Tooned Out

Suburban mommy talks about kicking her online gaming habit.

Location: Redmond, Washington, United States

Just another face in line at the grocery store...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Online Friends - Update #2

A long time ago, I wrote about how my online friend had come from Texas to my hometown in the Pacific Northwest to visit me. It was a bit weird, meeting someone in real life that I had met through a children's online game, but she turned out to be just as great in real life as she was in Toontown. Caution: we were both mom's, sensible people, and had 'known' each other quite a while. Shortly after she returned home, she discovered she had cancer, and fought a courageous, but ultimately losing battle against that implacable disease.

While she was here visiting, I made a point of taking her to some beautiful places around here, one beach on the Olympic Penninsula in particular. During one of our telephone conversations while she was in treatment, she asked me to promise to help her husband find that spot and spread some of her ashes there, when the time came. Of course I said that wasn't going to be necessary, and that she and her whole family were going to come see me when she got better instead.

Well, last spring I got a call from her husband letting me know that she had lost her final battle, and we talked about when a good time would be for him and their boys to come out and fulfill her last request. This past summer, I met up with her husband and two sons, and we drove out to the beach and spread her ashes there. I was very happy to do this for her and for them, and I was absolutely struck by both the sadness and the oddness of the situation. It was incredible to me that something as banal as an online game had led to this poignant moment, and that something as simple as an off the cuff remark like "if you ever want to come out this way, I'd love to show you around" could lead to taking someone somewhere that made such an impression on them they'd want to spend eternity there.

Update '08

Still Toontown free as of today. I'm not at all tempted to go back. Zero impulse. I will say that I still have definite compulsive tendencies, like when I started "helping" my son with the new Zelda game for the Wii and then proceeded to blow around 100 hours of my precious time. At least that game has an end (although I never did do all the side quests...) I guess you just never grow out of this stuff.

I occasionally spend a great deal too much time on line. Lately it's Facebook, which I used to laugh at until I learned how to put photos up for my relatives to see and then joined a group or two - well it's all downhill from there. I can exercise control most of the time, however. In any event, I have been terrible about moderating comments, and I will try to figure out a way to get better at it. If anyone out there is trying to quit online gaming, please know that you absolutely can. If I can do it, anyone can.