The Professional Guest — Nintendo & Letting Go

5Y6yjgSI’m tired. I’m used to a fairly low-key lifestyle where I plan for guests and carefully consider invitations to go out. Impossible when you are moving to another state, selling things on Craigslist and donating everything from thimbles to book shelves. I decided to sell my house and everything I own and move from Minneapolis to Naples, Florida, to seek my fortune. I’m “takin’ a flier,” as they say.

My house has become Grand Central Station, people coming and going all day long, every day. This is exhausting for an introvert. To top it off, the buyer is moving some of her stuff in as I move stuff out so the piles of boxes never seem to diminish. She’s a friend so this move isn’t exactly your standard protocol.

I’m a compartmentalized thinker. When I have a task at hand, I like to concentrate on that task only. I walk into a room and close the door behind me. Now I’m in just this room, looking at the room, thinking about the room, considering what needs to be done for the room. I’m not thinking about any other room. With friends, family and strangers coming to get stuff, I have to bounce from room to room and I lose my concentration. There’s also my design work which for weeks was nearly nil, and suddenly there is plenty to do and I need to go into that room, close the door and get it done.

Grand Central Station is no place for a “Detail Man.” When you are downsizing to the point where you are getting rid of EVERYTHING except your basic clothes, computer and a few mementos, you have to go through all of it first. I no sooner sit down in my bedroom to begin that process when bing, the doorbell rings and someone is coming over to get something. The boxes are piling high in my bedroom and I’ve become a full-fledged spelunker in a 10 x 12 cave. I need a system and I can’t seem to create one!

As a person with the gift of exhortation (advice, encouragement, etc.), I think in Steps One, Two, Three. Logistics and problem-solving is my forté. I seem to know the best way to get folks through a complex move, sticky situation or family distress but I cannot find those steps for my own moving chaos. I need supernatural wisdom and I need it quick. Time is of the essence here. The house closing is in two weeks.

Downsizing is fun until your couch goes. Now the level of discomfort is exponentially magnified and there is no place to go to decompress. Add July’s high heat and humidity with the front door constantly opening and closing, mosquitos and flies swarming in, and I understand why herds of caribou go mad and start thundering across the tundra. Today, I’m thundering to the pool and staying there submerged for some much needed relief.

The loss of treasured items, or everyday things I’ve relied on for making life hum along causes distress but I tell myself, “No problem. I’ll collect those things down in Naples after I arrive.” It’s funny, though, the things that make the “letting go” hit home harder. Yesterday I sold my son’s Nintendo 64 set. Outside of a few classic video game enthusiasts, not many people would view that as much of a loss. But it’s a big one to me. You see, my son is blind. He was born with a retinal/brain condition called Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis, which is a fancy way of saying Dr. Leber discovered this type of rare, recessive gene blindness. Garrett’s eyes, optic nerve, and retinas are astonishingly perfect. They just don’t work. The “switch” that tells the brain how to see is off and scientists are working hard to figure out why. He’s not in total darkness however, and his blindness varies depending on how bright the lighting is, but he is legally blind—a Braille-reader and a cane-traveler.

Something happened when he was younger and visiting with his step-siblings. They had a Nintendo 64 set and were playing Banjo Kazooie on it. Amazingly, if Garrett sat very close to the TV and moved his head left and right to see out of his peripheral vision, he could follow the little creatures as they traversed narrow pathways, climbed walls, swam through pools and collected life-extending golden honeycombs. Life was never the same. He was Tommy, the Pinball Wizard. We bought the how-to-play manuals and Garrett sat for hours figuring out how to kill bad guys, achieve new levels, and ultimately win the game. He used vision, sound cues, and lighting changes to navigate. If he got into a sticky spot, I’d sit and read the manual to him or call a friend over to help him accomplish the challenge. He moved on to Banjo Tooie, Donkey Kong and then to Zelda.

Parents everywhere bemoan the time their children spend playing video games. I celebrated it with weird glee. Using vision and a controller to play these games develops crucial hand-eye coordination. For a blind kid, this was a milestone! And the fact that he later learned how to go on his computer to look up cheat strategies for beating the games was monumental. My son is a cheater! Hooray!

He uses an adaptive software called JAWS for Windows which reads webpages and emails out loud to him in a monotone, computer-generated voice. I pride myself on being able to understand people from other countries with their heavy accents and various dialects but I cannot understand Mr. Computer Voice at all.

So seeing that Nintendo 64 game console walk out the door was bittersweet. There are more joy-filled memories surrounding that one electronic device than all the campfires and s’mores in the world. I find myself still humming the little tunes that accompany each “world” in the games. And I honestly enjoyed making Banjo swim to the bottom of the Jolly Roger’s Lagoon level to find a giant locker with the name “D. Jones” on it. Destroying the locker opened a path to the level boss. I can still hear the underwater music. It was mesmerizing making Banjo swim.

Which makes me think of the ocean. I can’t wait until I am oceanside in Naples, Florida, my cave-dwelling days behind me and nothing but open sky and sea before me. I will stand on the shore, stretch, take a deep salty breath and thank God for a fresh start. But I will miss that Nintendo set.

The house inspector is here. Back to Grand Central station.

To watch Garrett playing Nintendo:


8 thoughts on “The Professional Guest — Nintendo & Letting Go

      1. You are known amongst my kids and grandkids…because of your teeny, tiny sneeze from print shop days 🙂 Never forgotten and never alone!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You may be pleased (or disappointed) that I have since learned how to let it rip when I sneeze now. If I hold back, I keep sneezing four, five, six times. If I just let it blow, it’s over and done with at one time. Prudence…


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