There’s a particular breed of people I am very weary of. Not scared in a jumping-ship kind of way, but more like “Uh oh…” as I see them approach or worse, join conversation in a social circle I happen to find myself in. Call me biased; but to be completely free of pre-judice is to never learn from experience.
Whenever a sporty person approaches, I am on guard. You can usually tell from the way they are dressed in forceful business casual, their ever-glossy forehead or intolerably energized gait. Not to mention the well-trained shoulders and legs, of course. But before you get the wrong idea – I am all for physical exercise. Indeed, I am making conscious, well-loathed but conscious efforts to stay fit as I am growing older. I am also dreaming of the day that VR helmet and fullbody motion-sensor suit finally arrive, so I can plug them to my PC and play MMOs while having to go through mindbogglingly boring workout routines. If anyone ever tells you they enjoy their workout: be weary. Be very weary.
I am not talking fit people here, but sporty sporty. The ones that will always inevitably steer the conversation to their favorite subject. The ones who have “seen the light” and really think you should too as you receive their well-meant, unasked for dieting tips. You don’t want to be around them, you don’t want them in your clique – they’ll make you walk instead of taking the bus to the bar or bring raw carrots to a movies night. No, I don’t think we mix particularly well, MMO players and sporty people. And I’m not in any way suggesting the ‘overweight, asocial slob’-image here some media are eager to spread about video-gamers. But err….we invented the WoW treadmill, okay? You get my point.
So anyway, there is that 37ish co-worker of mine who fits the profile perfectly. She’s recently been pregnant and ever since (1 year ago now) she’s been talking about her workout, losing baby-fat and how it took her nine months to lose the dreaded last four pounds. She is also thin as a stick, but now she finally radiates inner peace (and cravings for mars bars). Fortunately, she is rarely in the office when I am and I am rarely joining the “lunch faction” that meets up around the kitchen table every day at 13.00.
Only last Friday…I did. It started out innocently, with a chat between myself and my British co-worker who usually works in London and is the only other person with a sense of humor (figures) in the entire company. I was just having a coffee with her, when sporty person came in to join us. Too late to plan for a quick escape route. Rats.
It took exactly 5 minutes for our conversation to go from holiday plans to running shoes. I have since been trying to reproduce the exact order of events but have failed miserably, twice. I don’t know how she worked “so, what brand of sports shoes are you using for running?” into our talk on bed&breakfasts and English cuisine, but I found myself in the lucky position to be asked that exact question. “Ummm….I don’t know”, I answered. “You do have running shoes, right?”, she persisted. Helplessly, I looked down on my two feet. I was wearing my black work shoes, a pair of semi-high heeled, no-name boots which is what I wear half of the year. I guess, I could run with those. For the rest of the time, I wear my comfy five-year old Adidas sneakers. That’s one myth about shoes and handbags dispelled for you.
“I have some shoes….sneakers.” I added. – “What type?”, says she – “The comfy one”, says I. The spotlight beaming at me from the interrogation lamp started to flicker. I could tell she was giving up, but I somewhat saved the situation by mentioning Adidas. At least I was not completely ignorant – too bad that didn’t stop her from educating us both on suitable sports shoes for city jogging for another 15 minutes. Just when I recovered my will to live and was about to mention how utterly moronic and counter-productive running on concrete in the middle of city traffic is for your health, the phone rang for her and she left. Annoying people always get the quick exits handed to them.
Where are the MMO missionaries?
That whole experience got me thinking on my way home later (when highly philosophical, mental monologue frequently occurs). I was trying to remember one single time in my life where somebody tried convincing me to play video games. Or for that matter, any situation where someone, a co-worker or other acquaintance might have picked up the topic in conversation, trying to engage others. Why are there no MMO missionaries? Besides the most obvious answer, that missionaries of any kind are in fact insufferable folk, really – but, where are the video game enthusiasts? Why are they nowhere to be heard, talking about their hobby, infusing others with their interest to the point of truculence?
It’s not a mainstream hobby, I get it. It’s not srs enough for boring work conversation. It’s still a little geeky. But really, how is the world ever going to be a better place without any of us talking about gaming? Do you want a planet ruled by business casual city-joggers?
So, I’m making this official: from this day on, every week, I will at least once bring up the topic of video games outside this blog, to non-gamers. I will share my positive experiences and encourage others to give it a go sometime. If the topic isn’t going my way, I will make it. I will say things like “…our conference call line? Wait, ever heard about ventrilo? It’s a great, free voice comm tool for PC, people actually use it to play online games together. You know, WoW and stuff right? No? Well, let me tell you…”.
Easy. One recruit a week and soon enough, when I log on to the game in the evening, to unwind and recharge my batteries, I will be surrounded by co-workers. The excel-specialist that never shuts up, the guy with the golfball keyring……the city-jogger….
…I think I just remembered why we want no MMO missionaries!
|“Keep it secret – keep it safe!”
Happy Monday to all of you out there, enjoying the peace of united geekdom at their PCs.