July 29th, 2013


No Touch-a the Machine!

Yesterday, after lunch, I went to play pinball at a place that was walking distance from my old apartment in Fremont. Aside from the machine not being in the best condition, things were going fine until a rather large contingent of Little Leaguers poured into the place and swarmed into the game room. crowding around me to get to the air hockey, leaning over the pinball table (which is distracting), asking me questions during game play (even more distracting), and generally making nuisances of themselves. The last straw came when, after a particularly long four-multi-ball play in ball 1, I didn't immediately put ball 2 back into play, but stopped to catch my breath. (Keeping four balls in play takes a lot of concentration!) One of the onlookers said, "You have to push the button" and started to push the start-new-game button. That would have ended the game I was currently playing, wasting an excellent first ball and one of the credits I'd earned. I slapped his hand away, glared harshly at him and very sternly told him, "Do not touch the machine when someone else is playing it! You do not need to tell me how to play pinball! I've been playing pinball since before you were born; maybe before your parents were born!" He slunk away, looking very affronted.

Maybe I overreacted, but darn it, you do not touch a pinball machine that someone else is playing. You stay out of the player's line of sight, and you give him or her enough room to work the machine. But pinball machines are so rare, and youngsters only play video games, where putting "English" on the machine isn't generally possible, and so I guess they don't learn.

I bought a total of five credits on that machine ($2). I walked away about two hours later, having played a whole lot more than five games, although I lost track of how many overall I won. However, I'm not likely to go back there to play that same machine, because the machine is in poor condition and it's rather remarkable I was able to win as many games as I did with so many broken targets.