I kicked the habit it at level 100 and something. How did I do it? I removed the little candy cane striped jelly bean from my home page on Facebook. That little bean would catch my attention from the left corner of my eye. Zoom! My mouse was on it before the Delirium Tremor set in. Not a moment to be spared! Damn if I was going to spend my productive time doing something productive.
During my time as a conductor on the Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway many a passenger whiled away their time in the Pikes Peak National Forest staring into their smartphone, tablet, or game device. Never mind $22 to $38 a person spent for the experience of riding a Swiss-made train, gaining over 7,000 feet in elevation to climb one of most famous mountains in not just the United States but the world. Nine out of ten device junkies were transfixed on one common time waster: Candy Crush Saga. The others, one out of ten, may have been taking photos of their experience or just themselves. Mostly the latter. I would have pointed out a bear, moose, elk, deer, porcupine, marmot, pica, eagle, hawk, turkey, mountain lion, mountain goat, zombies, big horn sheep, but I knew by the time they tore themselves from vicariously crushing an imaginary piece of confectionery, it would have been too late. A part of me wanted to slap them aside the head. The other part wanted to grab their device so I could play.
Then I met passenger X.
X did seem to pay attention to the scenery, her companions, and the narration I provided. At the summit of Pikes Peak she was one of over 200 fellow passengers who disembarked for 30 minutes or more gazing at scenery on top of one of Colorado’s highest points of land or the mad dash for the restrooms. She was well dressed and spoken. Her children were well behaved. X laughed at my corny scripted jokes (I recite them, I didn’t write them). During the the mountain descent I drifted through the train, answering questions, doing the required selling of souvenir books and CD’s. One row behind her and over X’s shoulder I spied her playing “the” game.
“What level are you on? I promised my husband I would quit when I reached One hundred.”
“Seven hundred thousand four hundred and thirty-seven, oh wait, make that eight. It’s never ending, isn’t it? My sister asked what happens when I get to the end, and I just said, ‘there isn’t one, they make up a new level’. Did you know that of all the electronic games out there, Candy Crush is the most addictive? You should see my credit card bill for this game! I would quit but then I would just go back to heroin and have to pay some attention to my kids. Thank goodness my husband is a Hollywood plastic surgeon.” X’s eyes dried out, fell onto her lap, rolled to the train floor, then bounced downhill towards feet waiting to smash them like grapes beneath a hammer. I silently rooted for the smashing.
I gave the up the game right then and soon thereafter.
Fortunately I only possess a mildly addictive personality. Some time, money, health, and relationship wasters have gone by the wayside:
A two-pack a day cigarette habit
Cutting the split ends out of my hair, one by one
Camping in the wilderness alone
Foreign films without a plot
Chasing after men I don’t have a chance with, such as Brad Pitt
Shoes that don’t fit
Going braless (The world deserved a favor)
Trying to fix dead people
I sent messages of departure to others who had sent lives to me in times of frugal need. Apologies were made for tying a monkey around the necks of those I encouraged to play the game. I invited my husband to watch the striped jelly bean on my Facebook page vanish. He trusted me enough to follow through.
At best a month or more has passed since I last took a virtual hammer to virtual candy. I really haven’t missed it. I’ve read books, written a blog post, reconnected with dear friends and gone outdoors for walks. The cat is glad to have my attention back. The house is tidy(ish) and I am cooking supper to share with the hubby I nearly forgot what he looked like.
And I am proud to say I only played through 172 levels of an iphone Mahjong before I deleted the app off of my phone. Life is good, even without my eyes.