Geek Hang-over

"So if you're wondering what separates a hobby from psychosis, the answer is about 600 bucks." -- Lore Sjöberg

I'm supposed to be a grown up, according to my driver's license. The mirror shows me gray hair. I have responsibilities like work and kids and a house that simply refuses to keep itself clean. But in one respect, I'm no more mature than a middle-schooler. Given even a little time to myself, I'll indulge my love of my various pastimes with abandon. Next thing I know I've overdone it.

It's one thing when you're a kid on summer vacation. You can bounce up and down the level trying to get it just right for just as long as you keep your eyes open. You get no interruptions except whatever social minimums you feel you have to maintain, the house rules, and your Mom insisting on you being the one to take out the garbage. When you're a grown-up with a mortgage and responsibility, finding a balance point where you can keep your life in order on one hand and still scratch your itch for your favorite games with the other is a delicate dilemma.

It's a common story. Think of a Friday night/Saturday morning. It's at that point where it's so late the distinction is just semantics. The kids are all off practicing their own strange hobby -- a social life. I'm in my living room surrounded by toolboxes, my whole Dremel setup and my sewing machine, working on some armor.

An acrid tang underlays my air freshener from the acrylic parts I'm laminating onto the sword armature in the corner and the pile of shavings and worn-off cutter blade bits swept together on the hearth. A pair of freshly-dyed leather gloves and Sharpie ink from the design sketches scattered all over the place add their own pungency.

A wifebeater that I had been wearing when I cast the mould bases for the gorget and pauldrons is puddled on some newspaper by my feet, soaked with water and drying plaster. I'm still in the costume pants and boots that I'd finished earlier, but on top I'm wearing my Megatokyo t-shirt with three partially-finished parts of the left shoulder assembly strapped on over it. I need it all to settle and make sure nothing folds or drifts or pinches anything interesting when they warm up during wear.

All the normal accoutrements of the living room have been pressed into some service. Part of the sheath/holster assembly is clamped to the mantle so the edges of the layers of leather dry straight. It's being watched carefully by the row of capsule figures the girls keep up there.

In the small clear space on my coffee-table, I've got five different types of pliers and two kinds of wire-cutters (all of which are necessary) scattered among three Pokémon cereal bowls with different sizes of jump rings and a tackle box full of different sizes of washers and other jewelry findings. I'm bending a complicated wire part on a jig for a complicated leather and maille gauntlet. I don't remember going to bed.

The next morning I was pulled awake by the shrieking of the alarm clock and the sting of catching my bandaged fingertips on the nap of my comforter. I lay there for a muzzy-headed second and it all washed over me in a queasy wave. I levered myself into a slump on the edge of my bed and just sat there with my head in my hands and thought, "Oh my Gawd. I really am a heinous geek."

I can hear you chuckling to yourself and thinking, "Oh man. She really is bad off. But I'm fine."

I doubt it. Be honest with yourself. How many mornings have you trudged into the office blinking blearily after a night of kicking sparkle bunnies in Azeroth or blowing your buddies to tattered stains from atop that little floating platform in Epitaph?

You'd think we could figure out some good strategies for dealing with this. This is far from a new problem. I remember a conversation back in '94 (or was it '95?) with my ex at some stupid hour of night. I patiently explained that yes, the Doge of Venice is a calculating bastard and it's too bad he's got your whole caravan of salt blockaded there. But you know as well as I do it'll be dawn before you oust him with the way the Prince of Naples hates you; he's still in a snit over those trading rights you "appropriated" in last night's all-nighter. And it's Tuesday -- you've got to be at work early tomorrow. He went to bed with a sigh.

I wasn't mad. Mrs. Pot was calling Mr. Kettle black here. I don't even want to try to count how many times my own Resist Pixels saving throw failed miserably when I had Kilrathi to kill and I knew the kids wouldn't be up until at least 6:30 in the morning.

And with the recent resurgence of the RTS genre and the heavily anticipated Starcraft II, I expect to hear a growing chorus of groans from frustrated wives and bosses. I can't even estimate how many hours were spent on the first version in my house between me and the boys. And it's not announced, but I bet we're about due for another installment of that turn-based time vampire Civilization.

I can hear it now. Yeah. You're fine. You can quit anytime. One more turn? Just one, huh? I'm going to bed. I think we all know how that one goes.


Jonman wrote:

As for staying up until the wee hours, I have learnt the lesson. I'm no good for anything the following day if I don't get my beauty kip. It's naught but a wee shred of self-control, but it's enough.

Yeah, I also definitely need my sleep. Unless I can sleep in the next morning, I rarely ever game past 10PM or so.

Alcohol helps ensure a timely bedtime as well.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

I blame the west coast L4Ders who think it's funny to keep east coasters up until 3 in the morning.

Zzzzzzzzzzz... Huh?! Oh yeah, this.

It's been a long while since a game has captivated me for any serious length of time. I completed Trine in one hour chunks because I just got bored after awhile, no real reason, I didn't stop having fun with the game I just lose interest.

It's gotten worse as I've gotten older, I just don't seem to have the staying power I used too. My friends will come over and try and suck me into gaming for 8 hours but I can't really do it, the only thing that seems to hold my interest anymore is Rock Band..

garion333 wrote:

You don't have time, you make it.

Right at three years here, and surprisingly this is my first yoink. But hey, you've come up with a wonderfully succinct summary of one of the greatest truths of adult life.