The Village Idiot
This isn’t to say that my girlfriend hasn’t developed or protected me; throughout these past four years—five come April 14—she has repeatedly gone above and beyond to help me through my darkest moments. I’m not a cruel cynic seeking to prove that there’s no such thing as serious romantic love. But what concerns me are the fantasies we chase: pretty pictures that deliver nothing but disappointment.
Of the few games that grant their players sufficient freedom, the majority are too fantastical and over-the-top for my taste. Shooting space wizards is strange and impossible. Fighting to preserve the sanctity of long-lost kingdoms is about as consequential as it is realistic. Perhaps I’m too much of a sour cynic. Regardless, if I can’t see your game occurring within our real world, chances are, I won’t enjoy it.
During our first week of work, all interns were made to take part in a presentation on operational security. We were warned that our supervisors could monitor our social media activity, and any online references to our work could land us in serious legal trouble. The presenter pointed to cases of interns being contacted via Facebook by foreign intelligence agencies and unintentionally compromising state secrets. Given my proclivity for communist jokes and the abundance of foreign nationals on my newsfeed, I subsequently decided to deactivate my Facebook to prevent misunderstandings between my employers and myself. Consequently, I was left with two social media platforms—Instagram and Snapchat—to communicate with my friends from home.
However, about a month ago, a young man breached the seating treaty during one of my Thursday courses. Normally, I wouldn’t have cared; my early arrival to lecture guarantees me my preferred seat. What sets this young man apart isn’t his contempt for the unspoken laws of lecture, but rather how he led me to discover my greatest regret.
Our interactions with the pupusería were comical, to say the least. My father would enter donning his stoic face and silently direct me to the cashier. Casually, I would approach the register and order the usual with my pubescent voice: “dos con loroco, dos de chicharrón, dos de queso, y una bolsa de curtido, por favor.” The restaurant would fall silent for a moment as everyone wondered what a man as white as sour cream and his pale son were doing in a tiny pupusería, but eventually the sounds and smells of fresh food and good company refocused everyone’s attention. Minutes later we’d happily walk away, pupusas in hand (and sometimes an horchata or two), eagerly awaiting my mother’s return from work.