Escapism

As noted earlier, I'm finding the current political air distressing, to put it mildly. I can barely bear to watch The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, much less what tries to pass as real news shows.

It probably doesn't help that my previous political and environmental activities have resulting in a landslide of emails crying out desperately for help, and more money than I've ever had. I finally had to relegate Care to Causes to the Spam file, probably because all the causes they led me to are also sending requests for time, money, and action.

I do continue to explore the many sources of our political and economic crisis with a friend, using Google Documents to share articles worth considering and offering comments on what we're reading. It seems like an effective way of exploring a new area, rather than just reading on my own. Unfortunately, understanding and examining the problem doesn't necessarily make me feel better, or more hopeful of actually solving it.

My normal reaction would be to simply load up the car with camping and photography gear and head out. But even the weather around here has been depressing, with constant rain, and more predicted as far out as meteorologists care to speculate.

So, instead, I've immersed myself in a new video game, Dragon Age II, one place where I am still capable — with enough effort and time — of defeating the forces of evil. I've been playing Dungeon and Dragon games — on the computer — as long as they've been out, a very, very long time. It's probably one of the few games where I can still compete with kids. Amazingly, they've evolved into a stage where the game changes as you interact with various characters. Unlike the real world, where good intentions seem meaningless, within this imaginary world your personal actions affect how other characters react to you and, to a certain extent, at least, how the game evolves.

Playing Dragon Age II does nothing to help improve the world, and the money I spent on it should probably have gone to one of those many charities or causes that give ending up in the virtual trash, but it has reduced my stress and might even help me pass the time until Friday's five-year colonoscopy. At the very least, the stress produced from being unable to defeat a virtual dragon is easier to dispel than the distress caused by Tea Partiers who seem determined to eliminate anything in our society that might help someone less fortunate than ourselves while rewarding those who already have more than they can ever consume.

Now that I'm playing the game for the third time, though, it too is beginning to lose its attraction, and I've actually started reading a book of poetry and Conrad's Lord Jim, so this vacation from blogging should be ending soon.

4 thoughts on “Escapism

  1. I’ve always wanted to play those fancy video games, but the graphics always end up making me queasy. So I’ll stick with Nethack and UnNethack for now. 🙂

    I found a book in the used book store I can recommend: Eyewitness to History edited by John Carey. It’s just what the title says, eyewitness accounts of all sorts of things, from the the siege of Jerusalem in AD 70 to a visit to Hiroshima in 1945. It’s fascinating!

    • I certainly wouldn’t allow one of my grandchildren to watch me play the game (way too much violence), but the blood and gore is so overdone that it doesn’t seem realistic enough to bother me.

      Are you sure that book won’t make me more depressed, Thomas?

      • It’s not the blood that makes me queasy, it’s something about the motion of the characters on the screen. Even the old side-scrolling games used to give me motion sickness.

        Eyewitness does have a lot of war stories in it. I could see how it might bring you down.

        One book I’m pretty sure won’t bring you down is I Met The Walrus by Jerry Levitan. It’s the true story of a 14-year-old that snuck off to meet John Lennon in 1970- and actually pulled it off. It’s just fun. 😀

What do you think?