I didn’t think about tabletop games for 11 days, and so should you

The question of whether we can afford to step away from reality is a neoliberal trap.

I didn’t think about tabletop games for 11 days, and so should you
Credit: Chase Carter

I embarked on a protracted and much-overdo vacation last week with my partner where I climbed mountains, ate so much food, and didn’t think about tabletop games for nearly two solid weeks. Instead of dedicating energy to Dungeons & Dragons, actual plays, and whatever that list of 44 rules was, I walked through mixed alpine forests and ate some of the best nopalitos tacos in my entire life. 

The results were extraordinary for my mental health and general tolerance of the small tabletop world which I cover as my day job. I hucked my brain in a washing machine set to the highest spin setting, and now all of the grease, stains, and detritus feel as though they’ve been expunged from my wrinkles and folds. The world moved on while I voluntarily removed myself from Twitter threads and emails. Work tasks were left unfinished, emails unanswered (I’m catching up), and ongoing projects paused.

But the US presidential elections crept closer while I was away. Israel continued to massacre Palestinians with the material and political support of my government, and millions of Sudanese people have been displaced by war between two militant factions. I return refreshed, but so do the horrors—the result is a caustic mixture of relief and apprehension that I’m genuinely not sure how to square in my mind. Ask the other rascals, and they will tell you that I deserved and needed this break; ask me now, bleakly reopening the shitty Pandora’s Box that is social media, and I’m I’m less sure. 

Of course, self-recrimination is a feature of modern life, not a bug.