Unlike most of the pseudo bourgeoisie who now make up my social group, I have never had a ‘gap year’. The idea of taking an extended break from my life in order to embark on a colonial tour of the former empire (and some of the bits we didn’t get) always seemed distasteful to me. Even during the skunked out hydro years, when I once slept in someone else’s sick.
Mostly, I’m not sad to have missed out on this rite of passage. Although, the one thing that does rile me about my lack of youthful adventure is that I have far fewer exotic stories than most people of my age and social standing. This leaves me feeling slightly inadequate in new company. Which is why I usually turn up to parties drunk, sporting dresses that display too much cleavage.
I’m particularly perturbed by the fact that my sister – who, prior to her international sojourn, was not known as Britain’s best raconteur – has the most entertaining story ever; it involves watching people drink milk expressed from rats’ nipples in a temple in India. Tbh, I’m not sure how precise her version of that story is – in relation to reality – because she once told me that she tried crystal meth and took various hallucinogens on that trip. And if I know anything, I know this: hallucinogens are a very good way to improve a story. (Although I can’t say the same for crystal meth; for vanity reasons, and also supply ones, I have never tried that particular drug).
Luckily for me though, the iphone people have invented an app that has made the concept of foreign travel redundant, and given me some excellent stories, should my sis ever try to trump me with the rat one. For the past three weeks, I have spent approximately five hours a day navigating an exotic ruin by foot (and, on the occasions when I chance upon a cave, in a careering wooden cart); sometimes I have to do this while being pursued by a lumbering monkey eagle intent on ensuring my demise.
Obviously, this has all taken place virtually, via the medium of the popular smartphone game ‘Temple Run 2’, and so cannot, in any sense, be said to have actually happened to me. Except that it feels like it has – in fact, I don’t know why I used the past tense there, it feels like it is when it’s happening. The breath-snatching awe as I take a sharp right and glimpse hot mist rising off the mountains; that physical sensation of motion as I leap over rolling spikes and rushing rivers; the leaping despair in my stomach as I take a wrong turn and jump into the abyss.
In a way, it is happening to me – more completely than things that happen to people in real life, because, while it’s taking place, I’m also getting to observe it from an external perspective. This must have been how God experienced being Jesus. Which clearly makes Temple Run 2 experientially superior to spending a spaced out year in flea ridden youth hostels, smoking ganja with some college drop-out from Seattle who thinks he’s found the meaning of life.
Having given it approximately twelve seconds consideration, I’m absolutely certain that Temple Run 2 will improve your chances with the opposite sex (or the same sex, if you like). Fortunately however, it is not possible to simultaneously maintain both a romantic relationship and a virtual adventure inside Temple Run’s world. Not if you in intend to take either of those things seriously. There’s not enough leisure time during the average weekend to both have sex and collect enough coins to complete the Midas Touch (and which one of those things will get you closer to that two gem bonus promised on completion of level 9? Exactly).
Of course, no one can sustain addiction to a game forever. But look on the bright side: once you tire of the temple you’ll have some excellent stories to regale your date with on that next awkward rendezvous. Although, you might want to work on placing those stories in a real-world narrative; a vital tactic should you wish to avoid sounding like a crazed saddo (this is especially important if you decide you might want to have sex with your date at some future point. Which is unlikely. But still).