It all started in high school - prep school, to be perfectly clear. (Perhaps if I'd been living with full parental supervision things might not have been quite so out of control.)
It started out slowly - a few minutes here, a few there. But then I got good at it. Not the best in my dorm mind you, that was Claudia, but not bad either. I could go for more than 60 minutes at a stretch. Do the math: it's a lot of levels.
And of course there were the dreams. Little falling blocks, cascading indefinitely, twisting and turning until they fit and 'click,' everything falls in to place.
I'm talking about Tetris - that silly, silly game that sucked hours from my life as a sixteen year old. I like to think I've evolved. But, then again, I'm not so sure. They have different names now: Bookworm, Scramble, Bejeweled, Bamboozled. And we have different platforms: Blackberry, Facebook, iPhone. (yep - still awash in device-envy for hubby's iPhone. Sigh.) But some things haven't changed: I still find myself drawn in to those mindless, no-skills-required games that (hypothetically) never end.
Only now there's a new twist when I play: a litte, niggling part of my brain keeps questioning whether it's the best way to be spending my time. As a 16 year-old, that question never really surfaced. The only real consequences from an all-night Testris-bender was the challenge of staying awake during class.
Now it's a different story. Am I on the subway? I should be reading the newspaper. Or email. Catching up with the world and/or my own life. Am I in bed at night? I should be reading. Even crappy mysteries would be more defensible. Or (hubby would chime in here) sleeping. I don't do enough of that.
To my credit, I don't really play these games any other time. I've never been one to need that kind of distraction during the work day. (and I'm pretty sure my company blocks access to any game sites regardless.) Yet still, as I sat on the Q train yesterday, suspended over the river as the groaning MTA chugged slowly through an ice storm, I noticed I'd managed to log playing time of more than 60 minutes on my latest round of Bookworm. And a score of >100,000 points.
Sure, it's good to turn off your brain. I can't spend every moment managing, creating, running, doing, caring. But still... there must be more productive ways to unwind.
Got it. Eureka. The answer: I clearly need an iTouch. That way, when the train stalls, and my brian can't pull together yet another list, I can watch The Wire. I haven't seen it, and from all reports, it's gotta be better than Tetris. Just one more little pop for Steve Jobs' P&L. Just one more thing I can do to help the economy.
On second thought... Santa?!?