There's a fellow at work who has been moderately damaged by the knowledge that I play D&D. It's not the sort of thing I hide, not any more than I would hide watching sports or going weekend skiing ... but its very strange the effect the game has on people. It isn't as those this fellow harasses me or anything, but he is occasionally inclined to refer to me as "Alexis the D&D Player" in a context having nothing to do with D&D or even weekend activities. This is the sort of thing that happens. It's very unlikely that he would refer to me as "Alexis the skiier" or "Alexis the hockey watcher."
It's clear the thing is on the fellow's mind. He isn't a D&D player, he's never played, his entire conception of the game was being dimly aware that other people in his high school played the game, and that they were a bit 'odd' (he's told me this). So he automatically grafts his one impression of the game onto me. But frankly, I don't care.
It is interesting that he remembers these others from high school (which for him, was twelve or fourteen years ago) enough to make the association at all. That goes to show what a visible influence gamers have. "I have no idea what those people are doing over there, but they're sitting around a table rolling dice, shouting at one another and one of them seems to spend much more time talking than the others."
Does it not seem strange that this is such extraordinary behavior that people are inclined to remember it for years and years afterwards, even though they have never actually known anything about the game other than having someone else say, "those people are playing D&D." Why should anyone but a player remember it? What does that say about other people and their innate fear of sitting around tables talking? And why is it that the mystery of what the game actually includes produces such a intense reaction in people when they meet someone who actually knows something about that game?
Is it even a mystery they care about? This fellow hasn't asked me any questions about the game, so I must presume he thinks he knows something about it, even though clearly he hasn't any idea, enough that he either believes he doesn't need to know more, or perhaps that he is afraid of what I might tell him. Perhaps we're gutting kittens in the dark of the moon or taking turns to go to the toilet in order to fellate one another. I suppose in someone else's imagination, anything is possible.
I don't bother to correct the fellow, or ask him to stop doing this ... that is, calling me by my 'title' as player of a game he doesn't understand. I know this sort of thing is rampantly common, and I know that's why many people don't say that they play the game - which probably increases the mystery and in turn the level of anxiety in some people as to just what happens during a game. The whole thing probably results from a game that's too complicated to pick up in watching for five minutes, and so virtually everyone who chances to hear five minutes of the game being played within earshot is driven to flee the area immediately or else risk being pulled into some body-snatcher pod and reproduced as a walking plant.
Changing the subject utterly for just a moment, this next statement being the real reason for writing this post apart from the fact that I felt the need to mumble a bunch of platitudes that really do not apply to anything ... I have decided to take the month of November off. I mean, OFF. I'm going to suspend the online campaign, all my offline campaigns, and all posting on this blog for 30 days. I may work a bit on D&D, but I mostly want to find some time to do some writing and perhaps regain a little of my sanity in a world gone crazy. Being forced off my feet for a few days, to lay on a sofa and rest watching movies and sleeping intermittently, I'm a bit more concious of being plugged in than usual. A vacation would begin with being unplugged ... so I think I will. Unplug.
I trust you'll all find something else to read.