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 When I’ve unexpectedly found myself in the middle of the game, I’ve run away or withdrawn.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?