I try very hard not to be a geek, but sometimes I can’t help it: like Eddie Izzard, I get techno-lust when it comes to gadgets. I’m also a closet gamer: I don’t play games very often but from time to time, I’ll become obsessed with a particular game (Doom, System Shock 2, Half-Life, Deus Ex, Halo, Doom III) and play it until my fingers bleed. I’m well aware that non-geeks might disapprove of such anti-social interests, and as my wife is about as un-geek as you can get (she has a social life, for starters) I’ve made an effort to hide that part of my personality from her.
It turns out that my wife, too, is a geek. Oh, she might not seem like one, but trust me, she is.
It started with the iPod – a pink, girlie iPod mini, to be precise. My wife believes it’s the greatest invention of all time, and these days she’d rather rip CDs and build iTunes playlists than shop (although her geek credentials are ruined somewhat because when she’s loaded up the iPod, she actually goes outside and does keep-fit things instead of moping around the flat, listening to Radiohead like a real geek would do). She likes it so much she’s bought me one: a silver one, so it matches my PowerBook.
As if that wasn’t enough, we finally had the Xbox conversation. I want one, mainly to play Halo and from November, Halo 2. I expected a rough ride because for many women, computers and consoles are fine provided they’re not in the front room. So I was a bit taken aback when she said it was a great idea: we could get some two-player things, and it would keep us out of the pub.
I was quite pleased by that, but part of me was horrified by the thought of nights spent playing twee, cute platformers and other girl-friendly games. I tried to hide that, and suggested a few titles that I thought she might like (and which I knew I’d loathe). Her reply? Sod that. I want to play Halo.
It turns out my wife has a secret past: she was a teenage gamer, and there’s nothing she likes better than meeting new and interesting aliens, and blowing them to pieces with heavy artillery. So the Xbox and Halo arrives tomorrow, and I need to go and get a second controller so she can man the guns while I drive the warthog over space aliens.
I’ve unleashed a monster.