Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I've taken on a mild cold and went home early from work yesterday. Which is something that I didn't used to do. Instead, if I was feeling sick I would make huge efforts to be 'at' work. At some point in the last couple years I realized that 1) It's not actually that important for me to be there 2) My system gets better much faster if I make a serious effort to take it easy and 3) Sick pay. Sick pay might be the deciding factor. What a concept. Before teaching I always had to be there to get paid. If I didn't get paid, then I was in some kind of trouble in my mind. Sitting around at home being sick produces a weird, existential "what am I doing with my life" kind of feeling, and sometimes it's easier to be at work to avoid this feeling. Kind of the like the dilemma of the upcoming winter break: a month and a half off (unpaid but I collect unemployment) is a ton of time. Enough time to run out of 'things to do', get knocked unhappy, moan, get a hold of myself, plan, do, acclimate to the new schedule, get busy, and by that time school starts again and the whole cycle starts again.

Change is difficult. Which is why I like to go away as soon as the semester gets out. Being ramped up, especially as the semester climaxes, and then suddenly having nothing to put all that energy into is a weird let down. So as, dislocation and confusion pops me out of my schedule. This year, school lets out on the 18th of December and I don't leave for Wisconsin for Christmas until the 23rd. There's a little extra time, but not too much. Thus I try to regulate my emotions but controlling the situations I find myself in. It's like controlling a character in a video game. Speaking of which, I have been playing a video game pretty steadily for the last three weeks. The game machine tells me I've logged 48 hours playing the game. That's a long time to be in a fantasy world. After about three hours I begin to feel parts of my brain beginning to atrophy. Parts of my body. I successfully stop sometimes. Sometimes not.

On Sunday in the newspaper there was this article about the effects of technology on young people and their education/future. That fact that technology is addictive is not exactly news, nor is the idea that people have shorter attention spans these days. What is news is that now we have some data to prove it. For example, studies have shown that video games destroy your vocabulary and sleep patterns. I can attest both of these. Both my roommate, who has been watching me play, and I, have been having weird and terrible dreams. In one of my dreams, while talking to a real (dream) person I had 'dialogue options', choosing what to say from a list of options like I was in the game. Ugh. Anyway, I have some errands to run before I go off to work today so I'm going to go. Happy Thanksgiving. Hopefully you get to spend it with family, or if your family makes you feel weird, hopefully you get to spend it with friends. Thank you for reading.