It wasn't the very worst day in my life. Bad yes. Worst, not really.
Although it still hurts like a mofo.
I did not want to go. I was expecting not to go. So it was with trepadation that I awoke to Spring saying The Younger really wanted me to come to Chuck E. Cheese's for his birthday party. Oh, and we leave in half an hour.
Not a great way to start the day.
But since it meant so much to The Younger I got up, showered, dressed and was downstairs within thirty minutes. We then drove a few miles to the local Chuck E. Cheese's for a noon-time party.
I was surprised that Chuck E. Cheese's, founded by Nolan Bushnell (founder of Atari) was still around. Not only is it still around, Spring was able to book the party over the Internet.
Signage on the front door loudly proclaimed that all the games are now one token! It's scary to think that since my childhood video games now require multiple tokens to play (Kelly confirmed that games are now 75¢ to $4.00 to play, depending on the game).
Going in, Spring swore; she forgot the confirmation number for the party at the house and that we might have to go back for it. But that wasn't the case. They let us in, Krispy Creme Donut Cake and all. And it immediately hits me.
I do not want to be here!
There are three things I do not like: loud places, crowded places, and kids. And here are the very three things I do not like in one place: loud crowded kids.
Spring had brought her camera, but the smart media was still in the computer at home. I had brought my camera just in case, but since we were still waiting for Gregory to show up, I offered to go home to retrieve the smart media for her camera and to call Gregory to make sure he was still showing up. I bolted for the door.
Once outside, I ran into Gregory and his two kids. So it was back into the Hellmouth that is Chuck E. Cheese's.
Ten minutes later Spring is telling me that I could go outside and calm down. So I go out, get in the car, drive home, pick up the smart media and head back, killing about half an hour. Then back into the Hellmouth that is Chuck E. Cheese's.
I didn't last five minutes.
I think was killed me was a remark Gregory made:
doping up your kids on sugar and leaving them with you.”
“I love being able to dope up my kids with sugar and then take them
right back to their mom.”
“Greg,” I said weakly, “please don't say such things.” Barely keeping it together at that point. It was obvious that I wasn't going to handle things much longer. Gregory offered me his PDA with Internet access and I told him, point blank, “Greg, you're confusing me. Stop!”
Yes, I was that far gone into my own personal Hell. Kids screaming. Music blaring. Bodies pressing all around me. Lights. Sounds. Screams. People. I was trapped in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas on a acid trip gone bad, albeit without the excuse of drugs.
Gregory took me home at that point.
I slept the rest of the day.
It wasn't until Spring was going to work that I got even worse news. Coming home, she dropped both our digital cameras. Wasn't her fault—the lunch box she was using popped open and out they fell. She didn't know if they still worked, not having tested them.
After she left for work, I tested the cameras. Her's worked. Mine didn't.
A bit over a year old, and I now have a very expensive plastic paper weight.
That's when I got quite upset and I found out the hard way that indeed my hand cannot occupy the same space as the monitor, even after repeated applications. I also found out the clarity of thought a possibly broken hand can bring about.
Ice pack and a few hours of rest later, I hoped that all that was wrong with my camera were dead batteries and that all would be all right in the morning. Aspirin and a slug of NyQuill later, I'm asleep.
Next afternoon (this being Sunday afternoon) I get up, check my right hand (yup, still painful), shower, dress and check my digital camera.
It's not the batteries.
It's dead, Jim.
I have one expensive plastic paper weight.
Spring suggested, that since it is most assuredly out of warantee, that I open it and see if it can be fixed. I nod in agreement. Later. Not right now. She also suggested that I either go back upstairs into bed or get out of the house.
I got out of the house.
An hour and a half later, I walk out of CompUSA with a new digital camera. A bit cheaper than my dead one; smaller, requires half the batteries and with a bit better picture resolution. It's actually the next model from mine—an Olympus D-560 Zoom. I'm planning on opening the dead camera and seeing what I can do, but I'm not expecting much.
Afterwards, I headed over to Kelly's house and hung out with him for the rest of the day. Upon returning home, I fell immediately into bed.