It could have gone better. Nothing to do with Tani, it was more bad reconnaissance on my part. In this case, when I decided we should visit the Morristown Game Vault, I only took into account the three things I knew Tani needed - someplace indoors with air conditioning, a place to sit if she needed and close proximity to a bathroom (although if we're being honest, bathrooms are at the top of my list too).
What I did not take into account is that the Morristown Game Vault is AWESOME, if you are in your thirties or forties, not if your band of merry travelers are all under 12.
If you were born between 1970 and 1985, this is your place. And if we were all still in college, this could even be our safe place. Pac-man, Miss Pac-man, Frogger, Tetris, a zillion pinball machines, everything Atari and for those on the later end of those years, everything Nintendo 64.
You will be pleased to know that once you sit yourself down in front of the Super Mario Brothers game and pick up the control with the oh-so-familiar black plus shaped button on the left and the A and B buttons on the right, it'll be 1988 all over again. You won't automatically have a banana clip in your hair or double slouchy socks in alternating colors with a coordinating off the shoulder hand painted t-shirt, but that's okay. It's all good, because your hands, they will remember. Your fingers will automatically know how to play the game, where the coins are hiding, which pipes to jump down and how to find the mushroom to grow bigger and the fire mushroom to get your power. No thinking involved, you just know.
And I know all this because they were my hands that remembered. I was not able to effectively explain how to play the game to my children, but I could play. And play well.
It's a day later and I still can't decide if I should be overjoyed by the whole Mario experience or slightly unnerved - I mean, I generally have a hard time knowing what parsha is coming up the next shabbos, but me and Luigi, we still have something.
The kids, while wide-eyed and in theory, excited to be there, had no idea what was going on around them.
I took solace in the fact that there were lots of kids there, and from a quick look around, I can tell you that none of them knew what to do or how to play. Joysticks felt foreign in their hands and the super simple act of pulling the lever on the pinball machine and letting it whack the ball was almost too much.
But not to worry, because each kid was accompanied by an adult who was either elbowing his kid out of the way or, like Josh, calculating in his head when his next day off would be, but a day where the kids would have school. In case you're wondering, that would be chol hamoed Succos and my love has already offered to drive carpool that day. He's more than happy to take anyone else along to play as well, as long as there's no chitchat while he plays Donkey Kong.
The kids all played a few games halfheartedly but we didn't stay long because the whole place was wasted on my kids, and on most kids there. In all seriousness, all the Game Vault is really missing is a bar. And perhaps a karaoke machine filled with Cindy Lauper and Billy Joel songs, some Air Supply and maybe some Chicago thrown in for fun.
(Also, we're old.)
So we left, with the highest intentions of returning, sans kids. We even mentioned that to the guy at the door on the way out and he laughed and said, yeah, everyone says that.
Not to worry though, because after we left, we stopped at the nicest Walmart we've ever seen (let's hear it for Essex County!) to pick up a few school supplies and of course, a few snacks.
It's been a while since I've been in a Walmart, but I'm always surprised by the healthy/crunchy Whole Foods type stuff they've started carrying, like the coconut non- dairy ice cream sandwiches I purchased, for a very non-Whole Foods price.
Lucky for us, the kids forgave us for the trip back to the 80's and were happy with their very non-1988 ice cream.
I, on the other hand, would have preferred an old fashioned Dixie cup with a little wooden spoon, to eat on the front steps while wearing a side pony and jellies, but we were neither near anyone's front steps nor in the 80's any longer.