"Young man! I said do your chore!"
A portcullis creaks in the background when you raise your head to look at me. The glint of sword-steel flashes back at me from green eyes, or maybe that's a drift of magical dust caught in your lashes, a thin waft of cannon-smoke rises from your hair.
"Mom! I'm right in the middle of ..."
The plaintive complaint trails off. A fatal hand pointing to the kitchen is the only response.
The controller thuds on the coffee table with the dull ring of shod hooves on stone. You let out a classically eloquent teenage sigh as you lever yourself off the couch cushions and stump into the kitchen with the awkward gait of someone shrugging their ill-seated armor back into place.
I am honestly sorry. I wish you wouldn't look at me like that. I'd much rather be there, too. I know that it's all part of the Mom job description, but I hate being the one who has to interrupt the adventure.
I would also much rather just draw a cool symbol on the counter, place my hand on it, and have the dishes come clean in a flash of blue light. Then I could wave my magic wand a la Merlin and have them all walk into the cupboards. I was tempted to try it rather than nag you again, but all I could find was a permanent marker and that would take forever to scrub off the counter top. It's too short to get the proper swish and flick into it, too.
I know that time works differently while you're there. The few moments you feel like you spent in Brocéliande are in fact the entire hour I gave you when you solemnly promised me you'd do the dishes without me having to ask you again. Check the clock and see. It's weird. I think it's the same effect that can make 15 minutes of homework seem like two hours, only running backwards.
What? You say Einstein had a theory and I should look it up? Cool. I'm glad to see evidence that you did your homework. But you're stalling. You need to do your chore, son.
My many years of practice at doing this to you doesn't make me like it any better when the world does it to me. I have my own worlds I venture in. I hear Barsoom is awfully nice this time of year. And who was it that dragged the family to watch Fellowship of the Ring all those times?
Gaming is like going on vacation in a lot of ways. You wait for it and get all excited reading up on it and everything. You get all your hardware and stuff together, and sometimes it can be a big fuss with driver issues or whatever.
And then it's here! The day finally comes. You unwrap the disk, slip it into the drive and wave from the bow of the ship as you spin your way off to wherever. I just got back from a trip to the Sphere. I ran around as errant protein and fragged a lot of Hunters while trying to find this guy Tommy's girlfriend for him. Tomorrow, maybe Ivalice. Or Solaris. Who knows? That's one of the great things about gaming.
But like a real-world vacation, it doesn't change anything here at home. You still have to face the same piles of dirty laundry and unpaid bills you left behind when you loaded the disk. To add insult to injury, your body didn't ignore those real hours you spent the way your mind and hands did. You're as tired as you would have been from tromping around on those reportedly quaint cobblestone streets in the real world.
I know it can be incredibly frustrating. Sometimes it even makes me angry; especially when I'm called back to face an unpleasant task. You're out there saving the damsel, then some person from Porlock shakes your shoulder hard enough to drag you back to the living room. All that real-world stuff hits you. It can feel like they chucked that bag of garbage you were supposed to have taken out already right in your face.
It sometimes takes a minute before you get all the way back (like when you ask a question at the wrong time and I accidentally answer in Japanese). I've learned to nod and stand up and put the controller down before I say anything at all. That way I have time to take a breath and choose my words so I don't bite someone's head off just out of pique.
In the end, my sympathy doesn't do much for either of us. Things have to be done and they have to be done in this world. It can't be helped. Maybe you could think of it as a quest. It's not exactly a dragon to face, but dirty dishes are about as welcome, and I'm sure even St. George spent a bit of time scrubbing his plate down at the stream while he was riding about. It's part of all the stuff you skip via fast travel.
But we can't skip past our daily grinds. So when I remind you for the third time, I'll reflect that hint of steel in your eyes back at you in my voice. And the @)%&@% dishes will get done.