Then, I leveled out. I got so good there was nowhere to go in the game but back to the beginning. And I thought: wow that was a comPLETE waste of time. For a moment, I'd wished I'd been gambling or something. For real money. I wished I'd been engaged in something non-virtual; like sleeping, or reading a novel. Yes, fiction is an escape, but at least the book is real. It's something to hold. All of those extra-comfy salon chairs I bought for my choosy clientele? They're just fragments in space. They're little particles of nothingness in the airwaves. Or something. Clearly, I'm not a web developer.
At the time, though, I must've wanted an escape from not knowing how my actual life was going to unfold. Either that or I just have a super-addictive personality and powering through the game's stages was like powering through the last of the Easter candy. I have to kill it-you know, for everyone's protection.
Anyway, here I am, in my bona-fide life. It's quite a bit different than it was even three months ago. There's less time for cultivating make-believe fun, but maybe, if you've got the time, you'd like to pretend to be me for a while?
First, the outfit. You don't have very many choices, but that's okay because above all else, you want to stay cool. You'll notice that I have chosen my sister-in-law Valerie's swimsuit coverup as my official farming outfit. She let me borrow it on our trip out to Harrisburg and I liked it so much that I have almost never taken it off. It is very thin-almost wispy. I can tie it in knot to make a kind-of romper, which comes in handy for blackberry picking, but more importantly, this dress affords me countless opportunities to go behind the greenhouse and flash the corn, which is basically my version of Amish air conditioning. In the footwear department I have chosen big-a** boots, mostly to protect my feet and legs from chiggers and other vermin. I didn't think I'd need to explain the hat, but apparently I might because some little girls (by which I mean teenagers), the other day, said "nice hat" and then snickered. My reply should have been something like, "Call me when your face looks like a leather handbag, maybe then you'll want my hat." But I just said thank you and walked away.
Next, your neighbors. Just like in pretend Farmville, you compare your plot with the one next door to see how you measure up. Mine is seven acres and this guy's is a thousand. You can imagine how I feel about that. INCREDIBLY RELIEVED. Once, we burned a bunch of brush and dead branches in our trash pile and with the way the wind was blowing, I guess we smoked him out. I took over an apple pie to make amends. Next time, to avoid any superfluous baking, I'll be sure to lick a finger and hold it in the air to see which way the wind's blowing, along with dispatching a stand-by fire truck in case I'm wrong.
And now: food. The previous owner planted 56 heads of cabbage in this garden, but I'm just not that into saurkraut. We let things get out of control this year, so there's really no structure at all to what used to be fairly tidy rows of edibles. The berries are all still there, but you have to climb through a mosh pit of weeds and overgrown what-nots to get to them. It's like a midwestern safari, or an Amish ghetto. You never know what could be lurking in that stinging nettle! Really, though-they're delicious, nothing at all like what you get in the grocery store. The day I picked these beauties, a huge storm was headed our way, and there I was in the blackberry patch, trying to be Mrs. Tough Guy in my makeshift romper. At one point, as the clouds, noise, and lightning edged closer, I saw my neighbor hop off his tractor and high-tail it inside. I thought rather smugly, that he probably just wanted to watch the Price Is Right--but then a thunderclap erupted with a sound loud enough to beat the band and I ran like heck for the barn, holding on to my hat and crying for my momma like an actual tornado was nipping at my heels. Good thing I didn't drop my basket, because it was a long, hard, rain, and I was bored as all in the barn with nothing else to do but stuff myself silly with garden produce.