yours, tiramisu

azelf, please

One of the big changes in my life I've noticed since I stopped working is that I don't wear a watch anymore. This isn't the result of some conscious decision, but came about rather naturally since I have so few things I have to be on time for each week (therapy, soccer, maybe a hangout if I'm lucky). Time blends together, and since I do more or less the same thing everyday I'm never quite sure what day of the week it is. I feel like I'm back in 2020, quarantined in my house for an entire summer with nothing to do. Or, as my friend helpfully suggested, it's like I'm on summer vacation! Summer vacation indeed, if I had to hunt for a job and file for unemployment on a break between semesters.

One of the many ways life feels like it did in the pandemic is that I picked up Pokemon again, which I started to kill time in quarantine. I play Pearl on an emulator on my iPad, and somehow, even though I've logged more than sixty hours on the game, I still haven't beaten the Elite Four. (I'm right at the gates, but I plan on doing a lot more training before I feel ready to face them.) The snail's pace I play the game at amazes all of my friends, and I guess it's like that saying says, how you do anything is how you do everything (work included, to my detriment). The crazy thing is, I'm not even deliberately trying to go slow. I just go at my own pace, which just so happens to be very languid, it seems. As one of my favorite artists sings, ¿para qué correr si no hay apuro? Why run if there's no rush?

Another in-game quirk of mine that mirrors real life is my extreme aversion to risk. I can't stomach the possibility of losing a battle or having any of my Pokemon faint (the horror!), so I always run back to the nearest Pokemon Center to heal all my Pokemon, even when doing so is clearly a waste of time. This kind of caution serves you well in some parts of your life (well, at least I'm hoping it will), but it doesn't do you much good in-game. At worst, I feel like I'm insulating myself from (very healthy) adversity, and even if that's a silly thing to say I'm still spending twice as long as I should to beat this game.

I picked Pearl because its sister game, Diamond, was my first and only Pokemon game as a kid. Between my poor game sense and the limited time my parents actually let me play the game, I never got very far (only three or four gyms, I think), and it never occurred to me back then to look for help on the Internet. These days my experience playing the game is very different: I won't hesitate to search on Bulbapedia for a map or stats if I need help, and I try to play the game as thoroughly as possible, unafraid of doubling back to pick up an item I missed or catch a Pokemon I want (Riolu and Gible, I'm looking at you).

Being able to look for walkthroughs online has taken out some of the fun in the game. I feel like I'm more concerned with playing the game optimally now, and I don't engage my problem solving or discovery abilities nearly as much as I did when I played blindly. But playing as an adult has its perks too. I've replaced the joy of discovery with a pleasure derived from careful study and analysis. And after coding a crude Gameboy game in college, I'll never take for granted how well-made this game is. It's simply stunning, from the storyline and mechanics to the music and visuals.

I think this exact train of thoughts has come to this station before (or maybe my sense of deja vu is acting up for no reason), but it's on my mind again. Writing this wordvomit felt like trying to squeeze water out of a rock, but I'm glad I got this much out, even if it does turn out to be a rehash of an earlier post. In the meantime, I'll be trying to catch Azelf for the fifteenth time and training my team so they're all level 50 or higher.

#english #journal #life #wordvomit