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Day two – Singularis aranea proclivitas

November 2, 2017

Oh, my goodness. I did a Google search yesterday and discovered that what I am dealing with is a recognised condition with an actual Latin name: singularis aranea proclivitas. Can you believe that? Well, you shouldn’t. I made it up, using an English/Latin dictionary. For those whose Latin is a bit rusty, it means spider solitaire addiction. But it really is a recognised condition.

There are articles about it in magazines and journals such as Psychology Today. Most focus on computer solitaire in general: those games that most people started playing when Bill Gates unleashed them on the world with every Microsoft package. (Apparently this decision was made to help people grow accustomed to using their mice – and to let them blow off steam when they became frustrated with some aspect of the program. Thanks, Bill.)

According to one article I read, of all the addictions to computer solitaire, Spider Solitaire is the worst. And its consequences to your life (assuming you have a life) can be quite ruinous.

I also stumbled across some blogs written about this addiction by others. (Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised by how many were writers.)

A few years ago a woman named Julie Lomoe wrote this in a post about her first day going cold turkey:

“It’s been barely an hour, and I’m already in the throes of withdrawal. My body’s tense, my muscles jumpy. My heart is racing, and I’m finding it hard to catch my breath. I’m feeling wired, with an unaccustomed energy that threatens to morph into a panic attack.

“What’s the addiction I’m fighting? Is it booze, cigarettes? Maybe drugs, prescription or otherwise? No, it’s Spider solitaire. The spell it’s cast over me is relentless, and I’ve finally come to admit I’m powerless to resist. Just one game, I tell myself, or maybe twenty minutes. But inevitably, those minutes morph into hours – how many, I’m ashamed to admit. I could probably have cranked out a novel during the countless hours I’ve wasted on Spider in recent months. My blog has been one of the casualties; so has my housework, which is dubious at the best of times.

“This toxic addiction mushroomed along with my depression, beginning last summer, and by now it’s hard to sort out cause and effect. Do I play too much Spider because I’m depressed, or am I depressed because I play too much Spider? Probably both. But when I’m playing, all sense of time fades away. I lapse into a state of suspended animation, on autopilot. As Pink Floyd would put it, I become comfortably numb – neither happy nor depressed, just vaguely anaesthetized. I’m capable of playing right through meal times, ignoring hunger, thirst, and urgent promptings from my bladder.”

I don’t know about racing hearts, but other than that I can totally relate. I do know about the knot I can get in my stomach. The knot that appears as soon as I’ve checked my emails and had a quick look at Facebook. ‘Okay,’ I tell myself, ‘get on with your day. Do something, even it it’s only polishing the diningroom table. Step away from the bloody computer.’ The knot tightens. My finger twitches. ‘Just one game,’ I tell myself.

Back in the day, when I was working as a journalist in my twenties, I used to laugh whenever someone said at the end of the work day: “Fancy a quick pint?” Because there was no such thing. This was Britain and in Britain, you got your round in. If two of you went to the pub, that meant at least two pints. If six of you went to the pub… No, it didn’t actually mean you had to stay for six pints. You could leave after you’d bought your round (as long as it wasn’t the first one), but seeing as you’d paid for six pints you wanted to get your money’s worth. No such thing as a quick pint. No such thing as a quick game of spider solitaire.

Another writer, Mar Preston, wonders if she is the only one who turns instinctively to spider solitaire when she is blocked, looking for a short diversion, then playing for hours.

Good to know I’m not the only person stupid enough to play this stupid game ad nauseam? I suppose. What’s better to know is that I haven’t had that knot in my stomach for the past couple of days. So far, so good.

From → SFSS Challenge

  1. janeshead permalink

    And did you delete it from your computer?

    • I deleted SFSS from my computer years ago. Unfortunately there are numerous internet sites that unleash the beast.

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