Warcraft Widow

Most men, young and old, respond to a call for food with Pavlovian
reflex, a pounding up or down stairs in the general direction of the
kitchen with a stop for washing hands only when reminded by their wife
or mother. That is most men not playing World of Warcraft.


, I say to my husband and sons, What do you say to some pancakes or
waffles for brunch this morning?
I know the brunch part is pushing
it--not a man-thing at all--but they've been at it for a couple of hours
and I assume the bowls of cereal they had earlier have worn off by now.

Umm, sorry Mom. No waffles. We're in an instance.

An instance? I don't know what this is, but I know what it means for
me. I am one of the many many women across the globe who has become a
Warcraft Widow. This is not a new term. It is not one that I have
coined. If I knew whom to give copyright credit to, I would do so,
although I believe you can't actually copyright a title or proper name.
Anyhow, what I do know is, in this particular instance, I will be
eating my waffles alone.

Men like computer games. Women, as a
rule, do not. Now I'm sure I may get a few irritated comments from
female computer aficionados, and I'm sure they're out there. It's just
that I personally, have never met one.

When I was in high
school, two of my best friends, Amir and Bill, used to drag me to
arcades for Pac Man and Space Invaders and as I watched them dump
countless quarters into the machines I would oftentimes find myself
thinking, Gee, I could be chewing on broken glass right now instead.

The only thing more boring than watching someone else play a video game
is watching someone else surf the internet--but it's funny how it always
takes a while before you realize, I'm watching someone else surf the
internet and it is really really boring and there are just so many
better ways for me to waste my time.

This family World of
Warcraft fascination began with my husband. His twin brother introduced
him to Warcraft several years ago and I've never forgiven him. My
brother-in-law, that is. I try to tell myself that it could be worse.
He could be addicted to something harmful--like beer, or the Gilmore
Girls. At least he's in the basement on the computer not out
gallivanting around town in a state of inebriation. But still, it
troubles me. Especially the times he refuses food. Or to stop for other
things I deem important. "I'm sorry Kim, I can't lift the bookcase off
your leg--I'm in a group. We're in an instance."

So while my
husband proceeds to not let down his Warcraft buddies by staying with
the group (which I presume, unbeknownst to my husband, is actually made
up of my old friends Amir and Bill), I proceed to free myself from under
the bookcase by gnawing off my own leg.

He liked to play on
weekend mornings and our boys loved to watch. Are you listening? The
boys loved to watch someone else play a video game. It wasn't long
before they had their own characters and were traveling through fields
and towns fighting the Alliance as members of the Horde, wielding
night-elves at each other and taking care of their virtual pets, which
only made me wish they'd take such great care of their real ones.

Now my sons play Warcraft with several of their school friends. And
don't think I don't feel the reproachful glares of their mothers. The
game can be a little violent--but I tell myself, not any more violent
than Saturday morning cartoons--and at least with the video game, they're
learning valuable skills, like math and how to vanquish mortal foes
with a long sword. Just show me the boardroom where these skills
wouldn't come in handy.

Still, I worry the boys play too much.
They speak their own language, and it's not the twin language of their
toddler years. Now they speak Warcraft.

"I'm a level 36
Warlock! I can't run you through the wailing caverns." "Let's do some
quests in Hillsbrad, maybe we'll run into some PVP'ers." "Okay, but
we'll have to watch we don't get ganked." Ganked? Do you see why I

Even their "real" play is fraught with references to this
game. "I'm an Orc and I have 26 strength and 14 life. I need 100 gold
to buy that armor from you."

Maybe I really should be happier.
How many mothers get their Saturday mornings to themselves? I can
write or go to yoga or sleep-in. I shouldn't begrudge the men in my
life this time together, off in virtual worlds, fighting virtual battles
together, but quite selfishly, I kind of do. I suppose I could always
grab a long sword and join them, become a level 1 Rogue...

Then again, maybe not. It's a small price to pay for the opportunity to eat my waffles all by myself.

ACityMom took a week off to spend some extra time with her kids and has been running vintage blogs. Warcraft Widow was first published May 15, 2006. She will be back from her hiatus on Monday (maybe Tuesday) with a brand-new column. Thank you for reading A City Mom! Follow me on Twitter@acitymom or on Facebook here.

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