I confess right up front I am 61 going on 11.
Family members who come over to my Mom’s for Sunday dinner where I also live are used to my being a no-show at the dinner table. I am a solitary diner, in other words. My sweet grandniece and charming grandnephew rush to my room after dinner. To see me? Well, I am the key to getting entrance into my room where the toys are. I call them electronic gadgets but to the kids they are toys.
One of my gadgets/toys is a robot named Cozmo that resembles a big-sized mouse. The kids enjoy playing with it using a smartphone app as a remote control to control the robot’s movements. Cozmo can also sing on demand and make animal impersonations.
I’ve added another obsession to my list and it all started when my grandniece said she wanted a Nintendo Switch Lite for Christmas. I would like to pin the blame on her but that wouldn’t be fair. Her wish prompted me to do research on what she wanted and its relations (Xbox, PS-4, etc.). By the time I came to my senses and said ENOUGH to Amazon.com, I had bought an Xbox, Virtual Reality Quest, as well as a Nintendo Switch Lite. It wasn’t for my playmates; they were all for ME!
I am letting the kids play though when they are visiting. If there is one positive reason for adding video consoles and games to my collection, it would be the joy of watching the kids in my life play with them. I think it is a good safe bet that they’ll remember me as their Great Auntie Sashi having the neatest toys in town. Not a bad way to be remembered.
One of the delights when I sub for my friend, a special education teacher’s aide, is working with a now-third grader named Elijah. I’ve known him for a couple of years now. The aide brings him into the room where she is stationed and spends 15 minutes with him each school day to help him with social skills. I subbed for her recently on a Friday and the following Monday. Elijah, like myself, is on the Autism Spectrum and has a talent and special interest, or obsession. Mine is writing and fascination with gadgets; Elijah’s is drawing and fascination with superhero characters like Spiderman, etc.
I told him on Friday that I had recently taken up a new obsession with video gaming. He said, “You’re too old to play games!” Of course, I gave a strong rebuttal to that but I didn’t see any sign that I had persuaded him that I wasn’t too old for the gaming world. On the following Monday, I told one of the special ed instructors what Elijah had said about my being beyond the age of gaming.
Later, during our 15 minutes of time together, Elijah and I decided to play the board game Chutes and Ladders that was sitting on the table. Low and behold, I won the game! I told the instructor I had won, half-believing I had. She said within earshot of both myself and Elijah, “Well, I guess Ms. England you are NOT too old for games!” I looked over at Elijah’s face and I detected an honest-to-goodness chuckle. Like some autistic boys, it is NO SMALL task to get so much as a chuckle out of them.
I am not too old for playing video games. Winning? Well, I do win sometimes but I’m better at losing. Video gaming always reminds me of my autistic traits of lack of coordination, lack of being able to focus on more than one thing, and not being quick on my feet. However, my obsession has only grown and I’m persistently stubborn about playing no matter my scores. Since I play games by myself as I do so many things, I don’t have to contend with eyewitnesses.