Thursday, May 07, 2020

Social Distancing Journal: Week 6 (April 20-April 26, 2020)

If I didn’t make a morbid but sarcastic joke in a previous entry about this journal functioning as proof of life, it was one I considered making. If I did, I suppose that failing to keep up with posting entries in a timely manner for weeks six and seven might not be the greatest thing to do. I don’t think anyone who might read this believed I succumbed or anything, but I recognize that if I’m going to commit to weekly documentation of my thoughts, activities, and media consumption, I need to try to be consistent. My reason for not writing new entries in a timely manner is not an exceptional one. Simply put, free time has been at a premium, and if I haven’t been able to fit this in on my off days, time and will have been in short supply. 

In an ironic twist a la The Twilight Zone, I have gone from being a high capacity viewer of films, television shows, and sports in normal times to someone who has reduced consumption of those things by a massive amount while being home nearly 24/7. Obviously I’m watching fewer sports--OK, zero sports--because games aren’t being played, but I wasn’t starving for the NFL draft and haven’t been turning to airings of classic competitions. Movie theaters aren’t open, so that rules out one place to see them. Still, I have more than enough films on hand, whether with physical media or streaming options, that access is not an issue. I have squeezed in some TV shows a little more regularly, in part because they are less of a time commitment.

I haven’t lost interest in movies or sports. Maybe what’s missing is the urgency. Without a slate of new releases that will leave theaters before long, there’s no rush to watch anything in particular. Without scheduled games, why bother getting agitated that they aren’t there? Am I living more in the moment? I think there’s some truth to that, even if it isn’t the whole story.


Molasses cookies - Photo by Mark Pfeiffer
If my television is getting a break, then what am I doing to pass the small window of free time I have? Cooking--baking in particular--has been a good way of stepping away from a glowing screen and being present in the task at hand. This week I made molasses cookies

Week six of social distancing also marks when precious spare hours start to be devoured by the Nintendo Switch. The preorder bundle I managed to snag arrived, and I can tell you that video games have been an enjoyable way of unwinding after some particularly long work days. I began with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and was amazed at the vastness of the digital world the game creates. I also had to log some time behind the wheel for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which was also the only Switch game I’d played before buying one. Then Animal Crossing: New Horizons was delivered two days after the console. 

I wasn’t really sure what the seemingly hottest game of this social distancing time was, but I knew friends were enthusiastic about it. I don’t know if I can explain it all that well other than to say you help build up and tend to your own island, but I can certainly see how this game can fuel obsessive playing. This week I didn’t get all that far in developing my island, but the laid-back nature of it underlined with the need to perform tasks to unlock more modifications provide fiendishly clever motivations to keep hanging out in this world to discover more and tailor it to one’s liking. 


Here’s where the media log information would go, but as I’ve already said that my viewing has fallen off a cliff, I don’t have anything to talk about in that area. I watched zero movies this week. I can’t recall the last time a week passed with that occurring. Nothing I listened to jumps out at me to document here. Truthfully, without having written it down, I also don’t remember what might have stood out. This was not the most exciting week to talk about, but as I’m writing this in week eight, I can say that week seven gives me more to write about.

Previous Social Distancing Journal Entries:
Pre-Social Distancing

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