Let me tell you how I chill out (in ways that do not involve a Grey Goose martini or a glass of Single Barrel Jack Daniels.)
If you’ve been reading awhile you may remember last year for my 40th birthday I got a full size Ms. Pac Man arcade game as the coolest birthday gift ever. I already had a collection of vintage Pac Man/Ms. Pac Man shirts, and memorialized the gift by getting a Ms. Pac Man tattoo.
Now that I’ve had my machine nearly a year, the thing I love best about it is that it is surprisingly therapeutic. So much cheaper than a psychotherapist, a Ms. Pac Man arcade game (set on ‘free’ so you don’t have to keep feeding it quarters) can provide hours of entertainment as well as relaxation.
The only stressful thing about the machine for me is that my 12 year old has the high score. She apparently saw the 1981 machine as a way to passively-aggressively beat her mom at something, thus one-upping her as only a middle schooler can. My current high score is around 139,660 and hers is like 185,000. It surprising I don’t spend the kids’ entire school day trying to beat that score.
I refuse to get caught up in the ‘high score race’ because I love to play and as long as I get over 100,000 I am happy. Playing Ms. Pac Man is a pure form of zen peacefulness with its simple, beautiful message:
and it provides focus, concentration and a unique state of consciousness that allows your brain to rid itself of thoughts and worries about things happening in the actual world not involving being chased by four ghosts. The red ghost whore Blinky is always trying to fuck up my Zen, but I try not to let her.*
Plus, it’s healthy. I mean, there is FRUIT. Natch I like to eat bananas best, because they are worth 5,000 points each- the most. I try not to let myself lose a life until ideally like 40-50,000 and someday? Someday I WILL get 200,000- but it will involve the children having no clean clothes or food.
Which would be good for nurturing their independence. Right?
In summary, Ms. Pac Man is my form of Zen. What’s yours?
*Awesome Ms. Pac Man trivia: Andy Botwin in my favorite TV show in the world, Weeds, is playing his arcade game and quoted as saying: “It feels right you know. She gets me. We’re in sync. No words, just a gentle touch of my hand. I move left, she moves left. I move right, she moves right. Yes! Power pellet! Die Inky! Die Blinky! Come here Sue, you filthy little ghost whore.”