Monday, December 24, 2007

"Story of My Life"

Tis the season for tolerance, travel, and giving. We found ourselves in mega-store in small town rural Iowa. A guitar lay on a table attached to a TV screen. My husband and I look at each other with that: "game on?" look and I pick it up.

Sure, there are tons of gifts to be bought. Yes, this is our only chance to shop without our two-year old child, but we have been in the car, fighting fog with 100-meter visibility for five hours. We are about to be engaged in a whole lotta small talk, where the conversations replay with nearly thirty different people. The summary is this: "How's things in your world?" "Good." "Well that's good." "Eh-hm. It's good." - so...we took a moment to play a little video game. Get in touch with our inner-tween and rip a few riffs with Guns and Roses in Aisle 14. No harm in that?

The song is "Welcome to the Jungle." I botch it trying to figure out how the game is played. (we don't read instructions, any "natural" can pick anything up and be good, naturally).

Immediately, I feel the pressure from the random stares of people coming to watch how I fair on the push-button guitar. Is quite hard to be inconspicuous with Axel Rose's visceral scream at the beginning of the song. A man in tapered acid-washed black jeans looks at me with a grin showing his three missing teeth. Another woman and her 4 children push past quickly, every step she takes makes a jingle-bell noise from the actual bells attached to her sweater.

It's his turn. I hand over the guitar, and in typical lulu fashion I say: "Beat that Bitch." He grabs the white Gibson-esque plastic guitar that looks like a green bean in the hand of a giant. His head tilts and off he goes. Missing chords, barely hitting notes, and then he finds his groove. I start pointing out every note he doesn't hit. Little sporadic comments like: "Oops?" or "woa. keep trying."

He finishes and I say: "You weren't hitting any of those." "What?!" He replies. We get into a full-glam-rock debate over how to actually know that you have done well. Is it the fire flame that goes ablaze on the note? or the score on the side? I am convinced he is wrong. I say: "we should buy one so I can prove to you that you suck." He darts away to look at the gamer shelves. We even drive to the nearest "game stop" to see if they have any Wii's. No dice. Looks like we will have to leave this battle unfinished. Just as we pull into grandma's house he says: "You may just have to deal with being wrong Lulu. It happens."

We got home tonight. We settled in, unpacked. My husband looked at me with the sparkle of a child before Christmas. Without saying anything I whisper: "Go get one." So he grabbed his best-buy gift cards and ran out the door.

He beat me, fair and square at every song except: "Story of My Life" by social distortion. There are a thousand better ways for us to spend our nights, and I'm hoping we lose interest in this addictive vacuum of time. But for now, we are enjoying our gift to us. We are indulging in something wasteful and fun. We learned some things last night: I am wrong sometimes,we love music and competition, and its good to be a kid.

Such is the Story of my life.

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