Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Simplicity, Apps, and Video Game Randomness

Probably selling for $1 at my local thrift store
So we all know that I'm on a simplicity kick, which started when I got pregnant, because we have a serious disconnect between the amount of space in our home, and the amount of stuff we seem to have.

When we lost Baby T I stayed on the simplicity kick because if I want to live the kind of life I say I want to live, I can't do that with craploads of stuff.  I want to travel, and live in lots of different places, and you can't do that with 33 pairs of shoes.  You just can't.

It all goes back to this time in my life when I could fit all my important stuff into 3-4 suitcases - ok, so they were big suitcases - but still...

I realized that many of the things I'm still holding on to are staying not because I like them, or wear them, but because I have a sentimental attachment to them.  Which, in my view, isn't the right reason for keeping something.  So I've decided to share the stories behind some of the objects that I'm most dreading getting rid of, and then, once posted, I am releasing them as an offering to the Thrift Store Donation Gods.

First off, these sneakers.  The story behind these is that, as those of you who have known me for a long time will remember, I once had a teeny obsession with a completely inappropriate guy.  From February of 2000 until approximately September 2004, I was kind of off-and-on in love with a British choral singer.  He was kind of partly the reason I moved to the UK in the first place - you know, I figured I could make him fall in love with me back.

Ok, so this gentleman - we'll call him Joe (that's not his name.  I've never been in love with a Joe) lived near the Archway station on the Northern Line.  I was also a north-Londoner, living in Barnet, Highgate, Muswell Hill, and finally Finsbury Park.  For three out of four of those places, I passed through the Archway station every day.  I used to check myself in my compact to make sure that my makeup was perfect as the train would leave Highgate, because, well, you never knew when he might wind up in my carriage.

So you kind of have to get the absurdity of that thought.  Northern Line trains have about 12-15 carriages.  Each holds maybe 50 people, closer to 75 at rush hour.  The trains run every 5-7 minutes. The chances of Joe coming on to my carriage on any given day were completely astronomical.  But still, I would pull out my compact and arrange my hair in my reflection on the window.

After a year or so of living in London I started forgetting about Joe.  Not in a conscious "I'm going to get over him" kind of way.  But more in a "man, I'm having fun, and there are such lovely other guys around me...hmmm...would you look at that...I haven't thought about Joe in 2 weeks..." kind of way.

I was taking singing lessons from a Welshman who lived near Crystal Palace, which would have me get off the train at Victoria, get the Victoria Line to Euston, cross over to the platform for the Northern Line, and wait for my train up to NoLo (I just made that up - it's short for North London - I'm going to start using it in conversation - feel free to do the same).

So one afternoon in July, I was hoofing it from Victoria, running like crazy to try to make all the connections in the sweltering summer heat.  By this point I was familiar enough with the route to know which carriage I should get in that would allow me the fastest change.  Incidentally, there are people who study this stuff.  The novel Tunnel Visions is about a guy who makes a bet that he can go to all the stations in one day, which happens to be the day before his wedding.  It's a hilarious story, and I highly recommend it, if for no other reason than the next time you find yourself wondering what the easiest route is from Ealing to Maida Vale, you can probably figure it out using this book.  Incidentally, there's also an iphone app which tells you which carriage to get in based on your route - where the exits are, the changes, etc.

Ok, back to my story.

I was hoofing it, the weather was hot, we're like three hundred feet underground in a subway infrastructure that's a hundred years old, and I'm kind of sweating.  And my hair is a wreck.  And I probably hadn't shaved my legs in eternity.  And my pedicure was bad.

And I ran from the Victoria Line platform to the Northern Line platform in Euston station, hoping I'd timed it just right, and I'm huffing and puffing and get to the platform and realize the train is still a minute away, and I'm giving myself an inner high-five and thinking I can sit down for a minute, when who would be on the bench where I wanted to sit but...you guessed it...Joe.

He didn't notice me at first, and I thought I could get away with passing him by to the other end of the platform, but just as I was tippy-toeing past him, he looked up from his newspaper, and said my name.  I considered pretending that I wasn't me, or I was deaf, or anything to avoid showing my sticky, sweaty face to him, but it didn't work.  I had to sit there and make conversation, and when the train came, I had to ride for like four stops with him.

This relates to my shoes because he happened to be wearing these trainers that looked like bowling shoes (trainer is British for sneaker).  It was mid-2001, and I think it was quite trendy at the time.

On a trip home, I went to Target, and they had these quite-trendy-in-a-knockoff-sort-of-way shoes, and I used some advanced algebra to figure out that if I bought these shoes, Joe would love me.  Example using the transitive property:  Joe likes these types of shoes.  I get these shoes.  Ergo, Joe likes these shoes on me.  Resulting in: Joe is madly in love with me.

It kind of made sense at the time.

Anyway, they're comfortable, and I've worn them loads since, and I never even think about Joe when I wear them now, BUT the damn soles are broken, and the other day I was walking in snow and my feet got soaked.  So, sentimental value or no sentimental value, they are going to the thrift store.  Maybe somebody can repair them with super glue.  My hubby probably could, but I'm too lazy to ask him.

Ok.  The Story of the Bowling Trainers has been told and documented for the ages, and I am now releasing the shoes to the thrift store.

That felt good :)

On a side note, I started playing Oblivion again last night.  I started playing Oblivion in 2008.  I spent much of that spring and early summer obsessed with closing the Oblivion gates.  Then it kind of faded and I picked it up again in 2009 and bought the Shivering Isles expansion pack, which really rocked once I got a powerful invisibility spell.  Then I did all of the quests, finally, except the Daedra ones, which kind of freak me out because they involve clearing out these ancient shrines and there are a lot of vampires and the music is scary.  I hardly played at all in 2010.  But then the PS3 broke and we bought a new one.  Which meant that all the data was lost, and I got to start all over again.  This is a good thing.  Which brings me to my favorite App this week: the Elder Scrolls Discussion Forums.  I can use the app to search for game tips and cheats, walk-throughs, and hints...because sometimes going to the Elder Scrolls Wiki on my laptop is just too much work, you know?   (That was meant to be sarcastic)  There's going to be a new Elder Scrolls game released in November, which has me completely excited.  That gives me just enough time to do Oblivion properly again.

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