Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and A Really Cool Car

on July 2, 2010

I was never really into arcade games much.  In the 80’s I played enough Pac-Man to appreciate the song Pac-Man Fever but I was always killed by the ghost within a few seconds of the quarter hitting the slot.

I wasn’t overly excited to play video games at an arcade with my nephew this week (don’t tell him) but I was “babysitting” and I told him that we could do what he wanted to on Tuesday.  So there I was — at a very noisy arcade filled with games.   Now I have to admit that the arcade games have come a LONG WAY since Pac-Man and Donkey Kong.  In fact — it was pretty cool.  I especially liked the driving games.  These games were complete with gas petals, seats that rumbled and moved with the road, and buttons to boost my power and make me crash go faster.   The graphics were also incredible.  It took me a little while to get the hang of it – but soon I was putting on my scarf, sunglasses, and driving gloves.  I put down the roof and really got into it.

I was starting to get good at this game (umm this means I only crashed 10 or 12 times in a game.) After while I realized something else very cool about these video games.  The four driving games next to each other — were actually networked together — I was racing against the other 3 people who were sitting next to me!  Wahoo – Surely I could beat the 3 pre-adolescent boys sitting next to me!  After all I am a mature woman with an incredible shade of lipstick (technically – lip stain that I spent $24.00 on the night before and yes that is a lot of money for lip stain but it is totally worth it and I’ve been wanting this particular one for a long long time.)  So I was ready to kick some arcade butt.

The next round was coming up.  I picked my ultra-cool car on the screen and soon I was off on the race of my life.  I could see the other cars on the road and I weaved, crashed through signs, and hit a few of them.  They were still ahead of me.  I pushed the “boost” button over and over again.  I crashed – over and over again.  I came in last!  How can they drive better than me — they don’t even have drivers licenses?  Not to be outdone – I hit the start button again and waited for my unsuspecting opponents.  Again we raced.  Again I watched their cars speed past me.  I kept watching them – trying harder and harder only to crash and burn again and again.

After a few games I sat there a minute and mumbled to myself about “stupid video games” and then it dawned on me why I was having so much trouble.   I realized I was spending too much time watching what the other cars were doing instead of concentrating on my own race.  Every time I took my eyes off my car and where I was going — I crashed and burned.  Every single time! I had an epiphany (a.k.a. – “aha”) right there in the driver’s seat.   I realized that I do this ALL THE TIME!

For instance – I love to blog – but sometimes I feel so inadequate compared to all the other blogs I love to read.  I get a brain freeze when I sit down to write (and not the cool kind of brain freeze that you get when you have a cherry Slurpee.)  I also do this with my efforts to live a healthy lifestyle and have a body size I’m comfortable with.  I see others who are starting a new diet or exercise program and feel like my own efforts somehow will fall short and I will never attain my goals.  Sometimes I forget that my “car” isn’t networked to anyone else.

We are all on our own course.  What good does it do me to watch someone else on the track unless it’s to cheer them on in their own race?

So if you happen to see me cruisin’ down the highway in cute scarf, sunglasses, and awesome lipstick — I will wave!  Whether you are passing by or whether I am!  Because it’s all about the journey! (okay – and maybe the lipstick.)


5 responses to “Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and A Really Cool Car

  1. girlwhoknits says:

    I really like this. It is so hard to not watch all the other cars on the road but you are right, we do it at the expense of our own drive. Love you.

  2. Laurel says:

    i. love. this.

    we’re each on our own journey…sometimes we should look over to help someone but never to compare where they are vrs us. It throws me off EVERY time.


  3. Tasha says:

    This made me think of your cool car in high school!
    I love being able to cheer you on your journey!
    I will try to keep my eyes on my side of the road.

  4. C. says:

    I loved reading this post. Very vivid and very real message that I still am trying to get a learners permit for.

    Drive on!

  5. DeeAnn says:

    Why is it that I could have the same experience as you do and NEVER even think of the cool analogies that you do??? You should be writing books I tell ya!

    This post came at a time when I REALLY needed your message. You are an inspired friend and I love you!

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