Thursday, August 23, 2007

Company at the bottom of the pit

There's nothing sweeter that sharing your loves and obsessions. The internet makes this possible on a massive front. Participating in boardgaming communities, baking forums and World of Warcraft newsgroups makes me feel less alone. But the real challenge is dragging your real live friends into the darkness of your hobbies.

I have, as you may have understood, a severe gaming addiction. My friends play too, but they are all a lot more casual users than I am. They like to smoke weed on the weekend, while I sometimes want to spike my veins with high grade smack or inhale the sweet fumes of crack cocaine from a stainless steel pipe. Of course I could go the full mile and start hanging out with some real junkies, but there's also the respect from my loved ones to be considered. No one wants to live with a substance abuser.

On a couple occations, though, I have been able to drag my friends down with me.

I used to be heavily into World of Warcraft (then I quit, because it stopped giving me the thrill I needed, read more about this here). While I was just starting up I gave the ten day free pass to a friend. To my great joy he took the offer and before I knew it he had passed me in level. Now, we had some great times in that parallell universe, but sometimes I wonder if I really should have slipped him that ticket. I hardly see the guy anymore, and, though his girlfriend seems to be okay with it, he's only a part time resident of earth nowadays. All mixed up in guild business and skipping soccer games for raids in the dungeouns of Azeroth.

Last week I gave another friend a plastic container of active sourdough culture and bullied him into making his own bread. I was pleased to hear the bread turned out great and tasted fantastic. It seems like the hobby is catching on. Next on his list is Austrian whole grain rye. The question is, will it turn into an an addiction, and do I want that on my conscience? What if he drops out of the university and go start himself a bakery?

You have to look out for yourself, too. Perhaps you need a sane environment to stay in touch with the real world. Before you break out that nice little gateway boardgame or ten day free trial to kick off your win over campaign, think it through. You may need people around you to help you stay put. My girlfriend for instance, I would never want her to come over to the dark side. She is my lantern in the blackness. My north star to keep the ship straight. Without her I might have quit my job and started selling The Big Issue.

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