June 15, 2009

Game Anyone?

Overnight these Hamptons which I inhabit have morphed into their familiar paradise. A multiplicity of greens, with tree limbs upholstered softly in fuzzy mosses. From my backyard I see fields of downy shrubs enrobed by tall golden ferns which blur into a horizon of sun light. Sights more ravishing than I can even remember.

Winds are mere playful breezes, and should it rain even the rain drops are soft and warm, a perfect percussion. Sublime. People have popped out of nowhere, and house lights blaze as they reel in the dusk of evening. Everything so inviting, welcoming.

Yet the beauty holds no contest to the inimitable perversities of my human nature, and I draw the shades.

Ensnaring my laptop I retreat to bed; and then I give in—so sweet—to the quicksand-seduction of online gambling. In particular, backgammon.

You don?t even need a friend in the world and still you?ll always get a game

The site kicks you off with 300 points. Highest stake is 200 points per game with a 40 point pot. There are many smaller pots to choose from. Here I am a shame-faced chicken and I always go for the smallest risks.

Some foes have scores up in the tens of thousands. I?m no mathematician, but at approximately 15 minutes a game, that?s a fairly macho quantity of hours, uh, ?flight time?.

The other evening, instead of accomplishing something productive, I started to play backgammon. I crashed from a high of just over 2 thousand points and tumbled almost without cessation to somewhere in the 13 hundreds.

Hours were sopped up by the half-dozen before I dragged my eyes away to take a quick read on if it was day or night. Meanwhile nothing else got done. I?d not showered, nor left the house.

Then it was dawn and I was having trouble clearly seeing the computer screen. I could hardly even glide my now sticky stubborn mouse. Opponents wrote me glib jibes telling me I was an ?idiot? for my molasses-slow moves. I knew I should stop, but I couldn?t. It took falling asleep for me to quit the game.

Yesterday I logged on to find out I had in fact made it back up to just under 16 hundred. The only thing I?d known for sure was that I could no longer see. Curiously this had no impact on my skill level.

Whatever. I fell in lock-step with my addiction. Played for hours. Until I was interrupted by the familiar noise of those blasted birds. Dawn again! The sun is rising on another glorious day. I know I should go engage. Can?t give in so slavishly to my socio-agoraphobic urges.

Except that I can. Easily I conjure a vivid scape of the highway and the back roads all clogged, bumper to bumper. I shudder and snuggle tighter with my laptop. It?s back to the game for me.

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