Yesterday, while Anne took Ryan to the airport, Nolan and I found ourselves in the living room. He sat at the desk and played Warcraft, and I sat on the couch, bored with football and contemplating some Xbox.
"Hey," I said, "let's play frisbee."
"Mmmhhhuuhhh," he said, clicking the mouse and doing whatever it is you do when you play Warcraft.
"Hey," I said, again, "Nolan!"
He turned around, still clicking his mouse. "What?"
"I have a hankerin' to play frisbee. Let's go outside and play."
"Ah shore dew. Yeehaw!"
He shook his head. "You are so weird."
Weird has become Nolan's go-to word for just about everything recently. He doesn't say it unkindly, but it's a stand-in for lame, or other expressions of mild disapproval. If I'm too friendly with someone while we're at the store, it's weird. When we watched my episode of Criminal Minds together, it was weird to see me being Floyd. When I complimented a little kid on his awesome Darth Vader costume, and when I told a mom that dressing her little kids up as Popeye and Olive Oyl was adorable, it was weird.
"Yeah," I said. "You've mentioned that."
We looked at each other. I sensed an opening.
"Come on, Nolan, we can sit here and have our backs to each other, or we can do something fun together."
I didn't say it out loud, but I thought to myself, I'm not going to be an old man and wish that I'd played more video games ...
"Augh!" he said, with mock irritation. "Why do you have to make so much sense!?"
"Because I'm weird." I said.
He gave me a look. I'm not quite sure, but I think it was the I-see-what-you-did-there look. He turned around, typed something into the chat box, laughed, and shut the game down.
"People are so stupid," he said. "I'm 8 and 1 in this match, but when I stop to talk to you and get killed, some guy on my team tells me that I'm a dipshit. And that guy was 1 and 6." He shook his head. "This is why I only like to play with my friends."
"That's what I'm talking about when I say 'don't be a dick,'" I said. "That guy would never talk to you like that if you were face to face."
"Meh, whatever. I don't care." He said. I obviously cared about it more than he did, both as a gamer and as a dad.
I walked to the closet in the entryway, and discovered that our frisbee wasn't there.
"Oh, it's still in the trunk of your car," he said.
"Augh!" I said. "Let's go get a new one."
"Don't you just want to wait until mom gets home?"
"It'll be dark by then, and I really want to play with you." It had become, as we say, a thing.
I grabbed Anne's car keys, and a few minutes later, we were in Target. I yanked a bunch of 175 gram frisbees off the rack, trying to get at a particular one near the back.
"Are you getting seven frisbees?" Nolan said.
"Nope, I'm getting this one." I handed it to him. "It glows in the dark, so we can squeeze a few more minutes out of the dusk."
He barely nodded, a generous expression of approval.
When we got home, we played in the street, long after the sun had turned the sky above us purple and its rays barely lingered, pink and gold, on the bottoms of clouds in the West. We stopped only when our depth perception couldn't pick out the softly glowing green disc with much accuracy, and the stars were starting to come out.
I woke up this morning with searing pain in my left arm and shoulder. It was joined by some pain in my right hip, and even though I'm pretty damn achey today, it's worth it. I'm not going to be an old man and wish that I'd played less frisbee with my son.