To play or not to play

Starting to write has ruined me for the stupid game of mahjong solitaire that I have been playing incessantly for too long.  The game is an exercise in concentration and calm, but for what?  It’s meaningless.  I worry about what I write being meaningless, but not about that stupid game?  I think about my life being meaningless and then I play that stupid game and confirm my own suspicions.

Poetry – or literature, or art, or something – is emotion recalled in tranquility – Wordsworth.  Can I make uneventful count as tranquility?  Because every time I dig beneath the new growth that’s covering old events, I become unsettled, and the tranquility flies apart, POUF.  Just how old do you have to get to see things from a distance – not for a few minutes, hours, months or years – but consistently over time, forever?

I just played it again.  Didn’t even register my score, but I remember when the old site disappeared and the new one had scores based on how many tiles and how long it took to finish.  You try to do it as a meditation, but those times and scores are in the corner of your eye.  I never liked playing games because of the scores.  I threw games (Monopoly, Scrabble) out of empathy for my opponents, who may not see as far ahead, or may have a smaller vocabulary – and then watched as they trounced me, realizing when it was too late to recover that they cared about winning. It was irritating, but I didn’t really care.  I never cared about winning; didn’t want to lose, but didn’t want to win either.  Games are either boring or irritating.

The observer doesn’t play the game.  The observer watches the game.  The observer doesn’t have a stake in the game.  When I’ve unexpectedly found myself in the middle of the game, I’ve run away or withdrawn.  A couple of Big Jobs, a couple of Big Relationships.

What if the game is life?  And what if you don’t have a stake in the game?  For one thing, you’ll never lose; the game isn’t yours to lose.  What counts as a stake?


About Diane Weist

First year of the baby boom, ex-hippie who always had a job, born with a raised eyebrow, only child and it shows, occasional painter and writer, outsider. Raging, raging against the dying of the light.
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