The New A/S/L


I lost my job a year ago today. No fear: I’ve been reemployed since September 2nd. As a fortuitious coincidence, the week before I went from being gainfully employed to being gainfully desperately looking for work, I bought an Xbox One and two games: Battlefield 4 and Titanfall. As much as I wanted to love Titanfall — where you control really cool mecha and stomp your enemies from the map — I actually wound up playing a hell of a lot more Battlefield 4, which is, for me, anyway, one of the more challenging shooters out there.

Battlefield4_myview2 Sunday night I was playing on Pearl Market, which, if you’ve ever played BF4’s expansions, you know as a chaotic map of narrow alleys and wide streets, steep stairways and windows overlooking the field of combat, and roofs towering over all. In game death is all around you, and this round, sadly, we were losing — and it was not remotely close. Still, everyone on my squad was using their microphones, and we were coordinating quite well.

And then this guy joined. And instead of, y’know, “There’s a dude crouched on that ledge” or “Let’s push on objective A” or even “THEY’RE EVERYWHERE WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE” …

… he starts with, “What’s your name? Where are you from?” and then the next thing I know, his grandfather’s on the microphone explaining how they just got broadband internet in his remote Alaska village and he’s paying $300 goddamn bucks a month for it and I’m just staring eyes wide as I try to slay our opposition because, dammit, I love this map, and very few servers have it on rotation anymore, and what the hell is this?

It’s the new age/sex/location. That’s clearly what it is. Which for you young whippersnappers, is what you used to type into an AOL chatroom. It was the text-version of today’s Tinder.