• Step One: Admitted I was powerless over Farmville. Step Two: …

    There comes a point with every addiction when it’s out of control. You must turn and face the dragon. That time had come for me. It was time to face Farmville.

    The same friend who insisted that I get on Facebook also encouraged me to play Farmville. Sometimes I’m not so sure Facebook is a great idea, because I have people on my friends list who should never, EVER cross paths in real life. And it’s a little too close for comfort.

    Facebook is all about “social networking,” which is a nifty term for “huge waste of time.” You can feel the moments of your life spinning down the drain to infinity as you sit there sending iHugs to people you’d never touch in real life and finding out which Crazy Hollywood Diva you are and joining groups like Fans of ‘70s Era Lunchboxes.

    While I’m beginning to question the value of Facebook, I thought Farmville was a dumb idea from the start. But I didn’t listened to me. No, I had to go all “because everyone else is,” didn’t I.

    Farmville actually IS the drain to infinity. It’s a mindless, pointless black hole of time, but with farm animals. And yet… curiously addictive. You create a little icon of yourself and grow imaginary crops, day after day, and somehow forget that possibly the only thing more boring than watching crops grow is watching imaginary crops grow.

    You harvest your crops and get “coins” to purchase imaginary fences and livestock, and fellow Farmville fans start sending you imaginary cows and chickens, that have to be “milked” and have eggs “gathered,” but unlike the real deal, you don’t actually get any milk or eggs. On the other hand, there isn’t any real manure to step in either.

    The leisurely pace of Farmville is truly somnolent. The little mini-you wanders over to wherever you click to brush a sheep or harvest apricots, and a sweet little jingle plays in an endless loop, punctuated by gentle mooing or bleating or meowing. This gentle, hypnotic pace and utter lack of cerebral function is very soothing to your tired, stressed-out brain, and after battling the real world all day, Farmville feels like a nice little dose of techno-Xanax. And your brain likes this sensation a lot. So, it pokes you to play Farmville again so it can relax. And again, and again. Just like it pokes you to head down to the local wine tasting rooms on Friday nights.

    To my credit, I resisted Farmville mightily, but people I like and respect and never dreamed were techno-Xanax junkies kept insisting that Farmville is da bomb. I’d endure entire conversations about Farmville strategies, like putting all your cows in dairy barns and growing soybeans instead of papayas because you can harvest them faster, thereby earning more imaginary money to buy an even bigger imaginary plot of land, on which to plant even more imaginary pecan trees and raise even more imaginary goats and sheep.

    For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what the attraction was. The only way to find out was to try it myself. Next thing you know, I’m calculating how much wheat I needed to grow until I can buy a nifty little tractor to harvest my imaginary pumpkins.

    At some point, through the haze of Farmville addicction, I realized that I was wasting entirely too much time. Things were falling by the wayside. Here I was, harvesting imaginary lemons while the fruit on the real lemon tree in my yard was falling to the ground, and grooming imaginary cats while my own real cats hadn’t seen a brush in weeks. I recognized the irony – and illness — therein but… dangit, just a few thousand more Farmville coins, and I could buy an imaginary red barn!

    Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) addictive behaviors tend to escalate until they start affecting other people in your life. My husbie (AKA The Cutest Main In The World) and I share a home office, and apparently when one is deeply focused on C-plus-plus or B-minus-minus or whatever it is that software engineers do when they’re hunched over the keyboard, it’s a tad distracting to hear that happy little Farmville jingle and its mooing and bleating and meowing, over and over and over.

    He expressed this to me indirectly one morning, and because I have superior communication skills and a degree in psychology, I know exactly what it means when someone runs shrieking from the room upon the first note of the Farmville song. I’m a master of nonverbal communication, and clearly my husbie is in distress, and I will attend to that immediately. As soon as I harvest this one last cherry tree…

    It was time. Farmville had to go. And although my shrieking husbie brought this to the forefront of my attention, that wasn’t the only clue. It was simple math: How many books could I have read in the span of time I’ve wasted on Farmville? The number was appalling. Unacceptable. Thoroughly humiliating. All this time spent, and what to show for it? Imaginary daffodils?

    Farmville was siphoning away my life. It was that simple. The solution was equally simple. I went into my Facebook settings, found Farmville and hit “delete.” Just like that. And it was all over.

    So, I went out to the yard, picked a few lemons, brushed the kitties, and immersed myself in an odd old book about gypsy history that I bought at a used book store. And here’s the good news: I’ve never missed Farmville, not for one moment. And my husbie hardly ever runs away from my shrieking anymore either.



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