively, "Since you live so close, would you um... mind terribly taking me home?" I was only hesitant because I didn't want to impose too much on the first meeting.

He looked a little shocked at first, and I was afraid I'd blown it, but then he said, "Yeah, sure... I can do that. We'll swing by my place and pick up some games first."

"Cool! And thank you! See you in a bit!"

"Yeah, meet me in the Food Court," he instructed as he walked out.

"Will do!"

After work, I went down to the Food Court to meet my new friend. We wandered for a little bit, and he introduced me to the role-playing section of the bookstore. My parents had been brainwashed by the media into believing that D&D would turn me into some sort of mass murdering zombie, much to my infinite annoyance and constant arguing to the contrary. That said, to be around a real D&D geek was a dream come true for me.

After an hour or so, we decided to head back to his place to pick up the games he'd mentioned, and I also got to meet his mom briefly. Then it was off to my house. During that trip I learned that he was also a computer guru, and I was further fascinated. He went on for about ten minutes about hardware and how it works, then realized I hadn't said anything the whole time, and became rather sheepish.

"Oh, uh.... I'm probably boring you to death aren't I? Sorry."

I laughed, "Not at all! I'm learning... keep talking."

"Really?! Okay..." back to the techie diatribe he went.

When we got to my place, I introduced him to my grandmother, who lived with my folks, and my younger brother. They both properly assessed each other as cool, and the rest of the evening saw the three of us eating pizza, drinking Coke, and playing video games until about 11:30.

When he did pack up to go, I walked him out to his car. We decided we'd have to have more of these gaming sessions in the future, and made a plan for the next weekend.

And the one after that...

And the one  after that....

And by mid December we decided it was time to start being more than friends. He took me to his company Christmas party, and afterwards to see the Dungeons and Dragons movie. That was our first date.

Now it's 2008 and we're still together, still very much in love, still gaming (a tour de force in any cooperative game), still geeking (His and Hers computers, both self-built).  And all of it because he wanted to buy a video game. I love you arclayn.

*Author's Note: This is a true story, as many of you who know me personally are aware. I wrote this in response to a report I saw on The Escapist: www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_168/5275-The-New-Social-Lubricant

**Author's Note: I have since become acquainted with the awesomeness that is MOO II.

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