Lord knows I can lose many an hour playing an addictive strategy game like Command and Conquer. To experiment with different preferences and settings of the random map generator and watch the results display in a flash is pure joy. My mind quickly considers the possibilities for defense and looks for all important choke points. This is the world of potential fun. The possibility moment. Anticipation. Glee.
As much as I love losing myself in a game, I had a zen moment of realization yesterday afternoon. It’s possible to have just as much fun and bliss while performing simple menial tasks like taking out the trash or preparing food.
I was washing dishes in the kitchen while talking to my lovely fiancee, who can can cook like a gourmet chef. This means we can generate a significant amount of dirty dishes throughout the course of a day. It’s all for a good cause, is my motto. Brandie is an amazing self-taught chef with great instincts, and she loves using fresh, local, and organic ingredients. I’m a very lucky man. Sometimes busy washing a steady flow of dirty dishes. Each dirty dish presents a bit of a challenge and a game in its own right. Fun is to be found where you make it. However you like it.
Come to think of it, I had a similar thought a few weeks ago while watching a live band at a tiny club. Standing less than 10 feet away from the band, I enjoyed the auditory experience and the passion of the musicians doing what they loved. As I watched the keyboardist, who leaned into it and worked his instrument hard, connected somehow to the music, tapped in to the moment of making and creating, I thought that there was little difference between a musician feeling the groove and intently playing their chosen instrument, and a gamer intently working his own mouse and keyboard, full of intense awareness and anticipation, feeling out the unwinding situation and responding fluidly and without hesitation, precisely and with care.
It was a balmy Friday afternoon after a long day at work. I had taken out the trash and the recycling and was working on a sink full of dishes. Brandie was preparing a beet, carrot, and kale salad. Steak was marinading in a red wine sauce. Pandora played on shuffle. I sipped from a Twilight Ale. We chatted about music, friends, plans and this and that.
There are so many Ways to find what we seek. Mine is sometimes the Way of the gamer, sometimes the Way of the dishwasher.