It is Saturday as I write this, and I am in Massachusetts with Megan.
This means that we are going to the Bit Bar in Salem this afternoon.
Every good relationship has a place where you go that never lets you down. It’s a place where you go, maybe have something to eat, and have a good time. The Bit Bar is, officially, Our Place with a capital O and P.
The Bit Bar is a vintage arcade bar in Salem, Massachusetts. The front has vintage video games from the 80’s and 90’s, and the back, in addition to having some more video games, has pinball machines. We love the pinball machines; it’s possible to duplicate most video games on a home console, but pinball is something to experience in the real, non-virtual world.
Our favorite pinball machine is Addams Family, a vintage machine from the early 90’s. Pat Lawler, one of the gods in the pinball engineering world, designed it. It is, tragically, out for repairs; we eagerly await its return.
In the meantime, we play “Dialed In,” a recent offering from the Jersey Jack pinball company. Pat Lawler designed this one as well. We also play the new Star Wars game; the new pinball games have become so complex that there are countless things to understand, and so far we’ve picked up maybe ten percent of them.
It doesn’t matter. We have an awesome time.
We have our chicken fingers (the food at The Bit Bar, frankly, could be better, but the chicken fingers are fine). We have our Bavarian pretzels with mustard. We have our Tetris Tots, shaped like pieces from the classic video game.
One of the things that makes The Bit Bar charming is that it’s clearly a place to which parents take their kids. There are always scads of ankle biters there, and they’re all having a great time. This is life affirming.
It’s the little things, after all. Yes, there are major events in a relationship, but as time goes by, it’s those little things you do every day, great little things that never let you down. Making each other coffee; sharing a joke; lamenting about the state of the world, and what the two of you can do to make the world a little better.
Often, such little things happen in a place that the two of you go to, a place that never lets you down. Then, at that place, there are other little things that become part of the routine of making a relationship special. In this case, it involves playing numerous rounds of Dialed In and Star Wars, and eagerly awaiting the return of Addams Family.
We all need power centers in our lives, places that allow us to recharge our batteries so that we may better deal with the trials and tribulations that we encounter from day to day. The older I get, the more I realize the preciousness of something that never lets me down, something that will always allow me to stop and realize that life is often about the grace of simple, great little things. The Bit Bar is our great little thing, and I can’t wait for this afternoon.