Friday, March 2, 2012

Words With Strangers

I wonder what I would be doing right now if I were not writing this blog post. Playing Words With Friends, or maybe Scrabble? Checking my son's Facebook page? Reading email? Uploading photos? It's sick, I tell you, sick. And how about you--what would you be doing if you weren't reading this? Let's remember, it takes two to tango. Despite it being the greatest technological advance since the discovery of fire, I long for the days before the Internet. I can barely remember, but I know there was such a time in my life. The sad truth is that for many people, there was never such a time, and as for future generations, see photo. Anyway, it's too late for me; I am hooked.

It's ironic that this is the thing that finally got me. Over the years I have engaged in many so-called addictive behaviors and never got snagged by any of them. Even when I smoked cigarettes, I remained in control. In fact, I would quit often and for years at a time, then take it up again with gusto whenever the mood struck me, usually after a knock-down, drag-out with my rebellious teenaged son. Then he grew up and I stopped cold turkey almost six years ago and have not thought of it since. Honestly, giving them up wasn't at all difficult for me, unlike  the Internet. I have tried and failed, and tried and failed again and again. But still, I log on. How else can I know what my son, who lives in another city, is doing? And how could I see his latest music video? Certainly a mother has that right.

The awful truth is that I'm not there for my son, I'm there to play Words With Friends. I can't stop. Actually, I wouldn't want to live anymore without it; when the game is broken I am bereft, at loose ends, rudderless. And it's not even the "friends" part that's so important-- I also play Words With Friends with total strangers! Hands shaking, I have clicked "Random Opponent" more than once, even though I've got Melva and Rick and Martha and Debra going already. But then one or two of them go on vacation or their computer is on the fritz, and there I am, ready for it to be my turn and it isn't, with any of them. So I ask the computer for help. I have played against people named "zygffwjd_258753" and "shamimK" without even knowing their gender or age. Once, after playing together for several weeks, I asked one of these strangers--you can do that in the chat feature--to give me some idea: Are you male or female, young or old? There was no reply, so I ended that partnership. (What am I, an animal?)

I'm looking outside and I see that finally the sun is shining, a welcome change from yesterday's blizzard. My boots are at the door, the pool at the Y beckons. Still, just one more game, then I'll do something else, I tell myself. Suddenly an hour has passed. I'm so ashamed.


  1. For the past week with a really sporadic Internet connection where I was, my nickname turned out to be "iPad" because I kept checking to see if I could get onto WWF!! Addictive, no question, but by choice too. Gotta keep up my string of losses!!!

  2. No wonder you always beat me.....with that much practice. I find WWF more of a hassle because my computer thinks it is dangerous and makes me go thru a bunch of steps to get into it. That's right, I have a dumb phone. Scrabble on FB is better for me for another reason, the dictionary is faster than trying the words on wwf.
    I will keep trying to beat you, and I agree it is very addicting....but so again is coffee. Coffee, the love of my life. My life partner. My sweet drug of choice.

  3. I feel the same way about coffee. Marry me?