Efficiency. Synergy. Enplanement. These are all words that are in my vocabulary now that I'm working a nine to five office job. (Don't ask about that last word; no, I don't work for an airline.) Well, not exactly nine to five, that's just an expression. I've adjusted my schedule to 8:30 - 4:30 instead because it fits my commute better. Still, you get the idea, it's a full time job, five days a week, too. I wish I could tell you loads about my summer internship, but it would be unwise and unprofessional of me to talk about the company I work for, because then someone with authority will see it and fire me. Which is not to say that I don't like the job. So far, in the middle of my second week, I like it fine. But security is tight at the building and they obviously don't want any details getting out, so this is one part of my life that will just have to remain private for the time being, at least. Unfortunately it's made all the more difficult by the fact that it's such a major part of my life now. Until working a few days under these circumstance, I never realized how much a full time job can just consume your whole existence. When you consider how much time I spend commuting, it's about twelve hours or more from the time I wake up to the time I get home again. And then I've got no more than four or five hours of time for myself and all the things that I want to do or should be doing. Thank goodness this is a paid internship, because I could not sacrifice so much of my time just for some work experience and a resume booster. (I hate that word, resume, and the way it depends on those two little accent marks that I can't easily produce with my computer, so the only way I know how to put it in a word processor is to Google it, then copy and paste. Just two little obscure lines separating resume from an almost identical word which is completely unrelated. I have a real love-hate relationship with this language.)
Productivity. Creativity. Time well spent. These are just ideas, mere notions, that will nevermore become reality in my life now that I've bought an XBox 360. Understand that this decision was a long time coming. I think that my cousin Andrew first got his XBox almost two years ago, if I remember correctly, and I've wanted one myself almost ever since. But I've gotten to a point in my life where my still developing brain has really started to hone its capacity for indecision and self-awareness. I like video games a lot, but I know I don't devote that much time to them, not in the past several years at least. I'm much more of a casual gamer, not a hardcore one. It's the reason I've stayed loyal to Nintendo for so long. For many months I wanted a 360 but doubted that I would get so much use out of it that it would be worth the money. Then a couple of months ago a game called Portal 2 came out, and there's no way my PC is good enough to run it. Plus, visits to Andrew's place have gotten me somewhat hooked on Call of Duty. My semester abroad meant that I suffered from some gaming withdrawals, checking stories on IGN more than ever before and getting more use out of my Nintendo DS than I have in years. I've thought for a while that the start of this summer might be the right time for me to get an XBox. During my first two days at work, in the off moments when I was sitting at my desk with little to do, or even in the moments when I was busy, the 360 was extremely prevalent in my thoughts. I couldn't even keep it restrained to the back of my mind. Well-armed Black Ops soldiers kept racing to the forefront of my consciousness, capturing the flag of my attention. On Wednesday night I ordered it online with express shipping so it would arrive by the weekend.
So far the purchase has been worth it. After hours of play during the weekend, I just finished the single-player mode in Portal 2 last night, and it did not disappoint. I already had staggeringly high expectations for this sequel, so I was blown away when the ending managed to exceed them. So good, but if you know anything about video games then this comes as no surprise to you. Returning to the point, I've been home in the United States (of America) for over a week, and I'm only managing to blog now because my time has been largely divided between the new job and the new video games. I started the internship right after Memorial Day, two days after my flight home, which was not the most relaxing way to return from five months abroad. I would definitely be playing Portal 2 instead of writing this if there was any more single-player levels to play or if there was anyone here to play co-op mode with me (that makes my life sound sad, doesn't it?). The one remotely productive thing I've managed to do is keep writing that Dave Eggers book, which took a turn for the not-quite-as-good from pages 250 to 300, approximately, but I'm still enjoying it. I don't regret buying the XBox or getting the new job, but this isn't the best summer for me to be unproductive. I've got a lot of writing classes lined up in the Fall, and a writing drought now could seriously affect my performance then. Not only that, but sooner than I'd like I have to start applying to graduate schools, which means figuring out where to apply, taking the GREs, and I'm honestly not sure what else. And when was the last time I made one of my travel videos for YouTube? I've even been procrastinating on something as simple as editing photos and putting them on Facebook.
Finally I understand that song, "Working for the Weekend," far more than I ever did before. But I know that when Friday (fun, fun, fun, fun) comes all I'll want to do is pick up the XBox controller again and again. Have I found an excellent way to relax, entertain myself, and relieve stress in my downtime? Or have I doomed myself to a whole summer of no time to get anything done? Maybe a little Call of Duty will help me clear my head.