This is a personal post, and somewhat rambly. This blog will return to elemental shaman stuff shortly. If you’re wondering where I’ve been, I’ve been co-hosting the Obscurecast along with Gazimoff of Mana Obscura and I left my authenticator at his house after the great Blizzcon weekend podcast-a-thon. I’ve also been extremely busy with my day job, and with raiding now finished in my guild, an old problem of mine has re-emerged.
The kids in the halls and the pipes in the walls
Make me noises for company
Long distance callers make long distance calls
And the silence makes me lonely
Lost in the Supermarket by The Clash
World of Warcraft is like a supermarket. A British one, specifically, except prettier. Whenever I go to a supermarket I lose a lot of my impulse control, and I lose the ability to focus. It’s been like this since I was very small. Something about the bright lights and colours caused something of a sensory overload and I wander around in a bit of a trance. To combat this as an adult I’ve had to cultivate some techniques in order to achieve grocery shopping. Usually they involve getting my partner to go instead, because is impulse control is better than mine. Alternatively I have to be very driven to acquire something in particular, as opposed to ‘groceries’ in general. If I go in to do the weekly shop I’ll come out with cake, some salami, 3 cans of baked beans, wensleydale cheese, assorted pretzels and an egg whisk (we have 5.) If I go in to achieve baking powder or fabric conditioner, for example, I’ll come out with a decent bag of shopping but forget those items in particular.
It will also take me an hour to pick up 5 items, because I’ll get distracted by pineapples. And then by tea towels.
Warcraft is very much like a supermarket for me at the moment. I don’t have a specific activity to log on for, such as raids. I do have multiple tasks I wish to do – such as practise my abysmal PvP so the commenters over at WoW Insider don’t pull me apart on my first Elemental PvP column over there. Or drop herbalism and level alchemy. I’ve always got multiple strands of research going on, such from gender/sexuality/ethics related looks at the new quests in beta, to item lists for future blog posts, to attempting to get in on a raid so I can actually see the new bosses.
And then there are cool Elemental Invasions going on, and I want to be a part of that.
I’m playing catch up at the moment, because I left my authenticator at Obscurecast mission control, following the epic An Obscure All Things Blizzcon podcasting weekend. I’m thus a little out of the habit of playing WoW, and am missing some of the drive and goals that keep my play time efficient and fun. So yesterday I log in to try and do one or more of these things I listed. I am not completely certain what I actually did, but I believe it involved flying around in circles, mainly around Zul’drak. At the end of the evening I logged off, frustrated with myself and wondering what I had been doing all evening that I had achieved precisely zero. Not only that, but I have very little memory of what I was actually doing. I know I answered some guildies questions in guild chat, and I know I rode my Cenarion War Hippogryph around in circles outside the Sapphire Hive. But somehow three whole hours have gone, and not in a ‘where DID the time go?’ type of way.
I should have been writing, I should have been cleaning the bathroom or doing laundry. Or packing, because we’re due to move right after New Years. I should have been doing so many things, and Warcraft is a legitmate activity for me to be doing, but the lack of habit and drive has rendered it hypnotic and trance inducing to me. Between all the activities that I could and should be doing, I am left vacantly staring at the bright colours and pretty pictures. Literally wandering around in circles, and not even really looking at what I’m doing or where I am.
Is this normal? Well everyone procrastinates and wastes time. That much is pretty normal. However my entire life has this issue. It’s not the lack of want to focus, or even a lack of things to focus on, it’s just that without certain triggers and habits it becomes almost an impossibility. This applies to work, travel, chores, and even my leisure time. This was a massive problem for me in school, and it’s very hard to pin down and explain to people. It is very easy for friends and family to turn around and say ‘buck up‘ or ‘concentrate‘ and ‘everyone procrastinates, you just need to have some discipline.’ If it was as simple as ‘learning to prioritise’, I would be living my life like that all the time.
There are good days and there are bad days. I am a productive member of society, I pay my taxes, I have friends, I work (just about), and do my best to be a good friend and daughter. I often fail, but I work hard at not failing. The attention difficulties are something I’ve always lived with and am only, in the last 2 years, learning to cope with. The seeming passivity it results in is hard to explain, but that is why I generally don’t write about it in detail.