Recently, the young teenage girl I nanny wanted to show me a few youtube videos she discovered with her friends. She pulled up the clip and the initial black screen appeared with the spinning dotted circle in the middle to indicate that the video was loading. She let out an irritated sigh and pressed the down button arrow on her keyboard. Instantly, the classic loading circle broke into a line and started moving down the screen. She used the arrows to control the direction the line would move, and navigated it to a blinking dot on the opposite corner. I was confused for a moment before I realized she was playing a type of Pacman. I had no idea this feature was built into the system, but she acted as if it there were nothing unordinary about it. Although the waiting period for the video to buffer only took about thirty seconds, she could not sit without entertainment.
That night, I looked up a video and when the loading circle appeared, I sat uncomfortably. I found myself pressing the down button arrow and entering into the game over the buffering screen. After making a mistake turn and hitting the wall, the line buzzed to show that I lost, and it quickly started me over from the beginning. At that point I realized it had become harder for me to go without something to do, even if for only a few moments. This game had validated my feeling of boredom, and it provided me with a quick escape from just blinking at a black screen. Although the game was enjoyable, I was surprised at myself for feeling the need to be constantly stimulated. I took my finger off the track pad, sat back, and waited for the video to load. Granted, it took less than a minute, so I wasn’t expected an overwhelming sense of conquest over my fidgeting fingers. But disengaging from the computer as I waited allowed me the chance to reach for my cup of tea and take a sip. Good thing too -it was beginning to get cold.