Tag Archives: video games

A Remote Sense of Control

9 Jun

What is wrong with getting chills when you feel a sense of control? If you like too much control, people label you a control “freak,” a word so awful, control freaks are almost made to wear a scarlet “F” embroidered on their tee shirts. I don’t identify as a full control freak. If I had to rework the vocabulary, I’d say that I only have an occasional relationship with control—I’m a recreational user. In fact, this week, I learned a lot about the way I deal with control.

Video games have always been something that were very enjoyable for me. When I was young, I was the only one of my friends who had a video game system, so I came to view video games as a ritual left mainly for a one-person immersion experience. It wasn’t really until college that I began playing video games with three friends crowded around a television having to fight over who would play as Yoshi or Peach in Mario Kart or Mario Party. In my older age, I think I like gaming as a one-person experience, because it’s completely about the person’s control. We’re asked to immerse ourselves in worlds completely different than our own, and we’re told that only we hold the power to manipulate the world, and hopefully triumph over adversity in the end. Such is the appeal of video games for a recreational control user like myself. This past week, I started playing more and more because I’ve found myself with more summer time.

Here's to hoping there's no "Game Over" in the dating world.

When it comes to reading, control is something that is completely relinquished upon opening the book jacket. Unless you’re reading a Goosebumps “Create Your Own Tale,” the only control one has over a book is how much information we absorb at once, because we can only choose whether or not to read the next page.

This past week, I went on my first date of the summer. Even when it comes to dating, I like a sense of control. That’s another reason dating is hard for me, or for anyone. Though there are few ways you can control a date or dating in general, the only way I try to control it is through scheduling. Good dinner discussion and physical attraction are great, but just as stimulating to me are the times when you have to take out your Blackberry and figure out the exact moment where your two bodies can be in each other’s presence for the first, second, or seventy-eighth time. At this moment, at the meeting of thumbs and whizzing trackballs, is the inception of expectations and anticipation. It’s beautiful.

We had scheduled our date for a Friday afternoon, the only time the both of us could get together. I was sitting in a diner on Monday night with two friends, my boss and a colleague, when I got a text message from him. His name was Bill, and he was a theatre enthusiast/ desperately-wannabe actor. We met on my favorite/least favorite free dating website, and he said that he wanted to go get some coffee, but that he didn’t want to take the walk alone. Because that was the sheerest of see-through invitations, I replied with an opaque yes. The only problem was, it was past one o’clock in the morning. Well, control me was mourning the death of a part of myself, while part of me was digging the impulsive night-stalker that had replaced him.

I'll try to pencil you in.

It’s not that I want to control other people on a date, but can’t other people attempt to control themselves? Yes, I want to get to know you, but I don’t want to get bulldozed by your words and ideas. While he talked, I would look at his rapidly moving lips. Cheetas and bunnies having intercourse would be jealous of the speed with which he could relay close to nothing. We got coffee in the Columbus Circle Starbucks, then sat in the circle and talked, while listening to the fountains turn on and off. It quickly became a dud, and after he thwarted a few of my escape attempts, I was finally able to get home and recuperate with one of the funniest phone conversations I have ever had in my life with Miss Emily Mongeau.

This week, I also finished my fourth book. In a way, the book was also about what happens when you try to take control after being denied control for so long. I read I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced, which was about Nujood Ali, the first child bride to be granted a divorce in Yemen. Because of her status as a woman and a child, Nujood had no rights, even after she was married off at the tender age of nine to a man three times her age. I devoured the book in two days. Though people who like control too much are often derided and given a bad name, there are few phrases more triumphant than that of “taking control.” In its own quotidian way, it’s quietly heroic. Where I saw heroism in Nujood’s ability to take control of her own situation and get herself out of a destructive marriage, I also saw hope in the power of taking control of one’s own life, even if I have to learn to sew so I can finally put the “F” for control freak on all my favorite sweaters.

Current count: 4 books down, 16 to go
1 date down, 19 to go
4 pounds down, 16 to go.

P.S. After reading Nujood, I decided to begin the largest leg of reading in my challenge—to read all six Jane Austen novels at one time. I began Wednesday with Northanger Abbey, and hope to have them completed in a month.