Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I used to be addicted to Tetris. I'm sure I could be addicted to it again if I put it on my computer, but I can't risk it. Maybe I'm really "in recovery."

When I moved to Chapel Hill for grad school, one of the first things I did was load Tetris on my hand-me-down Zenith laptop. I played constantly. I dreamed Tetris. I closed my eyes and saw the blocks falling. My wrist was sore from so much Tetris. I had to take it off the machine because I couldn't stop playing.

My addiction began when I was dating my last Seattle boyfriend, aka the best boyfriend ever, heretofore known as "Joe." Joe had a computer that he used for—well, I'm not sure what he used it for. At the time, I owned a dedicated word processor—absolutely no frills. Joe had games on his computer—like solitaire and TETRIS. Games! Fun!

Other than pinball, I didn't like most arcade games. Mom and I once discussed buying an Atari system, but we didn't see the point. In junior high I was expert at this one game that involved rolling a clown across the bottom of the screen and catching balloons on his nose. But the only place I could find that machine was at the Fred Meyer's on Broadway (in Seattle), so I didn't play it often. I would stop by for a few games on my way to the arcade to watch over the shoulders of the boys playing Frogger and Galaga.

Joe was good at Tetris. When I started playing, he would give me pointers. In time, I broke into his top ten high scores—I would get eight or nine at best. I never stayed there for long--Joe would just play a few rounds and knock me out.

At the height of our Tetris rivalry, I'd walk into his apartment, immediately sit down at the computer and start playing. He'd say, "Aren't you even going to say hello to me?"

"In a minute. I have to beat your high score."

As soon as I did, I'd turn off the computer. At least for the night, I'd be in the top ten.

I miss him.

Grateful for: Tetris.

Drop me a line.

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