I have been in Romania for almost two months now. I should be regaling you with tales of incredible exploit, of new adventures and new people and new experiences. However as you can see by my archives, the sad truth is that I’ve been otherwise ‘preoccupied’; that is beta-testing an idea for a video game vacation.
Now I’ve talked about video games in the past and my own personal addiction to them. I don’t know why the call of electronic hubris attracts me so, but the digital realm of entertainment has always been my Achilles heel. I have propositioned to my Romanian friends the possibility of starting a company aimed at cheap, extended video game vacations, but really this is just an expansion of my own personal wants and desires.
You see, I have literally spent eighty percent of my free time here leveling a new character in World of Warcraft, getting a more powerful vessel in Navy Field, creating an respectable army in The Last Knights, and of course wrecking havoc on my enemies in WW. In retrospect, it seems pathetic that I’ve devoted so many hours to conquering virtual realms. However I don’t deny the personal enjoyment that I’ve received during this time, but I feel guilty for indulging so passionately in my favourite pastime. I do feel a sense of loss over the pure amount of limited time that I’ve spent mastering, in practical terms, useless skills. This changes now. I’ve had a comeuppance tonight for my lack of exploration. One of my dearest friends here has had at me for my indulgent behaviour.. And he is right to do so. Every night I go to bed asking myself why I’ve done what I’ve done, why I’ve spent so much time emmersed in a realm that is so far away from the practical reality as to be a new dimension. And it stops. Right here. Right now.
I will not commit to giving it all up. I’m never going to stop playing WW, because that is why I am here in Romania. I’m also enjoying playing WoW with my best bud in Winnipeg, and I think it’s bringing us closer together as friends. However I am going to stop playing Navy Field, which has taken up that time that one would normally be working before the 8 hours or so that one gets off after work. Also, no more TLK. One less game is a couple more hours that I can devout to more important endeavours. For example, like starting the book I’m supposed to be writing. That is why I’m here, to write a book. Please don’t ask where it’s at.
So you may ask, why Savagery and Sophistication? This is my long, drawn out introduction to life in Timisoara, Romania. You see, life here is a juxtaposition between hi-tech and low-tech. They have fast computers, advanced technological courses for the training of the mind, the first electric lights and the first tram cars, but mixed with this is political and individual corruption, ridiculous roads and a defeatist attitude towards the future of Romania. Personally, all of my expectations were shattered within the first few days here – I expected a lot worse and was surprised by a lot more. However underlying all the progress lies that defeatist outlook, that ‘grass is greener everywhere’ perception that the Romanians I’ve talked to feel.
I love this country from what little I’ve seen. Heck, today I won three packs of smokes for $1.25 CAD, what would probably have cost around $30 back in canuck land. Sure it’s not good for my health, but when everyone here smokes the government delivers, and because there’s no national health care, what do they care when all if all it’s citizens die of lung cancer. Perhaps that’s endemic of society in Romania, but I truely believe that once the people overcome their reactionary rejection of any form of socialism, then this country will prosper as any other in Europe.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll start writing my book….