[photo credit: Portlandia, IFC]
While browsing in a local independent bookstore, I overheard a young man and woman, both in their twenties, going through the ritual of getting to know one another. It was apparent that they did not know each other very well, as they went through an awkward exchange of sharing anecdotes and information about themselves, each with that palpably self-conscious tone of voice. At this particular juncture in their conversation, as I tried to keep my distance while simultaneously perusing the Science Fiction & Fantasy section, the woman was doing most of the talking.
The Hispanic young man listened attentively, as he stood in the Science aisle dressed in dark blue long board shorts, a white tee and basketball shoes, in addition to which he was wearing tinted eyewear that I imagine was meant to compliment the high and tight hairstyle he was “rocking.”
Occasionally acknowledging the young woman’s remarks with an “oh, yeah” or a “hmm,” the young man indulged the young Caucasian woman’s account of her plans as a student at the local state university.
“I wanted a major,” she said, “that will allow me to make a good living once I graduate.”
The young woman then went on to describe a rather unique combination of interests that defined her “interdisciplinary degree,” which included courses in literature and the social sciences.
“Hmm,” the young man responded earnestly, feigning comprehension. However, his eyes belied a “you’re going to make money with that?” expression.
The young woman, who was attired in retro flared jeans and a black tank top, not to mention being about two inches taller than her suitor, began explaining her summer school plans and how these were going to enable her to graduate in December, at which point, one can only assume, all the money-making will commence.
Eventually, their conversation turned to books, specifically the science fiction books that were now around them as they moved into the same section as me.
“Have you read these?” the young man asked, pointing to the series for Halo.
“No, but I’ve played the game.”
“Me, too. I think the books are pretty rad.”
The young woman nodded without saying anything. At which point, their conversation turned to the serious topic of gaming and what kind of systems each owned, X-Box or Wii?
Finally, as this mating ritual reached its climax, the young woman brought everything to the make or break point.
“There’s something I want to ask you that’s personally very important to me.”
The young man looked back, trying to look casual but emitting a mildly nervous vibe.
“Have you ever played Mass Effect 3?”
The young man had not!
“I played the earlier versions, though.”
“Hmm,” said the young woman.
“What’s new with 3?” the young man asked, quickly turning the conversation away from his fatal lack of Mass Effect 3 creds.
As I wandered over to the History section, I could hear the young woman singing the praises of her “all-time favorite game,” including what turned into a detailed account of the features, characters and graphics. Meanwhile, the young man just kept on listening, looking a bit crestfallen, but still trying to look cool about it.