Saturday, February 2, 2013

Laser Cats

We can't all be Barney Stinson and incorporate laser tag into our regularly scheduled programming. Once in a blue moon, however, it becomes possible and we find ourselves taking full advantage of our laserly offerings. Such was the case last weekend at the birthday soiree of one Madam AS, who decided around this time last year that laser tag would be included in her next birthday celebration. So 2013 came, the year of laser tag.

It's difficult to find a place for laser tag in the five boroughs because usually one needs a rather large, dark space in which people can run around delightfully like fools. One such place exists, however, in Long Island City, Queens. Indoor Extreme Sports is definitely sketchy, but if you go in with the right mindset, it's definitely fun. Smelling like old carpet and AstroTurf (the green stuff lines benches in the hallway), IES is home to Arena Lasertag, which features modified paintball guns acting as laser guns. This means the guns emit a powerful, ear-twisting pop when the trigger is pulled. Each game runs about three minutes, so you and your large party take turns firing at each other from behind enormous inflatable structures shaped like giant pills, Xs, pyramids, cylinders, and more. Really, it's like being in a child's bounce house with guns. The large group of us certainly acted accordingly when our guns were off being recharged, jamming to tunes from someone's iPhone (they plug in your music so you can have a personalized laser tag experience) and jumping on apparatus after apparatus. MV even successful launched herself on top of one of the large pill structures, which was about as tall as she was.

Planning sneak attacks and shouting "FREEDOM!!!!," our group charged at one another with gusto, unleashing our inner 10 year-olds on a mission. A disco light twirled green and red dots around us from above, twinkling our eyes as we blasted one another with lasers. If you're in the right spirit, it's utterly hilarious. I found myself sneak attacked several times (I am not so good at strategy games), one time falling over and knocking a giant inflatable X to the ground. I couldn't stop laughing.

What's nice about birthdays is that people will come out and do whatever you want with you, whether or not they really want to, because they love you. That love translates into a thrilling spirit and openness to enjoy pretty much anything, as weird or unusual as it might seem (one year I took a bunch of people to a burlesque show, it was definitely a trip). I will admit, I was certainly skeptical about laser tag, but I went along for the ride because AS is one of my main homeskillets. But I had a great time! I found myself running around and laughing like I hadn't in years, and it was a great stress relief.

Really, life is short and you might as well do tons of stuff you've never done on varying degrees of the ridiculous scale. New York can get so intense and wrap itself around you in a chokehold if you don't just shake it off and laugh at it every once in a while. This especially happens to me in the winter when all I want to do is snuggle in my bed. For sanity's sake, though, you have to shake off those feelings and see the sun. Granted, the sun is different to many people--it could be a walk in the park, it could be a trip to Bloomingdale's, it could be a nice jaunt through a bookstore. Or, if you happen to be so inclined, it could also be a rousing game of laser tag. Just be careful of those sneak attacks!