Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Virtual Arnold Ziffle.

Last fall my sister talked me in to playing Farmville on Facebook. “That’s stupid,” I said. “I’m not wasting my time on that nonsense.”

Oh, just go create a little farm so you can send me gifts, she says.

Eight months later and I’m level 36; I’ve got a plantation-sized farm with four cow sheds, one super-size chicken coop, a horse barn, a nursery barn (for all my calves and foals,) one manor house, two cottages, a castle, a giant windmill, a greenhouse, a school, a library, a general store, an open-air market, a replica of Stonehenge, countless fruit-bearing trees, and a boatload of livestock (cows, chickens, sheep, goats, reindeer, llamas, pigs, turkeys, ducks, geese, swans, cats, and even penguins.)

It is a monumental waste of time. To be fair, though, I think that I can prove that I rule Farmville and Farmville does not rule me because I plant my crops in accordance with my schedule. I choose what to plant based upon when I know I’ll be available to harvest. I wasted more than a few Farmville coins on withered crops before I began to time my harvests with my schedule. This, you see, is what you call ‘effective time management.’

I was supposed to write a non-fiction piece on Shirley Jackson for my husband’s magazine project. I did the research, wrote notes, and worked up the general structure of the thing in my head. I even have an opening paragraph. It’s not done, though, because time that would have been better spent on this was frittered away on my stupid virtual farm. When I was not tending to my virtual fish, that is.

About a month ago my sister announced that Farmville was eating up too much of her time. “I’m going to sell everything and quit,” she said. Isn’t that just typical? Someone gets you hooked on something, then turns around and stops doing it themselves. This must be what an addict feels like when all their friends start to sign up for rehab.

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