Monday, March 27, 2006

Like Summer Camp. Only Not.

My Stone Cup routine usually breaks down like this:

I go in, get a latte or some chi and then sit down and read for a bit. Sometimes I'll strike up a conversation with someone, but most of the time I keep to myself and bury my face in Dostoevsky's ravings or Shakespeare's or some other pretentious crap. At some point I ether get drowsy or my mind starts to wonder, so I give it up and bust out Ye Ol' Powerbook o' Well...Er...Power. (Yeah, that's what I named it...just now.) I either update this thing or fool around with Ableton for a bit, finish my beverage, then pack up and leave. But today, I think I'm gona try something a bit different. I think I'm going to go back to the book after this encounter with technology.

But first, a bit of my own ravings.

See, I have become the thing that so many wise and foresighted people have feared. I am a slave to technology. I spend too much time on my computer, in front of the TV, in this digital space. My will is broken. I have little shame in saying it, because...well, I guess it's just the nature of addiction. It's everywhere, and I can't get away from it. Laptops, iPods, DVDs. Fuck, I heard the words, “You can read more about it on our blog,” on NBC Nightly News. I hate that fucking word! You cannot get away from it. Having a portable computer makes it even harder. I don't read as much as I should. I hardly read before I go to bed any more. But I am checking My(PatheticAndEmo)space , Face(SlightlyLessPatheticYetEquallyEmo)Book, and at least 3 message boards. What's wrong here? When the fuck did this happen?

When I was 11, that’s when. The Fuller's down the street had a Nintendo, and I wanted one too. My parents caved in when I was 11 and got one. Oh, the fucking technology! Dad always said, and still says, that technology is a tool. They are used for work and not for play. Bullshit! I say, they're for both. Don't get me wrong. Video games worked wonders for me. I have hand-eye coordination you gota see to believe. I attribute most of my "exponential learning curve" Rhys once mentioned video games. Digital puzzles if you ask me. And best of all, I can rub it in your face when I pound you into the ground with ANY character in SF2. Yeah, anybody. I always was good at them, and I imagine I will be good at them until I grow up or run out of quarters...whichever comes first. I still feel like I am misusing it most of the time. Thanks, Dad.

The best (and worst) part about World of Warcraft/Warcrack/Warsmack/DaddyNeedsHisFix is the social element. Any game that lacks a social element is not a game, it's a puzzle. Sure, puzzles can be social, but they don’t require it. Don’t give me that shit about single-player games. They’re no fun without your friends there to cheer you on. Example: Metal Gear Solid – Jesse – Shane’s House – 1998 - ‘nuff said. The real danger of the WoW rests in your ability to be social without being social. As in, "Sorry I can't go drinking with you, Rhys. I have a scheduled raid tonight with my guild." I have friends in the game, much as I have friends from the BT-Network and in this "real world." It's weird and a bit creepy, sure, and though their bodies are absent to my senses, these are real people I’m talking about and no less worthy of my time than anyone else.

WoW is like summer camp. Everyone is drawn together in a common interest. Your world becomes compressed. With the formality of establishing common ground out of the way, you wind up in the company of certain people and you learn about each other and become friends. But everything begins with that thing you have in common. As different as you are, that one thing brings you together. That one thing is everything.

Then you are forced to go home, and spend the next 9 months looking forward to summer so you can see your friends again. That's what WoW is like. That's what Daria's NYE-E party is like. That's what Edward's is like. That's spring break trips to Magic Wok. That's Katelin and Erin coming to visit. It's Cofer passing through town. It's BT in Atlanta with Konrad.
It's people drawn together in a common interest and they are thrown together, tossed around a bit, and come out friends. For us, that one thing has long since faded to memory, but enough of it is still there to keep us together. That makes us truly blessed. That's the stuff that fascinates me and I look for it constantly. Thus the video games.

My computer, and technology in general, is meant to be a supportive crutch to make life easier. But for me, I think it's a crutch that props up my shyness most and not my work. It allows me to meet people with little risk, knowing the one thing we have in common is a mutual interest in something virtual. Honestly, I have some idea what is at risk and I think about it perhaps too much. (I imagine it has something to do with rejection. Cause for future musings or dead horse. You be the judge.) Technology is a thing that is supposed to help you, but in my case I fear I've let it hold me back. I love reading and I don’t do it nearly enough these days and I'm all about being social. That's why I joined the rowing team. That's why I did 100R. Things that bring people together and require them to work together are the things that build friendships. It's what we had and no longer it. It’s the reason I find it so hard to get my ass away from this computer and go looking for that on thing in strangers.


At 8:12 PM, Blogger orion said...

Jesus...that's some shit. But seriously, people found ways to hide before computers, don't blame it on the box. writer's hide by forming relationships with their characters. and shut-ins hide by forming relationships with their cocks.

At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And those are both winning and lifelong relationships to form, so everybody wins.

- Jesse


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