AT LARGE: Mid-lane crisis

AT LARGE: Mid-lane crisis

I'm now officially in my thirties, having achieved the ripe old age of 31. Now, before you try and tell me that I was in my thirties last year when I was a mere pup of 30, just remember how many of you wrote to me over the past few years insisting that the 21st century (or the third millennium, pick your argument) wouldn't start until 2001. If the century/millennium has to wait an extra year, so do my thirties.

And don't tell me I'm not old. I know I'm old. Know how I can tell? My parents gave me a PlayStation 2 for my birthday.

I recall throughout my childhood begging, nay pleading, for an Atari game machine so that I wouldn't be the only kid in school without one (an out-and-out lie, as few kids in my school had such gadgets and I just wanted to be part of the techno-savvy in-crowd). I never got a game machine of any variety, although I was eventually given a home computer with 16KB of RAM and a nifty Basic programming language. Started me on my current road, I shouldn't wonder . . .

Then, all of a sudden, out of the blue, after years of business shirts and "pick out a CD and tell me which one you want" for birthdays, I get a PS2. There's a cynical part of me that thinks my parents finally gave me the game machine I always wanted because they think I'm finally too old to enjoy it. A slightly more melancholy part of me thinks that it's a sort of cue that it's alright by them if I want to start my mid-life crisis now and here's something to get me started on that second childhood.

Of course, my new acquisition has also opened my eyes to the truly horrifying aspect of the PS2: do you have any idea how much the games cost? Thankfully my parents got the Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (in the limited-edition red box, much flashier than the blue box) or I'd not have anything to play on it. And even with the game I've got, there's no facility for saving games without buying an extra memory card for 70-odd bucks - no point winning a race, the machine thinks you're a beginner every time you show up.

I'm glad I'm old. When I was a kid there's no way I could have afforded this gift.

Matthew JC. Powell kicks butt in a Subaru Impreza - virtually, anyway. Exchange motoring tips on

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