Meanwhile, at the Marvin's league gathering, bunny_hugger overheard a potentially devastating bit of news. The champion of the Lansing league, and the top-ranked player in Michigan, was talking about his plans for the near future and he mentioned that he was planning to stop attending the pinball league in Flint, and maybe the one in Grand Rapids. This is stunning to us; he's participated in every one of Michigan's leagues, and goes to, as far as we can determine, every tournament in the state and a good number in the Atlanta area, as well as some others. Part of what makes him the state's top-ranked player is that he is in every league; even if he doesn't win one, he earns credit for participating and that adds up. (The way the International Flipper Pinball Association counts things, participating, even if you do lousy, is better for your rankings than not.)
bunny_hugger asked why he was doing such an impossible thing and he explained, ``I have a life now.'' And we've seen evidence of that life: he's brought kids with him to the Brighton or Marvin's leagues some, and he's been spending more time with a woman we take to be a pretty serious interest. It's hard to think of him leaving pinball, or fading out of pinball, although the pattern is normal enough. And bunny_hugger remembered afterwards that he'd said, near the start of Lansing's season a couple months back, that 2014 was the year he was going all-out for pinball ratings and then he was going to ease up.
The natural fear was, would he leave the Lansing league? That'd hurt both because we'd see so much less of him and because his presence in the Lansing league boosts our ratings (because it's a league that attracts players like him). He reassured bunny_hugger by pointing out Lansing is twenty minutes from his home. She was a bit disappointed he didn't say something like Lansing was his favorite league, although I found that a pretty reassuring statement: sentiment can change, or even be lied about; but the hard fact of convenience is pretty sound. So for the time being we don't have to worry about him leaving our social circle ... unless something even more radical happens.
Trivia: A proclamation made by Charles II on 23 December 1675, and issued the 29th, banned coffeehouses from London effective 10 January 1676. Stated reasons included the coffeehouses' need for continuous open flame and desire to protect citizens from their follies; unstated were that coffeehouses offered potentially seditious gatherings. Source: The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular Drug, Bennett Alan Weinberg, Bonnie K Bealer.
Currently Reading: Squaring The Circle: The War Between Hobbes and Wallis, Douglas M Jesseph.