Over 40 years ago my family moved to Moore. Shortly after we moved my dad bought us an Atari. Pong was mesmerizing and I played for hours. Video games showed up at 7-11— Asteroids, Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man. I was never an Asteroids fan. I panicked when the asteroids came flying at me, but I loved Ms. Pac-Man and still play it when I find an old machine although I’ve never been very good.
As the video game industry built up, so did my town. While I don’t see games in 7-11 anymore, we now have arcades. We had one high school, a few fast food places, and a main drag street back then. Today we have three high schools, millions of fast food chains, and no more drag street. Too many cars. 19th Street was the very edge of town. Today it is the hub where all the fast food places landed.
A nameless shopping center slowly crept into being there — store by store, driveway by driveway. Unlike the straight paths in Ms. Pac-Man, a roundabout of sorts formed with paths converging. No rules, no lines, one stop sign that offers no help.
Maneuvering through the parking lot is bit like dodging the ghosts. There are two entrances from 19th Street. Three if the adjoining neighbor is counted. The main entrance is at the intersection of Broadway and 19th and has a stop light. This lane glides around a Jimmy Johns on one side and Slim Chickens on the other and continues by a Waffle House and finally slides its way to the front of Pet Smart where a fairly straight line picks up to the rest of the stores. Safety. Game winner. On the other side of Waffle House the other entrance from 19th slips in.
I’m making my move from Broadway. I may do a U-turn by Jimmy Johns into another lane to go The Garage. Not today. Today I’m on my way to Hobby Lobby at the far end so I need to keep going forward. Watch out for that car coming from The Garage drive — she thinks she has the right-of way. Oh no there’s an obstacle in the middle of the course –a light pole in the middle of the road! Which way do I go? One car went right but wait — another went left. No lines to help. I’ll go left.
Uh oh, there’s Taco Bueno just ahead and the other road trying to creep in creates a vortex where escape is near hopeless. Where do I go? That car is trying to break out of Taco Bueno. Danger Will Robinson, Danger! She cut right across my route dodging other cars trying to bolt from the shopping center and all the others hell-bent on reaching their destination.
Towns change. They grow or they die. A visit back to the town I moved from 40 years ago, Konawa, is pretty much dead. Moore is a dizzying haphazard sprawl.
I’m not sure I have reflexes needed to win this new game. I need rules (or least some lines on the streets)!