Sunday, April 24, 2011

Daily Story 122 - Angry Gamer Rant

(So Roger Ebert posted yet another link to an (admittedly very well written) argument about video games, and while I respect his opinion on the subject, it still got me thinking about how so many people think video games are a waste of time, and while this is sort of in response to that, it's mostly in response to the anti-gamer attitude in general, and hopefully explains why I get so frustrated with people who say playing too many video games is the cause of psychological imbalance when for so many of us it is, in fact, the other way around.)

Say what you will about video games not being art. I can accept that you and I disagree and move on with my life. But to say that they are a waste of time, that time spent gaming is time that could have been better spent experiencing life or broadening one's horizons, is to alienate every single person who are incapable of experiencing life in that way.

You know what? Yes, I avoid it. But really, isn't that just better for everyone else in the long run? Why should I have to pretend I enjoy the kind of society that shunts everyone like me off into a corner? What point is there for me to try to conform to the societal norm? You may argue that I am simply ignorant of the similarities inherent in every single human being, but you are wrong. I am not a typical human being. I am certifiably insane. I am the kind of person who is represented as a serial killer in the vast majority of television shows. And yet, I have shed no blood, and I am more than capable of pretending to be normal. Maybe that's why nobody understands why it's so hard for me to accomplish the most basic of tasks.

I do spend most of my time in front of the computer. At this moment, I have dirty clothes strewn all over my floor. I'm behind on all my homework, I have failed to eat regular meals today, and I still have yet to accomplish a multitude of tasks that should have been completed about a month ago. However, I am not lazy. I know I should be doing these things. I feel like a failure for not having accomplished them. And still, they remain undone, because they are overwhelming to me. They are not the simple tasks that everyone takes them to be, and that is because I think too much. I think about every single solitary step that goes into each of these tasks, and it causes even the simplest of tasks to multiply into twenty separate tasks that must be done.

Take laundry, for instance. What comes naturally to most people - gather laundry, take it downstairs, put it in the machine, add detergent, start machine, wait, move to dryer, start dryer, wait, take back upstairs, fold, put away - is thoroughly analyzed and questioned, and I find myself taking every single possibility into account:

Which clothes should I wash? Will there be enough space for me to do more than one load? What if there are other people down there? Should I be ready to struggle through some basic, awkward social interactions? Does my student card have enough money to pay for laundry? Do I still have enough detergent? What if the machines are broken? What if some asshole decides to take my clothes out of the washer before the cycle's even finished? Will people be suspicious of me if I carry a huge black bag down the stairs? Why did I think a black laundry bag would be okay? How will I explain that it's just laundry and not a dead body? What if someone killed a man and the killer happens to look exactly like me? What if someone tries to start a conversation with me down in the laundry room? Why do people try to make necessary acts into social events? This is why I fucking hate the idea of dining halls. What if someone else's laundry left something in the machine that'll stain my clothes and render them unwearable again? Do I have enough space to hang all these clothes if the dryers are all taken up? Why won't these shirts fold the way I want them to?

Now, if this is what happens for a relatively simple task such as laundry, you can just imagine what it's like for something that holds a relatively large amount of uncertainty. For every added step in the process, about ten more questions are added to the mix. I would use something like getting my graduation application in order, but I'm not about to force ten pages of uncertainty and irrational fear on anybody. I'm not that cruel (plus Allie Brosh does a much better job of itand also makes it fun to read).

So if simple tasks become minor inconveniences, and minor inconveniences become enormous problems, what happens when I'm confronted with a complex issue that takes a considerate amount of thought and knowledge to confront?

I sit in my room and play video games because just trying to think about what I have to do is overwhelming and I'd rather not have my fifth emotional meltdown of the week today. I still think about it while I play, but the thoughts are filtered to a degree where they become bearable and I can find a solution without compromising my emotional well-being.

I can't see life the way you do, and that is not an attempt to be deep and poetic. That is scientific fact. Some of us need a break from reality to survive. If that makes us flawed individuals, then so be it. It's just one more thing I can bitch to my counselor about.

If you think there's something wrong with that, then maybe you should start looking at the real problem. We are real people and we live with psychological conditions that are neither good nor bad. They simply make us different. Either accept that we're at a disadvantage in today's society or find a way to help us adapt, but don't scorn our coping mechanisms unless you have a better way - and don't forget, it can't be something that works for normal people, because like I've said, we're not normal. We are three out of twenty people in the country, we look at the world from a different angle, and we are ignored or shunned for it.

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