“Is this when you usually get home on Tuesdays?” Mom asked when I came in the door. “I was getting worried. When does computer club end?”
I checked my watch. It was almost five. Seriously? I had no idea it had gotten this late.
“It’s supposed to be over at four. No, four-fifteen. I just rode home slow,” I unclipped my bike helmet and tossed it in with all the others in the old laundry basket in the mud room.
“Okay,” Mom said as I followed her into the house. I wasn’t in trouble. Mom worried a lot, but she didn’t get after me unless I was really, really late.
“We had a great day at computer club today!” I said.
“What did you do?”
“Well, first we checked all the computers to see if they needed any updates. And then I said I wanted a better video card for my computer.” I unzipped the side pocket of my backpack and pulled out two pokemon decks, then gently took out my prize, wrapped in an old homework assignment. “We looked around in all the stuff and found one.”
I unwrapped it to show Mom. It was beautiful, all studded with tiny electronic components like some kind of miniature alien city, with gold and green computer chips, and a rectangle grid of black cooling spikes. And it was all mine.
“You know, when my brother was about your age, and he’d come home with something he wanted to install in our computer we all shouted, NO! NO! because we knew he wouldn’t be able to get it running again for a week. We only had one computer, you know, and we all needed it to do our homework.”
Only one computer? I couldn’t imagine it. We had a big family computer on the desk in the living room, Mom had a laptop, Dad had a tablet, my big brother had a netbook, and then I had the old Frankenstein that the club had helped me resurrect from the computer graveyard at school. No one used my computer but me, so if it took me a week to get this video card working, it didn’t matter.
It wasn’t going to take me a whole week, was it? I had games I wanted to try out.
“You got a new video card?” my brother came over to see. He had a huge grin on his face. “Do you think you’ll be able to play minecraft with it?”
“That’s what I’m hoping,” I said.
“Let’s go try it,” my brother said.
We charged up the stairs, leaving my backpack behind in the hall.
“BE SURE YOU UNPLUG IT FIRST!” Mom shouted after us.
“YES!” my brother and I chorused back at her. How stupid did she think we were?