I got a Nintendo Wii over the weekend.
But let’s head back to the wee hours of Sunday morning, with the sun just peeking over the quiet suburbia of Silver Spring, MD.
It was 5:30 am, and the air was chill.
My friend and I drove up to Best Buy, headlights roving the area for existing people in line. There were six. They had chairs, a mini-hummer, and the manner of the best breed of Washingtonian redneck — somewhat coarse, somewhat rough, but definitely overweight, sweatpants dressed, and munching on cold pizza and colder beer.
“You’re number seven!” they said.
“..Eight!” they added, after realizing that though all Asians look alike, even identical twins count as two bodies and two purchases.
And so we went up to the front door, to the back of the nascent line. I was fairly warm at that point, having still the tattered edges of the car heater clinging to my rapidly cooling skin. I smiled, looking at the rising dawn, breathing in the cool, crisp air of a Sunday morning.
The air was chill, but chill with anticipation.
By the time 8am rolled around, there were a full two score of huddled people in the line behind me. Some were prepared: newspapers to read, heavy coats, multi-layered pants and big wooly hats. Some, like me, wore only a heavy jacket. They were unprepared.
That word has special meaning now. Six hours of freezing cold will drive the icy state deep into your soul. Unprepared. My head was naked, open to the slashes of wind. My hands without cover, hiding in my pockets lest they fall off.
My feet bore only a single pair of socks — a blessing and a curse. For though they grew numb in time, the lack of feeling also served to hide the dull pain associated with standing and sitting in uncomfortable positions for hours on end.
A Best Buy employee came out at 10am, an hour before store opening, and handed out tickets. There were 45 Wii units in the store. Everyone in line at that point got one, save one person — numbered 46.
The rest of the time was spent waiting in yet more lines, grabbing the last extra set of Wii remote and nunchuck, and hurrying home.
My initial plan was to hook it in and play. What ended up happening first was a nice, blissful, warm nap.
And so, if ever I — or you — go out again in the early morning, and the air is chill, wear gloves. And a scarf. And a hat.
And, if you can, at least two dozen pairs of socks.
Feet. They’ll kill you in the end.