Once upon a time, not that very long ago, I owned a farm. Virtual, that is. It started out innocently enough with a simple invitation to join Farm Town. It looked like fun, so with a few clicks of the mouse, I was growing grapes and wheat on my cute little square patch of farmland. As I quickly became more proficient with harvesting methods and crop rotation, I planted more complicated crops, even hiring farm hands to harvest. My paradise expanded to include a river with crystal clear waterfalls and lush landscaping. An assortment of trees and flowers grew along the riverbanks, separating my property from my sister’s. I visited neighboring farms and had lots of farm friends. In no time, by the sweat of my brow and with very little down, I was able to afford a red brick mansion and buy a second farm back off the north forty! I had my very own lake stocked with bream and catfish – a virtual dream come true – with a dock! Oh and a hammock. I love hammocks. Life was good.
|My lake and hammock:)|
Looking to diversify, someone suggested I expand into the restaurant business. I opened a cute little cafe, hiring some of my best friends as wait staff – Becky, Judy, Carrie. I was boosting the economy! Together we whipped up turkeys and bacon cheeseburgers and lobster. Ummmm. I even learned to make creme brûlée! Some dishes took days to prepare, and others were ready in minutes. It was a popular little cafe – all my friends flocked to see the adorable decor and fancy ovens. Soon I added an outdoor patio with a giant flatscreen for watching Razorback games! But it was stressful. I should have stuck with farming – I know farming. Food & beverage is a totally different animal. It became difficult to adequately concentrate on my farm with chicken adobo ready and waiting on the stovetop. We were always under the gun to get food out on time – just like restaurant wars on Top Chef. If the service was slow, patrons would just rudely turn around and leave. Once I had to fire my own mother – she couldn’t get the food on the table fast enough. But business is business. She went right down the street and opened her own cafe…
Becky and Judy also became competitors with nearby cafes. But we helped each other. There were times I was at the bank – the REAL bank from which I received W-2 income – and Becky often called me in a panic. I’m in Mt. Home and my chicken pot pies need to be served at noon!!!!! I would run home at lunch, serve her chicken pot pies, check on my own cafe and crops, eat a real sandwich in my real kitchen, walk my real dog, and run back to my real job. It was exhausting. But I hated to see a pot pie gone bad.
And then I bought an island. I needed a vacation spot away from the hustle and bustle of the farm and cafe. A place where I could wear a loin cloth and coconut shell bra in total seclusion. But once a farmer, always a farmer. I began planting stupid crops on my island too. Tropical fruits and veggies. And fishing. I fished on the island. I couldn’t relax. I was Thomas Tate.
Once in the middle of the night, I jumped suddenly from bed and understandably alarmed John. “What??? What’s wrong??” He had been in a deep sleep. “Omg I have pot roast to serve!!!” I jumped up to log onto my computer to serve pot roast before the nasty flies got it.
The next day I quit. I just walked away. Cold turkey. My virtual life was running my real life. I could be using that time to learn a language or cook real food in my real kitchen! Or work in my real garden. Or write a book! I immediately blocked all games so I would not be tempted to even peep at my dying crops or receive updates from devoted farm neighbors who continue to water my wilted flowers. Did they worry about me? I know that my farm is overgrown with Johnsongrass, and the flies and bugs and roaches have taken over my restaurant. Sometimes I feel bad.
Occasionally someone on Facebook cries out for help – “I only need 10 more nails for my barn raising.” Or, “I’m gonna miss my farm so much when I go home for Christmas.” Last week, one of my Facebook friends was upset because someone had reported her to the Facebook police – and she had done nothing wrong – she had no idea why she had received a “warning” about her activity. It was probably just a glitch in the system… new timeline and all… One of her friends commented, “That is sooooo terrible. You are such a good farm neighbor.”
Kenny Chesney, “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”
Zac Brown Band, “Knee Deep”