Sunday, June 19, 2011

Time and Civilization

Steam says that since October, I have played 332 hours of Civilization 5.  Civ V is a PC video game in which you take the role of the leader of a country and try to dominate the world.  What the fuck is wrong with me?  332 hours is 8.3 workweeks.  If I had taken a second job at even $8 an hour and done that instead, I'd have made $2656.00.  If I had spent that time working out, I'd be ripped.  I could have been working on another degree.  Just about anything I did would be a better use of that time.

But if it weren't Civ 5, it would be Chess.  Or Bloons Tower Defense 4.  Or graphic novels.  Or movies.  I work, I parent, I do my duties, and then when I get the chance, I completely remove myself from reality.  This is standard, right?  Sort of.  I don't drink, or smoke, or do drugs, but like most people, I have a variety of pseudo-opiates to keep me distracted.  Now, what am I distracting myself from?  From thinking about a) my humiliating place in the human class system and b) mortality.  In fact, if I'm not allowed something colorful to involve myself in, these subjects are what I'll think about.  "Just think pleasant things" is not an option.

Montezuma, leader of the Aztecs, from the PC video game Civilization 5
"More bodies for the altar!"

I'm crazy (but harmless).  It's not OCD, just -- obsessive thoughts.  If I am not thoroughly exhausted when I lie down to sleep, I will think about my child dying, or my lover dying, or what will happen to them when I die, or why we have to die at all, and whether I'll wake up again, and then I will have to get back out of bed and distract myself until I'm so tired I'll just fall asleep without thinking.  On the other hand, going outside and dealing with other people leads to thinking over and over how humiliating it is to be alive, how it is to be judged every time you walk through a doorway, how awful humans are to each other, how much I am made to feel as though I don't belong.  These thought-trains are not just debilitating, they have guided the direction of my entire life.  They're the reasons I work from home and have few if any real friends.  It is to laugh.

332 hours playing a video game in 9 months.  But the other way to look at it... 332 hours of playing Civilization 5, over the course of 36 weeks, is 1.3 hours a day... do you watch an hour and twenty minutes a day of television?  Probably more than that, so don't look down on me.  Heh.

See, funny thing.  I started this blog entry to scold myself for spending so much time wasting time, and ended up pointing a finger at you.  The kick kicks in.  It's not so bad to waste time, everyone does it.  I'm sure I'll keep doing it.  But it is something to think about, right?  The choices we make form a line that leads us to the person we become.  It is all about the choices we make, even 1.3 hours a day.  I just have to start choosing more wisely.

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