I remember being eight years old. In those days, my best friend was a boy named Thomas.

My relationship with Thomas revolved around video games. Video games brought us together, and video games eventually tore us apart. In the ten years between those two events, we spent most of our time – you guessed it – playing video games. Almost every weekend, one of us would go to the other’s house and we’d amuse ourselves for a few hours with Mario Kart, Mario Party, Smash Bros, Pokemon, or whatever happened to be the game of the month.

The thing I always found weird was how, when it was time to go our separate ways, he would always tell his parents what we had accomplished in our gaming escapades: “We beat Bowser in World 8 and then Michael helped me capture Rayquaza and then we returned Neville to his portrait!” He would give long, drawn out descriptions that couldn’t possibly have made any sense to anyone in the room besides myself.

Even back then I thought it was odd. ‘Parents don’t care about that sort of thing’, I thought to myself. ‘My parents sure wouldn’t.’ But whatever Thomas’ parents may have been thinking, they always listened politely to his recounting of the afternoon’s events.

Now I wonder whether it’s weird that I thought Thomas’ behaviour was so weird. Maybe parents are supposed to listen to their eight year olds talk about video games, and maybe they’re supposed to nod politely at appropriate intervals and pretend to take an actual interest. My parents never did. It never occurred to me to tell them about what I had achieved in the virtual world. I just assumed that they didn’t care.

Even now, when I speak to my parents about my week I don’t bother going into any tremendous level of detail. I don’t want to bore them with minutia. I figure that if they’re curious about the finer details, they’ll ask.

They rarely ask. And maybe that’s what’s weird.

 

 

 

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