I’m still not in the mood to think about the Sabres (Welcome to Buffalo, Tallinder the 2nd Jordan Leopold!), and I’m scared that if I turn on the television I’ll accidentally get sucked into the Hotdog Eating Contest, so here’s a funny story from Apple Hill.
On the day after music camp ended, a little crew of us (Mike, Jesse, Elise, Ealain, and myself) hopped in the car and drove an hour and a half to The Fun Spot. Now, ordinarily driving many miles to the world’s biggest arcade/video game museum on a beautiful day with my oldest and dearest friends would be pure delight, but on this day….well.
As Jesse would later say of the day, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”
First, a bit about The Fun Spot. It’s bonkers. The Fun Spot is a three-story warehouse full of every arcade video game ever made (possibly literally), plus skee-ball, whack-a-mole, and all the other games where you get tickets and then turn them in for small prizes. The Fun Spot is awesome because if there was a video game that you used to love playing at the roller rink in 1983, it will be there. You can find it, and play it, and be magically returned to a different era of your life. Jesse, Mike and I spent HOURS (and hundreds of dollars) playing Star Trek the Next Generation pinball in college, and IT WAS THERE, at The Fun Spot. Star Trek pinball! Just looking at the machine made me feel like a junior in college again, and when I heard the sounds of the game I was absolutely transported back to the Oberlin game room, circa 1996. (In college though, our Star Trek game had a broken tilt mechanism. This was part of its appeal. If you were strong enough you could literally hoist the machine into the air to avoid having your ball go down the drain. Star Trek pinball is why I had huge bruises on my hips [from slamming the machine] for all of 1996. Sadly, at The Fun Spot the tilt worked, and we weren’t allowed to abuse the machine.)
So, The Fun Spot definitely has its fine qualities. And let me tell you, we LAUGHED our asses off that day. We laughed until we couldn’t breath. Repeatedly. At one point in the car, Jesse was laughing so hard he pulled the car over to the side of the road so that he wouldn’t crash. (For my BPO friends- I was telling the story of The “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn” at the time. Heh.) We laughed until our sides ached and we begged each other to “PLEASE STOP BEING FUNNY, OR I’LL DIE”. I love those people so much, and it was such a treat to hang out with them all day. If you ever get the chance to hit the Fun Spot with your BFFs, I highly recommend that you take it.
But there IS bad news about the Fun Spot. First of all, with all those people playing video games at once, it’s loud. Like, REAL loud. Second of all, it’s hot. Like, ewwww hot. And smelly. And THIRD of all, every surface in that building feels grimy. I have never felt so unclean as I felt in the Fun Spot. I figure you have at LEAST a 50% chance of catching hepatitis at the Fun Spot. After every game I played, I felt the strong urge to douse myself in Purell, but I didn’t have any Purell, so I made repeated trips to the scuzzy bathrooms to wash my hands. The bathroom was its own nightmare of uncleanliness.
Added to the general yuckiness of the Fun Spot was my own personal predicament. You see, I was more than a little hung over that day. It wasn’t a DefCon 5 hangover, but it was definitely a hangover that should’ve been treated with lots of Gatorade and possibly a “Law and Order” marathon. BUT, this was no ordinary situation. I was in full, “Seize the day” mode because I was at summer camp. When you’re at summer camp you don’t say, “I’m too tired.” EVER. When you’re at summer camp you grab the Fun Spot by the horns, and you play video games until you can’t see straight. You rally. Because damnit, time is short and soon you’ll have to go back to real life. There will be plenty of time for fluids and television in Buffalo. In New Hampshire, you go for the gold.
So, the whole time we were in the Fun Spot sweating, and laughing, and obsessively washing our hands, I was teetering back and forth between feeling reasonably okay and feeling like I wanted to curl up on the floor of the Fun Spot and die. One second I would be laughing so hard I couldn’t imagine being happier, and the next second I would be limping to the snack bar (the quietest, yet stickiest area of the Fun Spot) to try to manage my hangover with Rolos and Cheez-Its. (Rolos and Cheez-Its are not ideal hangover food, but you work with what you’ve got. They did help.)
I could write a thousand years and still never get done telling you about the adventures (and misadventures) we had in the Fun Spot, but instead, I’ll just leave you with this:
This is Jesse displaying the booty we collected with our tickets after playing about $80 worth of Skee-ball. A plastic hand clapper, a strange thermos thing, and a dolphin ring.
After squeezing all the fun we could out of the Fun Spot, we got in the car for the long ride home. We were all a little worse for the wear (practically shell-shocked), but I was in particularly bad shape due to my hangover. It was nearing dinnertime, but since the Fun Spot is kind of in the middle of nowhere we decided it would be best to eat once we got back to home. So, the scene at this point was rather sorry. We were all tired, and feeling disgusting, I was hungover and getting increasingly cranky about it, and we were still hours away from eating dinner.
This is when I began whining in earnest. I’d like to think that my whining was for comedic effect, but if I’m honest with myself, I’m not so sure. The Fun Spot had pushed me to the brink. I was hungry and tired and jammed in the backseat of a Subaru with two other adults, and when I wasn’t whining pitifully, I was slap happy and near delirious.
And so this is how we began our rambling ride home. We recounted the adventures we’d had at the Fun Spot. Laughed over some of them, cried over others, and basically tried to keep each other’s spirits up. But we were definitely flagging. There is only so much a human body can take, and the Fun Spot had turned out to be the ultimate test of human stamina.
Just when we thought that the day had taken a turn for the permanently cranky, Elise exclaimed, “Oh my gosh! I still have half a doughnut!” Then, from under the seat, she produced a wax paper bag containing half of the doughnut she had purchased that morning. We all cheered and passed the bag around, each taking one bite of the doughnut. I cannot tell you how rejuvenating a single bite of a doughnut can be when you are in the post-Fun Spot pit of despair. In that moment, we were reborn.
But five minutes later we came crashing down. It turns out one bite of doughnut only provides five minutes of rebirth. After that you feel worse than you felt before you even HAD that bite of doughnut.
That’s when we had this exchange:
Mike: How are you feeling Kate?
Kate: BAD. I feel BAD. I’m hungry and I feel BAD. That bite of doughnut only made things worse!
Mike: I know. Me too. I bet you feel terrible, what with the hangover and all.
Kate: I FEEL TERRIBLE. The Fun Spot practically killed me. HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET ALL THE WAY HOME, COVERED IN GERMS FROM THE FUNSPOT AND WITH NO SUSTENANCE?!
Mike: We might die.
Kate: (sadly, dejectedly, with no hint of hope or joy) I think we will die.
(a long, desperate quiet descends upon the car)
Mike: But wait…
(Mike begins rummaging around in the center console. We all eye him warily. All hope is lost.)
And then, in a voice you would use to say, “But guess what! We have ONE MORE present,” at a child’s birthday party right before you bring in a pony with a bow tied around his neck, Mike triumphantly held up a wax paper bag.
“IT’S ANOTHER DOUGHNUT!”
We were saved! Mike had been holding out! He had expertly waited until the car had reached it’s lowest, saddest, most hopeless state, and then HE MAGICALLY PRODUCED ANOTHER LIFE SAVING DOUGHNUT! My heart filled with joy! We would not die! We had another doughnut!
Is there anyone better than Mike? NO. There is not!
I’m not sure I will ever have a moment as happy as the moment Mike pulled that doughnut out of thin air. We ate that doughnut, and this time it WAS enough to get us home. Mike’s magical doughnut got us all the way back up to Apple Hill. The day had been a wondrous success.
And we all lived happily every after.