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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Day of Wrest

It was a dingy little apartment, but what did it matter- I had brought my Gamecube. Actually, I had finally gotten my father to play Pikmin, and he was amazing!- He had zoomed through the whole game in one sitting! He was up to the last part for Olimar's ship. I helped him through getting it. Inside the game, we climbed on books like the little creatures we were, and with great effort and good teamwork unscrewed the bolts holding the final piece in place.

"We'll finish this some other time- we have to go. Get my stuff."

And so I did. Turning back, I saw that there were two little kids walking with him as we left the room- a boy and a girl.

"Meet me down by the car."

I started down the stairs. And a lot of stairs there were! All over the walls were random numbers -------
- one number written big, in white paint, and little black numbers all around it listing all the nearby floors. And a lot of floors there were! I ran, but the stairway would go on forever.

I got to the bottom, and looked around. Which car was it? Oh, right, this one. My father came, carrying nothing, with the two kids.

"My Gamecube's still up there!"

And I ran up to where we were before. Or was it this floor?- they all look the same! I tried the blue key he'd given me on a nearby door which looked like it might be it. It took a lot of effort to turn the key, but I did- I turned it all the way around. And the door stayed closed. I ran in even more desparation, until I saw a door that had to be it- well, it probably wasn't it. But there was something covering the keyhole! It was blue and green- how odd, that looks exactly like my kippah.. No time to think about religion- my Gamecube's in there! But the key wouldn't turn.

I ran down and yelled, "I can't find the room! What number is it?"

"I have no idea."

Turning to the kids, he said, "Stay here."

We turned to go back up, but I knew he wouldn't go through with it, leaving them down there- he'd leave me. I'd never see my Gamecube...

That's when I woke up, only to realize -------
Wait, what day is it?
that I hadn't been too far off the mark- it was Shabbat morning. Which means that through no fault of my own, I really had lost my Gamecube. Not to mention my social environment. And my music. And my entertainment. And the ability to get information. And the ability to let out my thoughts. In short, I'd lost everything that makes up my life.

God, I hate Shabbat.

In life, I talk to people over the internet. I'll alienate them quickly, but it doesn't matter too much on a public forum- there are always new people to talk to.
On Shabbat, there's exactly one person to talk to- Eli. So if he's off playing with his friends, or just doesn't want to be with me, I've got nothing to do for 25 hours. Today I was actually lucky- I managed to spend a few good hours with Eli. *
Okay, to tell the truth, he did try to get rid of me. I didn't let him, and got to have something to do for another few hours.

In life, if I want to go exploring I can wander around Aether or Riven.
On Shabbat, I can walk around the street. Which brings me in a circle to the beginning of the street again. It's a small street. There's nothing interesting nearby.

In life, if I want to just have fun, I can play Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat or Pikmin 2.
On Shabbat, I've got two options: Gin Rummy, or Rum 500. That is, assuming there's anyone I can force into playing. If not, all I've got is Freecell.

In life, if I want music I make it on the piano. If I want to make music that will last, I use either a pencil and paper or the computer to write it down.
On Shabbat, if I want music I have to pretend that repetitive and fairly primitive Z'mirot (which exist not for the sake of a good tune but only as a means to praise Shabbat) are enough. Because that's all I've got.

In life, I can deal with problems by writing about them.
On Shabbat, I must keep my problems bottled up. There's nothing quite like a Shabbat for emotional stagnation.

Shabbat always starts the same way. It starts with me sitting, with nothing to do, bothering my mother by asking when it's over and mentioning how much I hate it. It's sort of a tradition by this point. Her part of the tradition is telling me "Go read a book." to every statement. I don't like reading plain text very much, especially when it is (as usual) bogged down in descriptions and exposition. If the material is really good, I'll put up with it for a short period of time. But only for a short period of time. My mother knows this, but she'd like to be able to sit down and read the newspaper in silence.

She also likes telling me that Shabbat is the highlight of her week. I feel sorry for her.

This week, she actually brought in a new twist- placing blame. She said: "You had a whole week to figure out what you could do on Shabbat!" Well, I have ideas. I've always had ideas. Like having a series of videos displaying on the computer during certain hours, so that I could watch something interesting without having to break Shabbat to do it. This is said to "go against the spirit of Shabbat", since the spirit of Shabbat is boredom. So that's not allowed.

What am I allowed to do then? Read books! Aren't I lucky to have such a selection.

Oh, don't get me wrong- I understand very well why I can't do anything on Shabbat. I'm never going to break it. But how I wish I could.

Then there's the Friday night meal, which is meat. I don't like meat so much, unless it's a sirloin steak. (I never get to eat steak.) I prefer dairy. I prefer pasta. I prefer lasagna. Mmmmm... lasagna. What was I talking about again?

Oh right, the meal. I never get to eat lasagna on Shabbat, because it's not "in the spirit of Shabbat". I get to eat bland chicken. Yay. We all sit together for the meal, singing the traditional songs we've all long since gotten bored of, and with a big, fancy, tasteless meal prepared by my mother in honor of Shabbat. And we sit around the table, and if we're really lucky someone will think of something interesting to say. Unfortunately, we are so different from each other that what one person finds interesting another will find depressing. Typically we latch onto a conversation about politics, and Miriam starts yelling about how she hates hearing about politics. It's a boring meal.

Then I go to bed, trying to forget it's Shabbat for long enough to fall asleep. This generally involves me pacing back and forth in the candle-lit living room past midnight, trying to think of hypothetical gameplay systems.

In the morning, I daven and read through the weekly Torah portion for myself. Then I wait for everyone to come back from shul, which takes a long time. And I wait. And I walk outside, to see what the weather is like, and walk back in for fear of burning. And I wait.

Then they come home, and we have lunch, which is effectively the same as dinner, though with different food. It's a boring meal.

Then I chase down Eli.

And I wait.

And I wait.

And I wait.

And I wait.

And I wait.



I figured, if I was going to do a post about my hatred of Shabbat, I ought to make it complete.

Why is Shabbat so bad?
I don't understand.


Well, that's an odd question to follow such a long post explaining why I hate Shabbat, but some time has passed since this post so I might as well take another look at the subject.

My life revolves around electronics and music, neither of which are allowed on Shabbat because they technically fit the term "work" which it is said we must not do. My socialization, my entertainment, my sources of information and my self-expression are all prohibited. Where they were, there is an emptiness which nothing allowed on Shabbat can fill.

Goodness knows I've tried to fill that gap. I've tried to get friends in the Real World I could talk to, only to realize that they had no interest in talking to me. I've tried to find ways to entertain myself, such as jigsaw puzzles, but they were not satisfying and only lasted me a few weeks before I got sick of them. I've now started learning math on Shabbat, though I know I can only get so far without being allowed to write. When I come up with music, more often than not it is forgotten by the time the day ends, since I have no way of remembering it without the use of a pencil or a piano.

What I am left with is a profound hatred of Shabbat and extreme boredom. I hope this clarifies


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