Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chips and Soda

I was thrilled. I'd been walking on clouds since he asked. Sure, I had been working to influence him. I'd bought the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide, taught myself the game. I remember sprawling on the floor by our sliding glass door -- best spot in the house on a sunny cold winter day -- dice, pencil, books, and paper in hand, working through that first sample adventure. Making sure I could play this game that had the smart boys at school so enthralled. It was fun, it was interesting, I was intrigued. I could see why they were interested -- you could control things, to an extent, but also there were variables. So you didn't know exactly what would happen. It was more exciting than a movie, with its static plot that stayed the same from viewing to viewing. More interesting than the local top 40 radio station, with its rock and roll hits that all sounded the same to my tone-deaf ears, singing about the love -- and heartbreak -- that eluded my teenage life.

So, Tee asked me. Would I like to join his player's group? I was thrilled! I was driving, so I could get myself there, as long as my parents let me go. Now, as a mom, I realize how happy my mother likely was that I had friends to go and see. Even boys. Three boys, in fact, and me. How I would check and double check if it was my daughter heading in to that den of boydom. But I went, no barriers, few questions. Perhaps my mother recognized how completely ensconced in my innocence I was. Eventually, that would be my undoing -- but at that point, all Tee and his crew wanted was a fourth player.

I drove there with my Player's Handbook, paper, and pencil. The DM Guide I left at home -- I didn't need to let them know I'd over-prepared, as usual. Not like they wouldn't know anyway, but hey. Pulled in to the driveway, down a wooded drive. Walked up the steps and knocked. "Hey", Tee said, opening the door, "we're down here", he pointed down a staircase in their standard dual-story entry. My nerves had me shaking in my shoes, but I followed him, closing the door behind me and bouncing down the steps to see his friends around the table already.

It was a little, square card table, set up in a finished basement play room like the one in my house. I remember reds, browns -- dark colors on the floor and wall. But I was interested in the game. Okay, I was interested in Tee -- but I knew that the way to him was through the game. So I played my heart out. Did voices, made reasonably sound choices, stayed in character, rolled dice, celebrated good moves and rolls, worked on recovering from bad choices and rolls. Tee kept us all on task and on track in his adventure.

And when we were fading from hours of chatting our way through this game, out came the standard fare -- chips and soda. Tee ripped open the bag and put it in the middle of the table, and handed around cans of cola that we ripped the tabs from and drank down. Munch, munch... "what do I see to the east?" munch, munch "Nothing" munch, munch "and to the west, anything?" Siiiip "hmmm, there might be something in the distance, let me roll and see" ...

The chips and soda kept us going for another two hours. I hadn't had that much social time even with my own friends in years. We had half an hour before classes started, half an hour at lunchtime, but other than that there was no time for play in my life. Funny how when boys became interesting all of a sudden I could spend 4 hours playing games with them, eating chips and slurping soda like one of the boys. I treasured that time and was happy to be there while our game continued in the weeks that came.

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