The picture is not relevant, but it came up when I searched Creative Commons on Flickr, with the title Time that u enjoy wasting is never wasted time. So… I guess it is relevant? But I don’t necessarily agree, as you’ll discover if you read this article.
I play two games on my phone, Scrabble and Best Fiends. (The MLA style guidelines say that you’re supposed to italicize the names of video games, but it does feel really dumb when the game is a free app aimed at ten-year-olds.) I love both of these games. I get so much joy out of them. But I still feel guilty that I spend, like, an hour per day twiddling little doohickeys on my phone.
Why do I feel guilty, though? It’s MY time. If I want to while away the hours twiddling doohickeys–that sounds like the dorkiest sex euphemism ever–I should be allowed to. And technically, I am allowed to. The only person protesting is myself.
An hour per day is 365 hours per year. 365 hours = 15 ENTIRE DAYS. WHAT THE HELL. Even if I’m overestimating and I actually only play for half an hour, that still adds up to SEVEN AND A HALF DAYS. AHHHHHHHHH.
Scrabble I can kinda justify because it’s a word game, so I lie to myself and say that it’s brain exercise. Especially since I’m a writer. Scrabble is warm-ups for work, like stretching before a run! Best Fiends is hard to make this argument about. This is what Best Fiends looks like (via their website):
That’s one of the characters, Howie. On the left you see his baby form, and on the right his fully-evolved badass wizard form. What a cutie, right? Howie is better than all the boys Tinder keeps setting you up with.
A big part of the appeal of Best Fiends is aesthetic. The gameplay is like Bejeweled, minus the epic music, but also you get to blow things up and kill slugs that are ostensibly evil for some reason. I feel bad about killing the slugs because they’re just as precious as my fiends.
Anyway, Best Fiends is awesome. I’m so into it that when I pick my boyfriend up from work, he asks, “How are the fiends?” I always say that they’re good even when I’m stuck on a tricky level, because the fiends are so cute, howcouldtheynotbegood. Um, I started playing this game before I quit caffeine.
Let’s talk about the idea of “wasting time”, which is totally something I subscribe to even though I put it in scare quotes. Logically, I get that it makes no sense to designate time spent enjoying myself as “wasted”. Isn’t the whole point of life to enjoy yourself? But I worry because it isn’t productive. I’m not making anything.
I draw a distinction between fun and satisfaction, fun and contentment. I think everyone does. Fun is momentary; fun is getting drunk with your friends or spending hours twiddling doohickeys, whether the game kind or the sexual kind. Satisfaction comes from feeling good about what you’re doing with your life. Feeling like your contribution is meaningful. For me, that means writing. I think, “Gee, I could spend the fifteen days writing instead blowing up animated slugs.”
Maybe I couldn’t. Maybe I have to “waste time” in order to use the rest of my time seriously. How about you? Do you have guilty-pleasure habits?
Guest blogger Sonya Mann is an erstwhile student and reliable bunny-enthusiast, living with her parents in the East Bay. She writes a bunch of stuff, so check out her website.