Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Grand Unified Theory of Craft-Based Niceness, Also, Am I Too Stupid for Video Games?

I would like to address the video game question first. Having grown weary of the gloom, snow, and general hardscrabble-ness of Skyrim’s ancient Norway, I decided to temporarily trade it in for the gloom, snow and general hardscrabble-ness of 1850’s London when the game “Thief” recently went on sale through Steam. And boy, do I feel stupid. It took me a full hour to play through Thief’s twenty-minute tutorial. Then, I fumbled halfway through the first chapter before going back to replay the entire tutorial again, replete with a furrowed brow and an online keyboard-control guide at the ready. I’m still not fully in the swing of it. I keep accidentally shooting off water arrows when I don’t need to and getting caught doing perfectly innocent things like sneaking into a jewelry store after hours (just in case I wanted to find something nice for my lady-friend, okay? Geez. It doesn’t all have to be nefarious.) The whole venture made me wonder if age, stress, and overindulgence in processed meat products has at last made me too stupid for video games. Could it be that I have finally risen to level of my own incompetence and am now doomed to play only Bejeweled and Mahjong? I suppose it’s no matter. My general incompetence aside, “Thief” is actually a very decent game. It’s got great voice acting, beautiful visuals, and a solid story line, although you wouldn’t know it from the whiny, teeth-gnashing reviews dashed off by the die-hard classic “Thief” fans who reviled it on Steam for no good reason. I’ve decided gamers are crazy, myself included, although I still don’t think I’m fully qualified to call myself a “gamer.” Also, Mr. Typist totally Game-Mansplained me when he pointed out that the reason I got caught by the guards after-hours in the jewelry store was because I was “running around in there like a bull on crack.” Phtt. Whatever, dude. Just go back to your Minecraft and leave me alone.

That indulgence out of the way, I think I have found the key to world peace and the end of war: Crafting! I got some much-overdue and much-needed “chick time” with my dear friend Frankie last week, during which we fully nerded-out on all things crafty, including her new, gloriously-addicting Addi Express knitting machine, for which I practically ignored her in favor of during my entire visit. (Sorry, Frankie! You know I love you, but…damn…that Addi knitting machine is quite the mistress.) Frankie was very understanding, though, and let me leave with a random, round, sock-like concoction which I have no idea what to do with, but which I am inordinately proud of having made with my own two hands on her machine. Then, I came home and found a Facebook invite to a punch-rug hobby group from Frankie. And, OMG—these are the nicest, sweetest, and most supportive people I have ever encountered. I don’t know what their political affiliation is, nor do I care (having no absolutely no political affiliation of my own anymore anyway), and I don’t care about their world view or who they voted for. I just know that they are all great fans of the delicate art of punch-rug making, and super-supportive. Every photo of a work-in-progress gets hundreds of likes, and all anyone wants to talk about is the intricacies of yarn and cloth and needle calibration. It’s glorious. It makes me think that if people could only strive to bond over shared joys rather than shared grievances, the world would become a better place very quickly. So please, everyone—reach out to those who share your hobbyist joys, and let that be your guide to friendship, bonding, and the oncoming of world peace. 

--Kristen McHenry

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