When I first told people about my job situation, their response was: "You should take a vacation." It seemed absurd, to travel without a regular paycheck. But after a few weeks of frantic worrying, work that wasn't progressing, and couch-surfing in DC, it occurred to me that this was the perfect time to take a break, after all. Everyone was right, and I was wrong.
I'm writing this from Detroit on a long layover. (I also spent a long time watching two guys chat in the middle of the automated walkway, while walking backward. I took a video):
I'm heading to Arkansas, where I'll visit my mom for a week or so. Why is home more rejuvenating than anywhere? Then I'm heading to Vancouver. My friend and former Brooklyn roommate lives there, and I went to visit her in 2011. It's stupid how beautiful Vancouver is, and the air feels like crisp lettuce tastes. I will hike and do yoga and spend some time on a cool beach. I will read, and rest my brain.
One thing I won't do is play video games. So, I've been addicted to stupid computer games for as long I've had access to a computer. Our first computer, gifted to us when I was 12 or so by someone in lieu of the money they owed my parents, had a game/typing tutor on it in which words fell from the sky like bombs, ready to destroy cities, and you had to type the words to make them disappear before they hit. I don't remember what it was called, but I could type 80 words-per-minute by the time I was in high school. Computer games got better, and I like games involving puzzles, games without violence, games which never end. I wrote about my addiction to the Sims franchise once for the Prospect. I think I like the sense of order they create, or that I can create through them. Also, I go through bouts of insomnia, and there's nothing to do when you're exhausted yet sleepless except play games. I've never wanted to invest in a game console and, until three years ago, never had a TV anyway. So computer games it was.
I haven't played anything in a long time, partly because I've been busy and partly because I go through spells where it's not so much fun. (Also, I'd been playing 2048 on my phone, but I figured it out and so it became less fun.) More important, I took a trip to Singapore in the first week of May and the jet lag, weirdly, turned me into more of a morning person. I was asleep by 11 and up around 7 for most of May and June, which was unusual, and unusually productive.
Then, on Saturday night, I had my first bout of insomnia, and I downloaded Civilization V. I played it in college, but hadn't bought a new version in years. Last weekend, when all of DC vacated, I played it for probably 18 hours straight. I lost the first game, and I have no idea why. I won the second game, and played on for a long time after my win, consolidating the entire game map under Catherine the Great's rule. Then, I turned up the difficulty level, and started three games without getting to the Industrial Era. Finally, as Japan, I built a productive, isolationist little empire on a few small islands until the day Napoleon, who I'd thought was my friend, crossed my borders with a wall of military units. It wore me out. So, I'm done with that. For now.