It’s late and I am leaving from office. For one moment I am tempted to leave it all (all = laptop) behind. Walk out the door, not look back, go home, eat comfort food and crash. But no, the pull is too great. I turn, look at it longingly, I calculate something quickly in my mind and I hurriedly pack up my laptop, sling the bag over my shoulder and rush home – almost the way I rushed to work this morning.
My mind is ticking. No, clicking. There is work to be done.
I have to harvest the potatoes, then plow the fallow land, seed it again for the next harvest, milk the cows, collect eggs, (phew) and of course there are a whole lot of gifts to be sent. I really don’t have time, if I want to be a successful farmer!
So off I go home, eat dinner in a hurry (gobble like the turkey in my farm?) and am off to my farm.
The cows are waiting to be milked.
Click. Click. Click.
The goats are waiting for the mohair to be collected
(I haven’t used words like mohair and fallow since school!).
Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.
The trees waiting to be harvested.
And oh no… I need a new fence.
A new cowshed.
A new chicken coop…
Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.
Now my eyes are bleary!
But a lost kitten turns up on my farm. I need to announce it to the world.
Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.
Just as I am about to log off I am told that a friend’s farm needs fertilizing. Now I can’t leave without doing that, can I? So off I set fertilizing farms till I run out of fertilizer. Phew! That’s quite some bumper crop we are going to get in the neighbourhood, I think, and it’s all my doing.
Proudly, I plan to log off. And then casually glance at the clock on the base of my screen! Horror! I’ve been farming for well over an hour! Wow! I guiltily try not to think of all I could have done in that hour (including sleep) it’s almost 1 am now! I quickly shut down and leave my farm to grow on its own. It’s satisfying but it’s tiring!
I decide I have a busy day tomorrow and will not have time to go to the farm. Sure enough the next day is demanding and I come home after a meeting ready to collapse. But something in the brain pings. No, make that clicks. And mentally I change into my farmer’s overalls and there I am… farming.
Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.
It’s more than a week and I am bleary eyed. I am obsessed with my strawberries withering away. I worried about the wandering kittens in my farm. (Besides, I am constantly rearranging them. For once, these kittens listen). Now there is a clumsy reindeer too. I am trying to figure out where to put the additional cow shed. I am hankering after a brown cow so it can give me chocolate milk! (This is just plain ridiculous… chocolate milk? I don’t even like chocolate all that much! ) And I am anxiously waiting for the ugly duckling to turn into a swan!
Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.
Phew! This has got to stop.
Then one night when I am really really tired, and the rice crop is ready, I convince my daughter to do the harvesting for me. She does it unwillingly, accusing me of engaging in child labour. I turn over guiltily and fall into a dreamless sleep. Farmers do get really tired.
It took me some time to realise that like a whole lot of others I had fallen prey to the charms of a farming life. Now it was time to strengthen my resolve and get out of it. But it wouldn’t let go. New tentacles wound around me like the tendrils of the grape vine. Christmas was nearing and suddenly a whole lot of surprise gift packages began to arrive. Oh no! I moaned. And succumbed.
Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.
I finally did give up.
A New Year resolution never made before was now carved in a (Halloween)gravestone. I was giving up Charmville. I was not going to spend quality time growing virtual crops, milking virtual cows, expanding my virtual farm, spending virtual money to make more virtual money. I was coming back to reality.
So I abandoned my farm heartlessly on 1st of January 2010. The peach trees beckoned. The cows mooed. The clumsy reindeer ground his hooves. The chickens fluttered around. The cats purred sinuously. But no, I was as firm as a farmer without real land can be.
And as I abandoned acre after acre of my farm and found new quality time for myself, I gave it another name in my mind: Harmville!

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