Friday, July 22, 2011

Unpacking the Wrong Boxes, or the Right Boxes Too Soon

I've been unpacking boxes since I moved into my new apartment on Saturday, but interestingly, it wasn't until Monday that my television and DVD player were set up, and Tuesday until my computer and Nintendo were set up. If you're just tuning in to Exfanding Your Horizons, it's pretty much unthinkable that a guy so tethered to electronic entertainment such as myself could go so long without it.

There was something satisfying about getting to work early, going to bed early, and spending the rest of my time organizing and piecing together my apartment. There was a nice cycle of productivity at home and at work, and I thrive when I feel like I'm making good use of my time.

Everyone who had helped me move in had cleared out by Sunday night, leaving me all by my lonesome on Monday when it came time for dinner--leftovers, round one. Normally I'd get caught up on YouTube videos or GameCola articles over dinner, but without Internet access yet available in my new place, those options weren't available. Though it was refreshing to live an unwired life for a while, I found myself in the mood to watch something. I hooked up the TV and DVD player and sat down to a random episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, the only thing immediately accessible that I hadn't seen recently and wasn't currently watching with my fiancée.

Dinner with entertainment was a great success. I went back to packing boxes until I was tired, went to bed early, and got up the following day with plans in mind of more of the same.

Work happened as usual and I spent that evening beginning to unpack the kitchen--leftovers were running out, which meant I'd need to get ready to start cooking again (read: I needed to locate the can opener and the box with the Chef Boyardee). I'd made decent progress by the time I got hungry, but not enough to avoid having leftovers, round two (filet mignon, rice, and french fries) served in an oversized salad bowl.

This time, however, I wanted to get back to work fairly quickly, which meant I'd need something shorter than an episode of Enterprise. I had been playing Dragon Warrior IV before I moved, and it would take minimal effort to locate the game and hook up the NES. So, that's what I did: dinner and Dragon Warrior. I was at a point in the game where I could either spend my time in the casino racking up mondo coinage to trade in for the fancy shield I wanted, or I could take my time leveling up to increase my chances of survival in the unexpectedly long final dungeon of the game.

In other words, the kind of thing I could easily break from whenever I wanted to get back to work.

I don't think I got back to work.

Normally I play video games to unwind or blow off some steam, and I look forward to the rewards of gaining new exposure to something geeky I can share with others, and feeling like I've made some kind of progress. Yet this time, I wasn't particularly stressed about anything, and I was rather enjoying making so much unpacking progress around the apartment. I started up the NES just to kill some time and give me something to do while eating dinner...but I kept playing because I was having fun.

I've had this recurring problem where I get halfway through a game before deciding I'm not really fond of it, but I finish it because I've already invested so much time and effort. I've had another recurring problem related to that one where I go after all the optional material in a game just for the sake of completion.

But this time...this time, I was actually curious about that shield in the casino, and I wanted to find out without a walkthrough what it did. I enjoyed the mindless, endless card games. I didn't mind the well-spaced random battles. I wanted to see what was ahead. There was of course an element of completionism involved, but the bottom line was that I was having honest-to-goodness fun.

Honest-to-goodness fun that disrupted this idyllic little cycle of work, different work, and sleep.

I'm still generously surpassing my self-imposed requirement of unpacking one box per night until everything is sorted out, but adding in Nintendo time tends to muscle out the chances of going to bed anything earlier than "on time." I've got mixed feelings about living more like a regular person than a focused worker bee; being productive can be fun, and having fun can be productive, but I'm not sure whether I was ready to start encroaching on pure productivity for the sake of pure fun.

Either way, I'm happy, and things are coming together. I'd just better get the kitchen unpacked before I get my Internet hooked up, or else I'm never gonna find that can opener.

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