Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Back to Trussville, and into the skating rink. Paid the ancient lady ten bucks for two wristbands for skates, and then into the maelstrom of confusing flashing lights and throbbing late-'70s redneck rock and late-90s hip hop. Quite a combination.

First stop, though, before the roller derby, was the laser tag room. One giant group was just leaving, so we got to sneak in between them and the next big birthday group. "Two, please." "AWwwww, Dad! Aren't you gonna play, too!?"

Why not?

Paid my money and we went into the blacklit "briefing room" where I promptly barked my right shin on the invisible platform covered with black carpeting that protrudes right into the pathway where you come in the door. Ouch. A LOT! I sat down and got Jonathan and Catherine to sit down and attempted to get them to read the rules on the television screen, but they were distracted by some kid over on the other side of the room who kept blabbering about how many millions of times he's played laser tag.

The girl who took my money came in and told us some other rules and then it was time to go get our stupid looking flashing vests on. It was going to be me and my kids versus some woman and her two kids and the bragging kid who was in there to begin with. Armed and ready and before I could discuss strategy and tactics with my team, Boy and Catherine had run off into the darkness leaving me there with no backup, which meant I was immediately shot. Dang it all! In amongst the next ten minutes of running around a room full of obstacles and levels and ramps and hidey places, I managed to finally get ahold of Jonathan and tried to get him to work with me so we could win. Too much of a lone wolf, I guess, because it never really occurred to him to work with me. Of course, it didn't help any that Catherine kept finding me and shooting me. "NO, Cat! The guys with the RED vests!"

Time finally called, and we filed out and went to the computer to see how we'd done. Surprisingly, Jonathan scored the most hits of any of the seven players! Apparently the lone wolf tactic works pretty well for self-preservation. Then again, it's hard on the team--we lost by several hundred points, and Cat and I had the two lowest scores. Oh, well. TIME FOR SKATING!

Went over to the counter and they got their skates. NO skating for me--I never really learned how to skate very well, and the embarrassing memories still haunt me. Add to that there is now MUCH more mass hurtling at the hardwood floor or the hard, hard walls, and I KNOW I don't want to try it.

It's been a while since they skated so they stayed on the carpeted part most of the time, and finally got a bit more brave. Catherine dragged me out so that she'd have something to hang onto. The hairs on my arms were very stressed by her constant, crushing hand pressure followed by her sudden slips. I'm surprised I actually have any fur left. They made a couple of passes and then Cat said she wanted to go play video games. "Oohhh, no. You're going to skate and skate and skate! GO HAVE FUN!!"

I made them go for about forty five minutes, and after that amount of time, it was obvious they were about to drop. TIME FOR VIDEO GAMES!!

I gave them a couple of dollars worth of tokens apiece, and got some for myself. Skeeball, a couple of other things, and then some spirited air hockey. Catherine and Jonathan played the first game, and he beat her by a couple of points. Then it was my turn.

Most of the time, I take no prisoners when I play against the kids. I figure there's no way they're going to learn without losing some. So that first game was full of full-bore slap shots that sounded like I was going to break the table, and, of course, it went my way. 7-2. The next one, however, was something else entirely.

Same arm-breaking shots, but Boy was giving as good as he got. He was playing me heads-up, and doing a darned good job. After what seemed like an eternity, we had played to a 6-6 tie, and with a mighty feint, he carromed a shot off the rail and right into the slot--7-6. A lady was waiting to play with her kids, so Jonathan and I both moved over and, well, you know, had a moment.

He looked at me, and I looked at him, and he knew for the first time in his life that he'd beaten me, fair and square. Not because I had let up, not because I wasn't really trying to win, and not in something like a GameBoy game--it was an actual, physical contest of skill. He'd won, and won right.

"Wow! That--that was hard! That was good!" I could tell what he was thinking--I remember the first time I had really beaten my dad at something--I was about thirteen, and he had decided he was going to give me lessons in blocking. Out to the front yard, where he lined up opposite me. No pads or anything. "Come on! Fire off there! You won't hurt me!" I kept coming off the line, he kept goading me to not be so timid, until one time I finally did what he wanted. Off the line, swung up my forearms, and gave him a savage lick to the jaw that knocked him backwards onto the ground. The lesson was over after that. I had managed to loosen his only two remaining natural teeth in his bottom jaw--he'd worn dentures for years--and those had come loose as well.

I'm just glad that when my time came, I was only a bit winded and slightly sweaty.

We played a few more games, and then it was time to hit the road as the place closed up for the afternoon. Cashed in the tickets--Jonathan got a sticky wall walker thing with sticky pads on his hands and feet, and Catherine got two plastic snakes.

On then, back up to the top of the hill, where it was time to do other things--supper, and more laundry, and MOVIE WATCHING!

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