Rundown: There is this character on this game that I have been playing a lot of late, and he’s been on and off my mind. It is called Stardew Valley and I highly recommend it if you haven’t heard of it (or if you were a fan of the harvest moon games.)
Anyway, a resident of the town your character moves to is named Shane. He hates you. Right off, he grumbles things like ‘why are you talking to me, leave me alone.’ Even after you befriend him, he is extremely hesitant, replacing his direct hostility with self depreciating things like ‘I really don’t know why you bother talking to me.’
It is sad, and being annoyed by him is justifiable. If you follow his routine, though, you discover that, on most days of the week, he has the exact same schedule. He wakes up, he goes to work at the soul-sucking Jojamart store (the neighborhood Walmart, if you will), he gets off and goes straight to the bar, drinks until the bar closes or is about to close, then goes home. On weekends, when he’s off, you can find him at the house he is staying at (I think it’s his aunt’s place) doing nothing, save heating a pizza in the microwave around midday. What a miserable life. Right?
Why the hell did I like him so much? Enough to max out his disposition? Apparently, he struck a lot of players that way, because he was one of the most requested characters to add as a weddable bachelor. I have remade a save file to play back through and see the new cut scenes they added for his character.
In doing so, I realized… Damn, I am kind of that character. But alagorically, let me explain.
He goes to work at a meaningless job, spends the day hating it, then immediately goes to the bar to sate his alcoholism and goes home and crashes. In one cut scene, he offers you a drink, alone at a dock in the woods, and asks you if you’ve ever felt like you were at the bottom of an abyss, and that no matter how hard you try, you can’t manage to climb out of it.
In the new content, you find him collapsed in a drunken stupor in his room and bring him to, which results in anger and, when asked about his life plans, he makes the comment ‘I won’t be around long enough to worry about plans.’ His goddaughter, overhearing this, runs away bawling.
Next new scene, you find him face down in the woods, this time in a worse state and by a cliff in the rain. He asks you why he shouldn’t just roll right off, that he often comes there to think about it. You have ways of talking him out of it… Remind him of his goddaughter, tell him life will improve, tell him you will be there for him. Regardless, you take him to the hospital and they pump his stomachs and restore him, but make him swear to see a good therapist. He does.
Next time you see him, he isn’t angry. He seems mellowed, but still terribly hollow and sad. Of course, you can pursue dating him, giving his life some, well, life, some reason to wake up in the morning, then marry. I haven’t made it that far yet.
How this relates to me? Well, I am not an alcoholic, nor am I at the point of going to that metaphorical cliff and contemplating ending it all. I have visited that low point years ago and put it mostly behind me (not alcoholism, I drink very carefully.)
No, I work a meaningless restaurant job. It is minimum wage, it is part time, it is not respected and not at all necessary to anything. It isnt even local, it is one of the most well spread franchises. I am acknowledged as one of the hardest workers there, but it doesn’t make me feel any better about the job, only feel better about meeting my standards of work ethic.
Anyway, I feel useless to society and far far under utilized as far as my capabilities are concerned. I am talented with linguistics and philosophy. I am a learning artist, a decent writer. I have passions and a mind that can retain so much information and recite it back. I could do so much more than making cheap food. But cheap food pays my bills.
Due to working late shift constantly, I wake up usually past noon, have like an hour, then head to work. After work, I do not go to a bar–that is not my addiction. I go home, where my computer is. My addiction, my distraction, where I spend all of my time. Computer, Internet. I do the social media round although I post only seldomly and overall hate what I see. I try to teach myself languages or rebuild skills that I’ve forgotten, like mid- to advanced math, or study some old historical method of doing something, like farming or retting (this part is healthy at least.) I play some game to make me feel better about my currently pointless life. (My own doings, separate from the relationship I am in, which I cherish deeply.)
And the whole time, as I’m glued to my computer, huddled in the corner, staying up way too late–I am guilty. I am hating myself internally, to a terrifying degree. I can’t fully experience what I am doing for being frustrated that it isn’t productive enough, even when it is, in fact, productive.
It is my bandage for coping with “life.”
I know better, too, but that only makes me angrier.
“Get a new job.”
Yeah, well, I am 25 and I still do not have a drivers liscence. Having to face it knowing they will probably be wondering what the fuck I’ve been doing with my life stagnates me into non-action. And, recently, we haven’t had our own car because the PoS blew up, and I’m not about to practice that skill in a loaned car.
“Go to college.”
I would love to. Doesn’t seem realistic right now due to money and ignorance of the system. I am working on this, though.
“Get on medicine for depression/anxiety.”
Been there, was doing that until doc canceled my prescription saying I needed an appointment. Now that I live hours away and can’t do that. I haven’t decided whether to reapproach it. I’d rather NOT be tethered to a stupid pill for the rest of my life.
A plethora of other obvious statements and responses.
Anyhow, what made that character better was the player interaction and potentially love affair. I have that in my life. I am engaged and in love, even if I have been beaten to up responsiveness by depression and self loathing. He probably hates me for it. The thought makes sadder and causes me do even less when I should be doing more. He said I am sabotaging myself. Well… Yeah, I can see that. I can’t figure out how to save myself.
Honestly that is what has been keeping me afloat, I am sure. Having him in my life. Maybe without him, I’d hate life enough to revisit that cliff for contemplation. I’d prefer to think I’m stronger than that, but then again, my brain shuts down under social pressure so often and so harshly that the thought of blowing my head off to relieve the tension crosses my mind very frequently.
Or beating my head against something or using my fist to beat blunt force trauma into my head. That is what I picture most.
Anyway, computer is my version of hitting the bar to drown my pain. That’s not good… At least in the past, I did a lot of writing. I can’t right now and I’m losing my mind.
Guess this was more than just a small thought.