It's just me and my dog on the couch. Open magazines and half-wilted carnations sit behind me. My laptop rests on my legs. The room vaguely smells like pasta. I'm desperately trying to come up with something to write, because it's my turn to go on Friday and I don't want to make Elysium whip out an Employee Profile on my behalf. I've come up with about six ideas, and written two or three pages each, and discarded them all because they weren't going anywhere. For some reason, I expect this one will.
My puppy, Boötes, eyes me closely. When she realizes I'm not going to give her food, she rolls her eyes and goes back to sleep.
I peer over at the video game stack. Still unopened is a pile of four or five games, shrinkwrap ever so slightly manhandled, with the last shreds of their paper price tags clinging to the plastic. These games I haven't played, have been meaning to play, want desperately to play, and yet, can't bring myself to take out of their wrappers. I blame it on gamer's block.
Uh-oh. Is it possible to have writer's block and gamer's block at the same time? Worse, could they stem from the same source? Is there some sort of generic Block™ from which all subsequent genre-specific blocks derive? Could it work like allergies, where having one makes you more susceptible to having another? Oh no. Am I going to get cook's block? Or coffee-drinker's block? Scuba diver's block? Olympic medalist's block?
Oh, how miserable I have now made myself, contemplating all the different varieties of mental impotence I could conceivably and unwittingly contract. And now I worry that at any moment, I will discover some new horrific variety lurking behind my couch cushions, waiting for the perfect opportunity to jump up, surprise me with a digital camera and a big grin, and shout, "Congratulations! You've got llama farmer's block!"
The dog emits a muffled bark/burp in her sleep. She must be dreaming of a particularly intense squirrel chase. Lucky bitch.
I stare back at the computer screen. I'm on Document 7, Word tells me. You have failed seven times, Obi-Wan Goodjer. You suck seven times over. Seven's a lucky number, but guess what, Katerin? It is so not yours.
Frustrated, I look at my list of "Article Topics When You Are Stuck". Sexy Sprites: The Hot or Not Phenomenon hits MMORPGS. How to Make A Good Puzzle. Why I Love Coliseum Minigames. When Nintendogs Attack!
Instead of feeling inspired, I suddenly wish I had decided to go to graduate school, where I could have invented a time machine to go back to when I wrote this stupid list and kick myself in the shin. I sigh. Screw writing. Dad was right. I should have been a dentist.
I close my laptop and pace around the tiny apartment, like a ravenous tiger in too small of a cage. I glare at the unopened games, sitting innocuously by the PS2. This is all your fault, I say using telepathic human-to-electronics powers. If you hadn't given me gamer's block, I wouldn't have writer's block right now. I should take you back to the store. That would show you little bastards.
Sure, Katerin, they reply. We know you lost the receipts.
I slump back on the couch, opening the laptop back up. Now what? I'm on Document 7, and I've wasted all this time, and Elysium's going to kill me because I broke the streak, and I still have so much work to do before the week is out, and this is the only time I had available to write this piece, the only time that fit my schedule this week, and I won't have time to write it later or ever and--
The plastic hook, where we hang the dog's leash, falls off the wall, taking a sizable chunk of paint and drywall with it. My dog leaps up as if she were back in 'Nam, being shot at by Commie squirrels.
"Sorry, Boötes. It's just the hook. It fell down," I offer lamely.
She glares at me, at the hook, and back at me. Gingerly, in that way puppies have that sometimes makes them act like infirm elderly ladies, she steps across the couch cushions to sit primly next to my thigh. And I swear to God this part is true, she smacks the top of my laptop down with her paw, closing it. She then looks up at me, and tilts her head. Well, you silly human? Are you going to take me out or what? Oh, owner and emergency foodstuff, what possible reason could you have for hesitating to walk me?
"Okay, Boötes," I mumble. "We can go out." I pick up the leash. "I wasn't really doing anything anyway."