The Pleasure of Mind Games
. . . with yourself
Like many of you, I spend much of my day alone, as I have for years. My kids are grown, my husband works, and I am a writer and editor, neither of which provides much sociability.
I spend much of my time looking at one screen or another. (My computer monitor is large, for side-by-side editing—and the feeling that I’m piloting a plane; my iPhone is small for one-handed photos.)
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When I’m away from my screens, I frequently find myself playing mind games.
I play these mind games with myself throughout the day. I entertain myself with these mind games, which are often little challenges. They are a pleasure I can give myself any time I want. I don’t know if other people do this: I have no idea!
Counting and Accounting
During my morning run with my dog Theo, I always count other runners and dogs. Then I try to account for why there are so many or so few.
Timing the Chores
It can be tedious emptying the dishwasher unless you compete with yourself, so sometimes I set the stopwatch to make it more fun. Four minutes is about average. But which is faster, plucking out all the knives, etc., at a time, or taking out unsorted cutlery by the handful? Find out for yourself! I time a lot of things, how long it takes to roll a joint (1:04) or how long it takes to pay the monthly bills, including examining credit card statements (35 minutes or so). Sometimes I make little bets with myself about how long something should take, v. how long it does take. The one thing I don’t time is my run, because the dog’s vicissitudes would throw off the timing—and anyway, I’d rather not know how slow I am!
Guessing on Groceries
Sometimes my mind is a cash register. When I shop at Trader Joe’s, without looking at the price of each item, when I get to the cash register, I often guess the total. It’s very important that I do not change the original guess, which is always more accurate than other guesses, even a few seconds later. About 80% of the time, with this first guess, I’m within a dollar or two of the actual total. It’s kind of uncanny . . . except that the other 20% of the time I am way off!
Has he just had a rendezvous with his girlfriend?
Imagining: Who Does He or She Long For?
I’ve started a new game, about people. This one I cannot win or lose, because it is pure speculation. I’m particularly interested in old people and romance right now, so I’ll pick out an old codger or crone (I’m one myself!) and give them a love life. She’s 80, but can’t stop thinking about the widower who moved into her building. Last night they had their first date, and when they were sitting opposite each other at the diner, he put his large hand on her dainty one that was resting on the table. Her heart lurched. Her shopping cart now holds cheese and crackers because he’s going to visit her today, bringing wine.
That old gent having trouble at the automatic checkout lane has just made love to his wife of 40 years. They’ve decided that Sunday mornings work best for them, and after that, they like to have coffee in bed. But they ran out of cream, so here he is, happy and gallant.
At my book launch, February 16, 2023
I do believe we can love at any age. In my new book, Cybill Unbound, published just last week, Cybill falls in love in her forties, fifties, sixties . . . And she follows her passions! Her mind games involve her current lover and what he will say and do next. She’s in love with being in love.
Please respond with your own mind games in the comments!
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That is hilarious! A little game for you, a lot of water on the bathroom floor! But mishaps like these make for great stories!
One of my little games- I run a bath and then leave the bathroom with the water on to do other tasks. I try to come back at the exact moment I feel the water level is where I like it to be. One time I totally forgot right before a huge holiday party I was giving I. 2 hours. DON’T ASK!!!!!!