I am something of a game collector. (People that know me say this is something of an understatement, as I own several hundred board games.) While my collection has suffered greatly over the last decade (a foreclosure and divorce along the way), there still remains a wide variety of genres, styles, and mechanics of play. I collect mostly board games and tend to stay away from what a typical American would immediately think of (monopoly, life, sorry, other family games), leaning rather toward games with complex rules and interactions, requiring longer time to explain and teach others to play (which is a primary reason most are shelved and collecting dust). Pretty much if I find a game at a grunge shop that I neither have nor have heard of, it tends to leap into my cart for further research.
This morning I was awakened from a dream where I was playing a board game. I don’t remember too much about it, but the significant elements involved taking my turn. I was moving a piece and sort of understood what I needed to do, but the rest of the map/board was devoid of pieces. When I said I needed to know where the pieces to collect were, another person added a couple of tokens on the board. I also mentioned that I needed to know where the other people’s pieces were, to plan how to avoid their influence. Another person got the rules and read all player’s pieces were to be removed from the board after each turn. I complained that I had a short-term memory problem and that it wasn’t fair to play that way, then I woke up in a poor mood.
The concept of masking the information of other players (or areas you are not currently located in) is referred to as the “fog of war” and is common in video (and computer) games. The idea is you can only know what you have experienced and many games will have map information fade away over time if you move away, hiding changes occurring while you are absent. Significantly, any enemies entering the area after you make life “interesting” when you return. Especially true if you presume the world to be the same as when you left it. Generally speaking, I do less well in this setup than games where I can see the whole world all of the time. My memory condition mentioned above (perhaps I wasn’t dropped on my head enough times to make things stick?) means enabling fog increases a game’s difficulty for me (probably more than for others), and I usually don’t get additional credit or experience for playing at this “level of difficulty.
Truth is, though, there is a “fog of life” that works essentially the same way in the “real” world. I went to visit my mom last week and drove through a neighborhood I lived in a couple of decades ago. While most of the places aligned with the images in my memories, there were other areas where changes occurred under the mask of fog. Some buildings changed colours (owners paint or stain since my last transit). Others had additions built on or were torn down totally, a couple being replaced by vacant lots, others by parks or businesses. Most notably was the business district, where the buildings were essentially the same, but the products or services were wildly different. Furniture replaced by food, carpet by insurance. The old hardware store does tanning and nails. Business was still business, but not MY business.
The old stomping grounds are old still, and there’s ground there, but the idea of stomping there would never occur to me. The trees (the ones still there, anyway) don’t lend themselves to climbing, nor do the bushes work for hiding anymore. One extreme example was a place we used to sled in the winter. There was a steep, seldom used street that would attract kids to slide down most of the winter. After a period of time covered in the Fog of Life I came back to discover the road was just gone! It’s now a tree covered hillside and the Texaco gas station at the base transformed to an ice cream parlor (closed in the winter).
I understand (intellectually, anyway) that time changes things and “you can never go home” really means that today is different than yesterday, but it’s not fair. I don’t have a lot of memories of times past, but to find there is increasingly little to verify what was real and what was an (semi-overactive) imaginary dream scape is hardly reassuring. What is to prevent coming back from church or the store only to find an amusement park covering the lot where my apartment was just a (perceived) few hours earlier? Or to find my keys won’t open my car (at least it’s where I parked “my” car)? As far as I can tell, I am correctly oriented in 3-space, but if a tesseract opens and I move sideways through space-time into a parallel universe that is hauntingly similar to (but not the same) as I remember, how could I tell? Others argue this is the way things always were. Who’s perception is “correct?”
Maybe this is the actual cause of Alzheimer’s….
post 43 of n