I awoke early this morning with one driving purpose; to obtain my copy of Halo 2 at all costs. Since 3:00 Monday I had been trying to psych myself up for the task ahead. For it was then that I un-covered a rumor too good to be true: The MS Company store would have copies of Halo 2 in stock on opening day! The doors would open at 9:00am and it would be first come, first serve - a limit of 3ea @ 25 bucks a pop. This is my tale.
Monday, 3:00pm, I fought desperately to pull back from the hysteria that surrounded me. There were whispers in the hallways. I overheard hushed discussions on the sidewalk. The word Halo, Halo, Halo everywhere I went. The company store was going to have a limited supply on opening day after all. I tried to remain sane, but I felt the warm burning of desire. I certainly didn't need a copy that bad, but then again, the Xbox Lan party was this Saturday and time was running out. This was my chance! I was only brought back from the brink by a primal fear of humiliation and loss of control - my secret fear of long lines and public ridicule. I imagined the scene, score of nerds in an enormous line clawing over each other, pawing for a copy of the coveted prize. I imagined glasses flying, and shelves being knocked over. As much as I embrace my inner geek, there are limits to how far I'm willing to go. There are lines I'm not willing to cross for fear of never being able to return. I love gaming but I'm a rational person after all.
For the rest of the day my mind was torn between my desire to obtain my 3 copies and my fear of being caught up in a frenzied game crazed mob. I tried to set some limits. How early would I be willing to get to the store? How long a line would I be willing to wait in? And more importantly, would I hide my face if a camera crew showed up? I strengthened my resolve. I would get there early enough that I could be assured to get a parking spot. And just maybe, I mused, I would be toward the beginning of the line and I could get the whole thing over with behind me quickly and easily - with no loss of dignity. I slipped off to sleep committed to my quest.
I dreamt. I had visions of glory; I was dressed like Indiana Jones holding my shining copies of Halo 2 held triumphantly above my head. But then everything was a blur. I heard jeering laughter, and saw people pointing. I saw a trekker I had once worked with dressed up in full Klingon garb outside of his camper in the parking lot of a Star Trek convention. The laughter was growing louder. I saw people dressed up as their favorite characters at a Babylon 5 convention. More laughter. I saw people dressed as wizards, aliens, comic book and game characters. Suddenly there were people all around me, closing in. They were all pointing at me, laughing. They kept getting closer and closer. A wave of panic swept over me. I looked around, where was I? I was at the end of an enormous line. A blur of figures stretched to the horizon in front of me and ended under a large glowing sign. I could just make out the words: "Star Wars". I glanced at my hands, my mouth fell open. I slowly surveyed my body from my feet upwards. I was covered in fur. In shock, it sank in. I was dressed like Chewbacca. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I awoke with a start. I had over-slept, but there was still time. If I hurried I could still make it. In fact if traffic was light I might arrive a full hour and a half before the doors opened. Surely that would be enough time. But traffic was NOT light. As exited 520, a knot formed in my stomach. It was already 8:00am. Only 1 hour left. I broke out in a cold sweat, but I tried to calm myself. How bad could it be? Sure I may have to park across the street. Maybe the line might be longer than I wanted, but it would be ok. As I approached the store from the back street I saw a stream of cars coming towards me - away from the store, their yellow parking badges revealing their employment. As I approached the store I saw cars everywhere. They lined both sides of the street. In the surrounding buildings cars double parked here and there. For one fleeting moment I re-doubled my courage. I would go though with it no matter what. Then it happened. As the entrance shifted into view, some one darted in front of my car. I hit the brakes to avoid hitting them. I gazed up the parking lot entrance. There were people running, actually running from their cars to get to the end of an enormous line that stretched from the entrance up the parking lot. The line doubled back on itself like a long sinister snake. I panicked as images of nerd fist fights, Klingons and Chewbacca filled my head. I hit the gas.
I arrived at work, and slowly shuffled from the car to my office - my head hung low. I have been tested at the alters of Geekdom, and I have been found lacking.