My husband and I had a date night on Saturday.
"We should go to Corned Beef! Because dancing would be fun!" (If you know us, you know who would be excited about dancing all night at a bar. Or just dancing all night, period. Or at least just dancing until my strict, self-imposed 9:05 bedtime.)
He looked at me and gave me an annoyed side eye. I won't repeat what he said.
Sometimes I have great ideas. Sometimes I have not-so-great ideas. I'm okay with that.
So instead of Corned Beef, we found ourselves wandering, directionless, around Target (my choice, I had a return, and what better night to make a return than Saturday date night?) ending up of all places in the un-sexy women's pajama department, and then, afterwards, walking over to Best Buy. I haven't been to Best Buy in a long time. It's like sensory overload every time I walk in that place. It rattles my brain. Plus, the odd, yet faint, smell of armpits mixed with printing paper lingers in the air. I blame the kid/bouncer who stands at his little station next to the door right when you walk in.
We decided that while we were there, we would check out the whole "Gaming Center", which is easy to spot because it is always crowded with the 13-year-old, swingy-hair, hat-wearing gaming crowd as well as the 40-year-old, bald-headed gaming crowd.
We aren't "gamers" and aren't familiar with all the new "game technology" out there. So we stared and stared at the X-Box 360, the X-BoxOne, (I wondered where the Wii was, only to discover that the Wii is ancient history. We have a Wii, complete with little Mii people that my kids have made up.) and then the new PS4 (hey, I learned something on Saturday night. We call the PlayStation4 by it's acronym: PS4).
I'm cheap. When we bought the Wii, nearly one hundred years ago when wheat crops were still wheat crops and cows were still pastured, I nearly passed out from the cost. This plus the cost of the games?!!? I remember thinking to myself. I may have vocalized this to the scared-looking gamer/Target employee, who was wishing he was communicating with his screen rather than this crazy-eyed mother of two.
And the X-Box 360 is the cheapest of the game consoles. Apparently it's also The One. Like, The One you Do. Not. Want. The One that, should you make the idiotic choice to buy it, would cause others more knowledgeable in the field of gaming to whisper about you behind your back and reject your invitation to play a virtual game of COD: Black Ops II. They may not even invite you to Best Buy on Saturday night.
When you want answers, you go to the source. And my source was a pair of preteen boys, who were carefully examining the X-Box game display.
I picked up the 360 and took it over.
"If you were buying a new system, what would you buy?" I asked. Both their faces lit up. And both their mouths opened in what I will describe as a raining down of words on my head. The tall one with the cocky hat looked at me out from under his shaggy mane and calmly explained that the 360 is old news. The short one with the short, blonde hair would interject his opinion, too. This one was excited. Every sentence ended in an exclamation point. And some of them were in all caps. "You don't want the X-Box! I have a PS3 and an X-BOX! MY GRANDMA BOUGHT ME THE X-BOX! And I've had so much trouble with it that I just SHOVED IT IN A DRAWER!" The tall one explained that he had had some trouble with his X-Box, too. "Yep!" the short one exclaimed. "I WAS ALWAYS ON THE PHONE WITH CUSTOMER SERVICE!" (Wait. You seriously have two or more gaming consoles in your house, one of which is shoved in a drawer because you were on the phone with Microsoft too often? Dang. Can I buy that one?) They politely directed us toward the PS4, declaring it's awesomeness over the lowly, issue-ridden X-Box. The short one's grandma would have been proud.
And my husband and I stared some more. We looked at each other and back down at the PS4, glowing under it's own shiny halo of light. $400????? Could that possibly be right?
"Yep," the Best Buy employee/gamer said, as he was also informing us of his intention to be done with the thousand dollars of X-Box equipment he already owned and make the step toward updating his entire video game library to the PS4. This guy was serious. And he had dark circles that went not just under but all the way around the eye, indicating his all-night commitment to becoming a better gamer.
"And you'll need more controllers," he explained. We looked at the controllers. $60??? For real? "Yep," he said happily. "And I would highly recommend a pair of gaming headphones! Because when I have those headphones on, I can close my eyes and hear my friend walking around in my head, and I know exactly where he is." His eyes, inside those dark circles, were literally glassing over. He tried to say something else and then stumbled over his words. "See!" he exclaimed, shaking his hand at us. "I'm going through withdrawals!"
We stared at him. He stared at us.
And we walked out of Best Buy decidedly empty-handed.*
*As our kids get older, we won't be empty-handed for long. In one hundred years, when cows are genetically modified and wheat is grown in car engines while you're driving, we will own a PS4.