Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee
I’m in the last two weeks of my 20’s. Whether I like it or not, here 30 comes.
I measured myself in role-playing games as a kid. The kind on the PC where you click little characters around, swing their swords, give them names. Those were my summers – fantasy. I played Neverwinter Nights a dozen times.
My favorite moment was at the start. The screen’s still black and your polygonal person is rotating. You pick the face, nose, eyes, a class and stats, what weapons they’ll be good with, a general idea of who they’ll be. It was powerful; scared; visions of fifty real hours of my time tracking this miniature me. Bringing out the best in someone, getting to a fixed ending, a place you’re supposed to be.
Some games let you pick an age for your character. This was cosmetic, it didn’t change anything, but I’d still spend time thinking about the number. The oldest I would go was 18, then 21, then 26 on the high end. These seemed like places I could imagine – far-off, enticing, a little more powerful than my 13-yr-old pajama pants planted in a computer chair. It was impossible to think of anything past the mid-twenties because I had no point of reference. My parents had always been older and I had no close relatives in their 30’s. Those were dead years, somewhere you were lost or found in, but that were inaccessible until you got there.
For the past year, I’ve tried to imagine 30, but it’s no good. After all this time, the next decade is still a blank box. Some days that scares me, other days it’s exciting. The closer I get, the more exciting it becomes.
I got to the boss and beat it, this weird-dark doppleganger of my early life. I’m starting over. It’s a black screen, a rotating model, empty slots for new stats. The only thing fixed is that single cosmetic: ’30.’ Time to take the journey all over again.
Currently Reading: Another Country, James Baldwin
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My name’s Pavel. I’m one of the new recruits. I just arrived here at the Academy this morning. You’re….Pavel, Neverwinter Nights