Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bionicles, martinis and mortgages

F got two board games for Christmas, both from his nana (my mum): the Bionicles board game and Pixar Monopoly.

He loved the Bionicles board game the most. He asked someone to play it with him every day, at least once a day, from the moment he got it.

‘Later’ was the response, over and over.

If you’ve ever tried to get your head around the Bionicles universe – or indeed, any fantasy universe you don’t have an interest in, you’ll know why we kept putting it off.

If you haven’t tried such a thing, just the read the blurb on the back of a fantasy book. Any fantasy book. Chances are, it will read as if written in a foreign language.

Something like:

The Urf from the Kingdom of Larynx are in trouble. The invading Tonsilmonsters are slowly but surely approaching the Great Wall of Urfnan that surrounds the fabled city of Doogna. There is only one hope: the young Urfling Dooma, a member of the dwindling Noggin race. If Dooma can find the sacred crystal of Larynx, hidden deep within the caves of Inka, the Tonsilmonsters will be defeated. But the obstacles are many, and Dooma has not counted on the treachery of his closest companion, Igghanu.

Be honest. Did you even manage to finish reading that paragraph? That’s my relationship to Bionicles.

F and I were invited to a New Year’s Eve pool party. On New Year’s Eve day, my cousin rang to say that it wasn’t going to be a kid friendly party after all. F was very upset. It was 41 degrees Celsius and he was looking forward to the pool. (To be honest, so was I.)

So, in an effort to cheer him up, I ordered a pizza for dinner and suggested we play the Bionicles game.

I gave up halfway through reading the rules, letting F guide me. A bad mistake, because F, given half the chance, is a cheater. I could sense that he was bending the rules to his advantage, but I couldn’t quite tell how.

He won. I put the game away. And I ran him a bath and plonked him in there with goggles on. (We bucketed it out the next day to put on the garden.)


Two days later, after I submitted some work that was due, I joined a patient F upstairs and offered to play Pixar Monopoly.

We played from 10am til 2.30pm in the afternoon, and only stopped because it was time to go swimming in my aunt’s pool. I won, but only just – a bit of a triumph, since at midday, I’d had $5 left and had half my properties mortgaged.

F thought my mortgages were hilarious for some reason. He called them ‘martinis’ and every time I ran out of money again and put another ‘property’ up for ‘mortgage’, he’d laugh and laugh and shout ‘ANOTHER MARTINI! Oh, MUM!’

In life, I have no credit cards and no mortgage. I have no items bought on store credit. All I have is Centrelink debts. Other than that, I pay as I go. I find it peaceful. It allows me to sleep at night, and to make decisions with little regard for money, beyond rent and food provisions.

I decided to play Monopoly from the opposite perspective, as an experiment. At midday, I felt justified in the way I live. At 2.30pm, when I was $3800 ahead, I wondered if maybe I should have a go at a martini after all.

‘It’s a bit like gambling, isn’t it?’ observed F.

And it is, or so it seems. I think I’ll preserve my ability to sleep well at night and make decisions based on what I want to do rather than the money I need to earn. At least for now, while I don’t have the cash for even one tiny little martini anyway.


ThirdCat said...

Fucking games is all I've got to say.
We gave our boys a bucketload of them, to try and compensate for my guilts at the computer games. Twister, jack straws, uno, checkers and then, for the post-Christmas birthday the BIGGEST MISTAKE OF ALL Battleships.

Mum, will you play...Mum, will you play...and I do, because the alternative is that they will play together which is a total fucking disaster because eldest children always use their natural advantages (cheating) and youngest children always use their natural advantage (high pitched voice) and not only that when you LET them win because you are an adult they throw it back in your face and say 'I beat Mum twenty two thousand times, and she never wins'.

Next year, I'm giving them Wii and xbox and whatever else mind-numbing electronic games they desire. And none of this happy families bollocks.

As you were.

PS Thanks for saving me the need to set up another whinge on my own blog

PPS And yes, don't even waste a second of your life trying to understand bionicles, pokemon, or yu gi oh. Just let them tell you what to do. It is by far the easiest way to go.

Ariel said...

Hee hee ... I'm glad I'm not the only one who loves the idea of playing board games - as long as I don't have to play them all the time.

And I'm afraid I really don't try to understand any of them ... esp. Yu-Gi-Oh ... though I do get the guilts a little about the Yu-Gi-Oh because his dad actually duels him. And being a separated family, even if you abhor the idea of competing, sometimes you do, just a bit.

Suse said...

We have a shelf of unused board games. At least yours are being used, even if they're incomprehensible/mindnumbingly boring for the big people in the household.

(Thirdcat's comment was longer than her blog posts).

Ariel said...

Yeah, I think next time I'm asked to play Bionicles I'll suggest Monopoly (though guess which one stays in Adelaide?!)

Yeah, I guess this WAS a pseudo-post for ThirdCat, so it makes sense. I'm happy to be of venting service ...

redcap said...

Oh dear. Weren't we all guilty of this as children, though? At 10 I was more than a little obsessed with Squatter, this dreadful Monopoly take-off except with sheep instead of hotels. You'd end up in drought instead of going to jail or win a spring lamb contest instead of a beauty contest.

These days, I'm just terrible at board games. Apparently it's because I'm just not spatially inclined, whatever this means. The opposite of being a word nerd, I presume. The only exception is Trivial Pursuit. I kick arse at Trivial Pursuit until I reach the sport questions.