(Topic ID: 253412)

"You have too many Pinball machines to have a life, Dad"


By MK6PIN

5 months ago



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  • Latest reply 42 days ago by whitey
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    39
    #1 5 months ago

    My 19-year-old Son is home from college this weekend. We start talking about his on and off-campus experiences to date. Alot of stories, and he's adjusting just fine.

    Conversation shifts to me, stating I've always been more of a "work then home" kind of guy. I tell him about some of my latest pinball adventures. He then utters the above statement.

    Wouldn't give much thought to it normally, but did get me thinking:

    a) I've brought up my gameroom to colleagues at work, and have received "cool, but seems like a lonely hobby" comment from more than one person.
    b) Given these things are in my house, there's not much desire or need to venture out.
    c) I get leagues, tourneys, and pockets of us that get together to enjoy the machines. But honestly, I can have the most fun playing it alone, as it's ultimately a "you against the machine" experience. You don't really have to engage with anyone to have a good time on these things.
    d) Lost my Wife of 21 years to a long battle w cancer a year ago August. First time I've ever brought it up here, and not interested in (nor want) sympathy. I now get this constant barrage of "advice" to get out, socialize, and don't be too secluded. Not something that is received well on my end currently, as I never did it much prior.
    e) The pins always brought me a great escape from the normal day to day stress and pressures of "real" life. Now, it provides a different type of escape, and sometimes the only thing that can bring a consistent smile to my face. I view that as a positive (?)

    There are other adventures I'm looking at which appeal to me, but giving up the silver ball is not something that I'm willing to do (yet).

    I guess I'm not sure what I'm asking, except his very simple sentence struck a cord with me.

    "Too much of a good thing" is the only phrase that kind of aligns.....

    30
    #2 5 months ago

    This is not advice, just sharing my personal experience.

    I own pinballs and I play alone but I also "force" myself to play with my local league every monday night. And every night that I waffle about going and could easily stay home, once I'm there I'm always grateful I got myself out of the house. I do genuinely enjoy their company, for the same reason I enjoy hanging out on Pinside. It's easy to have a conversation with people who share the same hobby and passion.

    As adults, making friends is difficult, so I'm grateful to pinball for giving me those opportunities.

    10
    #3 5 months ago

    I'm an introvert that teaches. After a long day of dealing with people, I need alone time to recharge. Pinball works for me. If I had to go out to play, I probably wouldn't.

    Had friends and family over the last two nights and we fired up all the machines and played. Well, they played and I mostly supervised and helped out. It's not something that happens often but it was a good time and we didn't have to share our space with anyone else. My sister-in-law's friend was with her and she's never really played pinball. She has severe vision issues and paying to play for her would be a waste of money. It was cool to watch her play and enjoy the experience.

    As the saying goes, "you do you." Understand that your friends/family are looking out for you but know that they don't always know what is best for you. Sounds to me like you might be an introvert, not a depressed and lonely man.

    #4 5 months ago

    Sorry about your wife. It sounds like well meaning friends and family encouraging you to get out and have some more social interaction. I totally understand about the enjoyment that you get alone. That part checks a lot of boxes for me as well.
    I’ve got a really nice game room, but it doesn’t get a lot of company. There is no local pinball scene here. I have a few tournaments a year and I travel to participate in others as I really enjoy the social side of pinball.

    51
    #5 5 months ago

    What’s wrong with alone time? You did your part to the world. You met a nice woman, and raised a fine son. You have given your dues. If your pins make you happy, I see nothing wrong here. You have simply adjusted to a new phase in life. You have earned that right.

    #6 5 months ago

    Hobbies are often a way to escape from the drudgery and stress of life.
    Thats one reason I got into pinball....stress from a lousy job. I've made many
    good friends in this hobby so if anything its enhanced my social
    life.

    So sorry about your wife.
    Steve

    #7 5 months ago

    You’ve gotta do what makes YOU happy. If playing games by yourself at home is what brings you joy- go for it. Everyone enjoys this hobby in different way.

    #8 5 months ago

    Very sorry to hear about the loss of your wife, seems like you are adjusting, which is good. Also good is to think about things like this every once in a while. Putting yourself in your son’s and your friends’ shoes, they probably see you home a lot and dealing with the machines and think “he should get out more, meet some people”. They are well-meaning - and they’re probably right to some extent - but you have to do that on your own schedule

    I have met some great friends through the hobby but I almost never get to see them, as I don’t play in leagues, despite having been invited several times. I just don’t have that much free time. I have 2 jobs, a young family, and sing and play in a band once a week. That’s taking up all my free time.

    I get the introvert comment too - I am one as well. this seems like a hobby with a fairly high percentage of introverts. But there’s nothing wrong with stretching out a bit

    #9 5 months ago

    Live your life on your terms brother,your happy playing against the machine.I like meeting people and talking pinball but its from loving the game that makes it possible.

    #10 5 months ago

    Sorry to hear about your wife.

    I disagree with your son. His statement implies that pinball is essentially preventing you from having a life which, from your description, isn’t true. Like almost any hobby you can enjoy pinball by yourself or with others. Other than team sports, most things are really individual anyway. I’m sure the advice you receive is well intentioned but “don’t be too secluded” seems insulting. I would say as long as you don’t deliberately seclude yourself there’s absolutely nothing wrong with liking to stay home. People see my basement and wonder why I ever leave the house ...

    Do what feels right for you. Thank your son for his concern, but pinball sure doesn’t seem to be a problem here.

    I think phat_jay got it exactly right.

    #11 5 months ago

    People often confuse being alone with loneliness. Your friends and son mean well, but you must follow your own path.

    If you work mostly from home, and it is practical, try doing some of your work where you might meet people. Coffee shops can be good for this.

    Or you could open a barcade.

    #12 5 months ago

    we are all old men, we have all learned a thing or two over our lives

    you know best how to handle your life
    and you know if you want, pinside has more advice than anyone can possibly handle :p

    you seem to be ontop of things, take care

    #13 5 months ago

    You're not alone in these thoughts and I can only imagine how hard it would be to lose my wife.

    I try to strike a balance and enjoy life in general as well as my games.

    All things in moderation. Or so they say.

    #14 5 months ago
    Quoted from jfh:

    Sorry to hear about your wife.
    I disagree with your son. His statement implies that pinball is essentially preventing you from having a life which, from your description, isn’t true.

    Agree. I remember being a 19 year old!
    I’ve met really good people in the hobby and do engage in some social aspects of it, but mostly enjoy the peace of alone time in the garage under a playfield.
    People mean well but can mislabel introverted behavior as sadness/antisocial etc. but Ive come to realize this is not always the case.

    18
    #16 5 months ago

    Great input......I think "having a life" at 19, vs 60 are defined quite differently....hence my son's remark. Guess I was lucky to get a full sentence out of him...this one just made me think.

    Having a business that interacts with a large healthcare system, along with running a youth soccer club, 4 kids, 3 grandkids....more than enough to call a "life" I believe......

    Interacting daily is part of my job (more on analytical/ executive level) and the hours are long. There could not be a better hobby for me than pinball.

    Added "Pinball Geek" to my "A/V Geek" personal description a long time ago.

    Being introverted and ocd is just sort of who I've always been and a perfect fit for pinball. Now alone, but certainly not lonely (despise crowds actually).

    I'll take a box of lights in the comfort of my home anyday over pretending to care about mindless chatter in public gatherings. Decompression from work and life for a bit...is what it is I guess.....

    #17 5 months ago

    I think different things work for different people. We're all completely different and react to the world in different ways, and there's no right or wrong way. I think, with anything, there is a generalized accepted social norm, but that's only there because that is the type of experience that relates to *most* people. Outside of the few topics in life that I'm passionate about (pinball, music, movies, sports cars, etc.), even though I slightly lean on the extroverted side of a Myers Briggs scale, I could do without 80% of general social interaction as, not to sound callous, but I generally don't care about boring small talk, people's work lives, their kids, etc. outside of those of the couple close friends I have. I don't think there is anything wrong with retracting into something you enjoy, the world at large is stressful and anxiety inducing, having your own little world away from it all to enjoy is not a bad thing at all, even if no one else is a part of it.

    #18 5 months ago

    Thanks for posting this. Interesting reading the responses.

    Wonder why people at work would think of pinball as a lonely hobby. Pinball can be a very social hobby if you chose for it to be. Gardening or stamp collecting seems lonely but not pinball.

    #19 5 months ago

    It’s ok to reassess your life on others comments/suggestions/advice , especially very close family and friends but as others have already stated make sure it’s what YOU want for YOU. If you feel you need to make a change then make one but if not then don’t. Remember, you should NEVER change yourself to make someone else happy.

    #20 5 months ago

    Was just thinking that if the roles were reversed a parent could see a kid online all day or playing video games and say "you need to get out more" or" video games are taking up your whole life". The parents may be right and the kid needs some external motivation to get out and do other things. On the other hand, so much of the gaming today is actually interacting with others online. Multiplayer games are where some people get all the social interaction they need.

    I personally like the idea of lots of friends and going out a lot. The reality though is that I find happiness in some things that are not suited to multiple people such as working on pins or working on my tractor, farm, etc. My work requires me to interact with people all day so more an more it is family and alone time.

    #21 5 months ago

    An interesting subject I appreciate you sharing. Granted the only decision of what makes you happy is yours. Sounds like you are a great parent/provider so all that matters is what brings you joy or disconnect. I am certain we have All considered walking away from the often burden of this hobby have done so many times myself but it can also be therapeutic depending on what you wish from it. At those times I simply walk away from it for a month or so and simply shut off the lights. No harm. It is enjoyable to simply mix it up with other life challenges knowing you can always just turn the switch back on. Never feel guilty about doing something you enjoy. If this is your zen then nobody can tell you otherwise. Hopefully some day as my kids did, they will understand your passion and possibly embrace it themselves! Looking for an Avengers pin for my son/grandson as we speak. Lol

    #22 5 months ago

    If I lost my wife and was an empty nester I’d probably have 50 pins and a kick ass home theater.

    Hopefully that doesn’t happen and if does it’s far enough out for me to have grandkids.

    #23 5 months ago

    Hi there, first of all sorry to hear about your wife. Secondly, I think your work colleagues were maybe a little harsh to you. It seems to me (not through experience...thank god) that the standard 'advice' in your situation is to get out and socialise, join a class, blah, blah, blah. But what other people seem to forget it that we are all unique.

    If playing pinball by yourself makes you happy, what right do other people have to say that you shouldn't do it?

    These days, the world can seem like quite a dangerous, stressful and often insane place. If your way of escaping it all is to have a few hours of man v's pinball machine then I don't see any problem in that. Pinball has always been pure escapism for me and so what...

    Fair enough if you refused to wash or dress for weeks on end and stood around playing Pinball in your underpants and never left the house.... then yes people might have a point. But if Pinball is your thing, IMO what difference is it than people who read books, learn a foreign language on duolingo or play x-box?

    Finally, it's your life... YOURS and you can do whatever you want with it, frankly so long as you're not hurting other people it's no one else's business. Also trying too hard to make other people happy will only result in making yourself unhappy.

    #24 5 months ago
    Quoted from MK6PIN:

    Interacting daily is part of my job (more on analytical/ executive level) and the hours are long. There could not be a better hobby for me than pinball.

    Exactly. Well said. Thank you for sharing and giving me pause about my own life. Always puts things in perspective.
    Murph

    #25 5 months ago

    I collect a variety of things. What started with a hobby of pinball, somehow morphed into another collection. I have downsized the "hobby"to a smaller collection with a definite theme. It is still a hobby because I enjoy playing..but also just another thing I like to "have". I don't see this as missing out on life.

    #26 5 months ago

    I am an introvert who hates crowds too. I deal with people nonstop all day and it exhausts
    me. Like frolic said earlier it is a battle to make myself go out to shows, concerts, etc. And every time i go out I'm glad I did. But then the next time rolls around and it is the same battle again.

    #27 5 months ago

    Kids
    Life isn’t other people; if you get kicks doing pinball, why not.

    #28 5 months ago

    I am not an introvert. My Mom once asked me if when someone else was talking was I listening or just waiting for my chance to talk? I admittedly do the latter. I read Pinside posts thinking of something witty I can post in response. I've joked with other people in line while I'm waiting at a store or restaurant. I used to get together socially with friends who also had sporty cars (but they all grew up and drive SUVs now). I enjoy socializing (more than actually playing his nice collection of pins) at Rick's game parties when invited.

    When I met my wife she was vacationing with her best friend (later to be her maid of honor) and regularly socialized with a group of friends with whom she worked. But over time her friends had children and their activities now revolve mainly around family. And she changed jobs and lost touch with her old group. She does not see any of her current coworkers socially. For the last twenty years her only contact with her own family is picking a gift basket out of a catalog and having it sent to her older brother in New Mexico for Christmas, despite her mother and other brothers and their families living here in Illinois.

    My Dad died six years ago and my Mom died last year. My sister and her kids live in Colorado and Montana. I occasionally see a couple of my car buddies when I hang out at their garages, but they never come over to my house. My wife doesn't play pinball, so I'm the only one who ever plays my games. At least I have my German shepherd dog and my guitars and my cars and my pins. I don't have much of a life, but it's not because I have too many pinballs.

    #29 5 months ago

    Different strokes for different folks. Do what you like. You earned it.

    #30 5 months ago
    Quoted from MK6PIN:

    Great input......I think "having a life" at 19, vs 60 are defined quite differently....hence my son's remark. Guess I was lucky to get a full sentence out of him...

    I can relate, my son is 18, you are lucky to get a full sentence out of kids these days. Lots of 1 word answers.

    I enjoy playing pinball, but also like the repair part. Nothing like picking up a dumpster and getting it running again.

    #31 5 months ago

    I don’t know you, probably none of us here knows you.

    Your son knows you.

    Probably should be having this conversation with your son and not fellow pinheads.

    #32 5 months ago

    Sounds like your son doesn't want you to be without a female companion to spend the rest of your years with.....probably hard for him to say that directly!

    #33 5 months ago

    Pinball is a great hobby imo. You can spend time yourself tinkering on games or playing them. You can share them with others, play tournaments, or just play with others with a few beers. I lost my wife back in 2011 and pinball has been a nice escape. I don't have a lot of free time and pinball is nice where I can play for 5 minutes or work on them late at night when kids are in bed. A 19 year old full of energy and just getting out in the world may not understand all that. Things are different for 45+ years olds that been there and done that and just want some down time.

    #34 5 months ago

    People mean well when they give advice like this, but they’re looking at it from their perspective. Don’t force yourself to do things you don’t take comfort or pleasure in. At our ages, we know what we like at this point & there should be no shame in being who we are. I’m somewhat of an an “introverted-extrovert”. I have no problem talking to people and being social if the parameters are “in my zone” ...but I hate large crowds & I don’t drink, so I really hate going to bars, concerts, big crowded loud events. So I don’t do those things. No reason to get stressed and anxious because other people think I should be doing those things. Even being social with people I like can drain me & I need to “recover”. For a long time I thought there was something wrong with me - even my mom gave me shit for not “going out” when I was a teen. Once I accepted myself & didn’t let other people attempt to define me, I’ve felt so much better & my life experience has been richer. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything, because I concentrate on the aspects of life I DO enjoy.

    You do you!

    #35 5 months ago

    The phrase "have a life" is subjective. I'm almost 40. I don't want the kind of life that's always going out, going shopping, eateries, and/or socializing daily. I prefer the staying in, reading/learning, playing my machines here and there, and going out once in a while to enjoy hobbies that I love with others.

    I love my life. Yours sounds similar to mine. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love the occasional adventure for a new pin. I love to hang out with people who also love pins and play them together. I also bowl.... man do I love bowling too.

    But I also love staying home so much. Sleeping in. Being on a laptop for several hours. Petting my dog. Enjoying myself and my own company. It's so peaceful, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

    I'm married, but damn can she sleep. She also likes to go out a lot with her friends and that's fine. More time with myself.

    #36 5 months ago

    I’m a fan of the statement “whatever makes you happy”, but I’m also a firm believer in balance.

    Maybe give a Pinball league at your local pinball bar a try? I’ve found local pinball communities to be universally cool. Mixture of ages and lifestyles with a common interest in pinball geekery.

    And if after a league you’re not feeling it, try something else. Only thing you’ve lost is a little time but gained some perspective and maybe even made your son feel a little less worried about you

    Good luck!

    #37 5 months ago
    Quoted from PoMC:

    I don’t know you, probably none of us here knows you.
    Your son knows you.
    Probably should be having this conversation with your son and not fellow pinheads.

    Thread's intent was simply to share with others in the hobby (as most on here are) an interesting take on "life/ pinball" perspective from my Son. I've enjoyed reading these responses.

    17
    #38 5 months ago

    Tell your son. You enjoy them. They bring you happiness. And they didn't cost you a dime. They came out of his inheritance.

    LTG : )

    #39 5 months ago

    19 year olds have it ALL figured out
    You have plenty on your plate, a healthy sense of self awareness and introspection. Keep doing you, buddy.

    #40 5 months ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Tell your son. You enjoy them. They bring you happiness. And they didn't cost you a dime. They came out of his inheritance.
    LTG : )

    LOL!!!! Thanks for the laugh Lloyd!!!

    #41 5 months ago
    Quoted from AUKraut:

    Sounds like your son doesn't want you to be without a female companion to spend the rest of your years with.....probably hard for him to say that directly!

    Suspect he's curious for sure. At his point in life....probably obsessed w being part of a group or getting a girlfriend. So my "life" doesn't make sense to him.

    Those will be the conversations I'll have with him (and his sisters), not Pinside, if that ever happens.

    I just found the "too many pins = no life" analogy something that would be interesting to throw out to the group....

    #42 5 months ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Tell your son. You enjoy them. They bring you happiness. And they didn't cost you a dime. They came out of his inheritance.
    LTG : )

    Lloyd always has wisdom and perspective.....too funny!!!

    #43 5 months ago

    After I lost my wife I lost interest in everything. Depression is real, and it's paralyzing. Once I broke free it was time to see if I still had interest in pinball and if not sell off the load of em. I had my FH partially restored and while that was going on I bought TH. My love for pinball was reignited. I also bought a TAF project pin.
    My only advice:
    1.) ONLY work on your machines when the kid/s aren't around or sleeping. Devote the rest of your time to him/them.
    2.) The world has turned into an angry intolerant pile of dog shit. Your hobby keeps you away from having to deal with the nonsense
    3.) Don't obsess over a pinball machine that's down. Keep your focus on the things that "truly" matter in life.

    #44 5 months ago

    Anyone in retail/service has a different view of socializing especially after dealing with the masses for 40 years or more...

    I hate the masses, but I love people!

    Very difficult situation.

    I absolutely love my home and games. It's an oasis of calm at the end of each day.

    #45 5 months ago
    Quoted from pinballinreno:

    Anyone in retail/service has a different view of socializing especially after dealing with the masses for 40 years or more...
    I hate the masses, but I love people!
    Very difficult situation.
    I absolutely love my home and games. It's an oasis of calm at the end of each day.

    Pretty much my take on things....I think Greg nailed the introvert aspect...I can talk to anyone, just not peeling back the layers. Pinball in my gameroom provides the recluse required.

    Added 166 days ago:

    "recluse" = no, insert - "peace"....odd word choices in this post....

    #46 5 months ago

    @clellison

    "2.) The world has turned into an angry intolerant pile of dog shit. Your hobby keeps you away from having to deal with the nonsense"

    100% correct... The whole idea of Pinball and/or a games room is that it should be an escape from reality. IMO the more you can shut off the 'real world' the more fun you'll have.... Faraday cage anyone...!

    @pinballinreno

    "I absolutely love my home and games. It's an oasis of calm at the end of each day."

    Spot on... Turn off the TV, ignore the news, ditch the social media. End the cycle of fear and guilt they perpetuate. Play pinball. It's a great antidote to the pitfalls of our (so called) modern/enlightened society.

    #47 5 months ago

    You said it perfectly OP. Although home based pinball is a solitary thing without pinball gatherings, the opportunites it brings up through friends in the hobby is worth its weight in gold.

    Good thing you are on the other side of the country. I'd be bugging you to hang out.

    #48 5 months ago

    Pinball can be an excuse to get out as well. Put your initials up on some local or not so local pins and have a meal out.

    FPF show is in Orlando next month. Go have fun, play in the big tourney and rub elbows with the greats, play some pins you never get to see, chat with enthusiasts in line while waiting to play the newest pin, visit some sights while there, maybe bring a game and meet the other bingers during setup, etc.

    In my annual travels to different shows, I have always enjoyed it.

    #49 5 months ago

    You should tell him the machines allow up to four players and ask him to join you.

    Pinball actually makes me socialize MORE. I could easily buy a console and play games in my basement and never see another human being. I can also play all my games at home. But instead, I go to league or to hang out at the pinball bar. Or occasionally, have people over to play!

    I see no problem here, you’re as social as you want.

    #50 5 months ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    You should tell him the machines allow up to four players and ask him to join you.
    Pinball actually makes me socialize MORE. I could easily buy a console and play games in my basement and never see another human being. I can also play all my games at home. But instead, I go to league or to hang out at the pinball bar. Or occasionally, have people over to play!
    I see no problem here, you’re as social as you want.

    We actually hit a few games of FGY after chatting a bit. It was a reflective moment for me....all light-hearted...

    I'm ok w just being me...my days of trying to impress others left a long time ago (not sure I've ever done that consistently.... )

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