I’ve purchased, reviewed, inherited and been gifted so many games over the years, I have some to spare that haven’t been given the time of day. Tiny curios from my trip to Akihabara over ten years ago, Xmas gifts from well-meaning relatives, the odd RPG that sounded neat but “it was never the right time”… if I’m not able to leave the house for more than a grocery trip or an ER visit (which hopefully doesn’t have to happen), now would be the time.
I started working from home partially on Wednesday afternoon, March 11th, with my first full day from home the nextday. So in essence, it’s been about 10 days since this lockdown really started for me. It was optional at first, our office put a plan in place for our office, especially for those of us that commuted in from outside the big city. But pretty quickly, as we saw the number of community-spread infections start to rise, everybody stopped going to the office.
Today, I want to kind of break down what that means for me, and the best ways I’ve found to get around the dispiriting sensation that it’s caused. I didn’t think it would be this… unsettling.
I’m a natural introvert, but even for me, the immediate withdrawal from human contact was unsettling; I work for a fairly compact company, and if a few aren’t in for the day, it can feel pretty empty. The last day I spent in the office, less than half of the normal staff were in, and for clear reasons: they didn’t want to get sick, and they have people are home they need to protect from getting sick. But it was so weird, being there that last day, realizing that I wasn’t going to be sitting at my desk for the foreseeable future. For all the same reasons.
And don’t get me wrong, I love being home. I can spend time with my wife throughout the day, share a joke here and there while I’m working, pet the cat and stretch easily enough. I have everything I need within arm’s reach. But my daily routine is uprooted. Working from home isn’t new for me, but resetting back to that environment and mindset is… unsettling.
It’s the new normal, so we need to deal with this. For everyone, first of all, let’s stop calling it “social distancing”. Human beings are social creatures, and we have all kinds of ways of doing so now that don’t involve physical contact; the fact that you’re reading this (probably from my Facebook account) only proved that point. We shouldn’t be restricting our “being social”, but keeping from physically contacting one another in order to stop the spread of COVID-19… so “physical distancing” makes a lot more sense.
And when you do interact with someone in a physical proximity, keep a safe distance, of course. Just today, we shared supplies with a friend (from about 6 feet away), and I didn’t know how comforting it would be to see a nearby friend in person, even if hugs weren’t possible. Being in the vicinity of a friend, showing they’re OK, is a wonderful sensation.
In the meantime, connecting through phone lines, chat rooms, social media, YouTube, Skype, whatever you can access and whomever you can access will be the key to staying… human. This is a perfect time to reach out to people you haven’t spoken to in a while, or anyone you’ve meant to contact and see what they’re up to. Old college friends, childhood friends, former co-workers you always liked, anybody that’s been on your mind. That’s in additional to older relatives that would be most at risk with a disease like this; any parents or anybody with compromised immune systems, or someone with conditions that may make such a respiratory disease worse (like asthma), you should totally be reaching out to them online if you can.
Please stay in contact. Even if you don’t chat with someone often, getting a message during this trying time can make a world of difference to someone otherwise locked up at home and away from people they care about. I need to be better about it myself, but typing it here–even if you know–can hopefully help.
Stand Tall, friends. The best way to get through is together (even if physically separately).
Still stuck at home. The virus rages across the landscape, and all we have remaining are boxes of mac and cheese. And burrito stuff. And rice, and Huy Fong sriracha, and yeah. We’re actually OK.
As much as there may be to do at work, there are still in-between times. And in those in-between times, you have to find a way to keep yourself busy. With limited options for “going out”limited (beyond “DOES TARGET HAVE TOILET PAPER YET WE NEED TO GO NAO RUN RUNRUNRUNRUNRUNRU-“) , you’ve got to make your own fun.
Now then, what to actually do in situations like these…
As much as I love my 13-inch 2015 Macbook Pro, it doesn’t fit well into a small bag for quick trips or my daily commute. And if I’m honest, I don’t need the power of my Macbook Pro for most of the things I use it for, like writing articles, working on my novel, or watching the occasional YouTube video (oh who am I kidding, the occasional YouTube binge session, like streaming sumo in bed). For things like that, a more compact (and less expensive) machine can do the trick.
But I still wanted some power for a commute-able daily driver. And so, to compliment my aging-yet-lovely Macbook, I purchased my first new Windows machine in over a decade: a Microsoft Surface Go tablet. And after a few weeks of fiddling, playing, pushing and writing, I’ve developed a few thoughts about my mobile companion.
I understand that I’m not the average gamer anymore, but have evolved Pokémon-style into a curmudgeon. I don’t give a rat’s ass about how pretty a game is, how “enhanced” the tech gets, how many polygons a piece of hardware can push, any of that. Maybe I’ve aged out of the main age group of gamers… I know I’ve disconnected just enough that my finger isn’t as “on the pulse” of the industry as it used to be.
In short, that means mostly Overwatch these days, the occasional RPG (Persona 4 Golden is still a classic), a moment with one of the various classics collections (the Sega Genesis Classics version of Altered Beasts won’t play itself, y’know). But that doesn’t mean I don’t still, occasionally, enjoy a new release with all the promise that brings.
Like how I just downloaded Arcade Archives Shusse Ozumo, an arcade game previously exclusive to Japan, released in 1984, and made available to me here in the US on July 11th, 2019.
Recently, I hit the local flea market with my girlfriend looking for fun trinkets with a crisp $20 in my pocket. And we were lucky that day, since we both came away with something we had been looking for. In my girlfriend’s case, it was a snazzy new pair of jeans. And in my case, even though I was looking primarily for old video games, I ended up coming home with this:
I can’t call myself any sort of expert on the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or “North Korea”), but I’ve been keeping an eye on the news regarding them, their missile program, their economy, and other news that comes out of that country… whether it’s a documentary trip with a couple Harlem Globetrotters or Donald Trump saying he would meet with current dictator Kim Jong-Un. Everyone knows it’s a volatile situation, and needs some careful understanding of what information is already available and what’s already worked.
So I thought I might offer a few thoughts from an admitted amateur aficionado of the most recent news: another missile launched, and one that should make more news than the previous. That being, the DPRK just tested a missile without a defective flaw the level of a Chevy Pinto.