There’s an Ingress badge called Sojourner. It’s the sole badge entirely within the player’s control, which requires a specific, constant action. Others happen as a result of play, though there’s a walking badge (Trekker) that is somewhat a choice of action. What you do for Sojourner is to hack a portal (e.g. play the game) once a day. Every day. Until you hit your milestones. It has five levels: 15 days, 30 days, 60 days, 180 and 360 days. About now you’re thinking about that Day 202 clue/title and going “hmmm he’s going for the last one.” Yes, this is Ingress, the world inside the scanner where only your phone and your agent statistics know if you hacked daily.* It’s a secret right? In reality, would anyone know if you went and stared at a historical site and registered an action in your phone?
Maybe if you took a photo. And a screen shot of your stats in your phone.
Or maybe the aliens who are coming want you to think this? If you follow the game mythology.
So Day 202 – Thursday February 8, 2017 – is my big challenge for this badge. I thought getting to Day 180 would be hard? Nope. It felt like a slide almost, and the relief of “halfway there going for bonus rounds” was awesome. Platinum is quite an achievement for anyone. I am not thinking too hard that there’s still 158 more days to go. Well maybe a little but I could give it up anytime. Anytime.
But this morning, I have the flu or the pseudo-flu: headache, chills, cough, cold, runny nose, sore throat, body aches, etc. I “recovered” enough the night before to go out and try to take out some fields built the Other Team. Mistake. I then stayed out too late. Way too late. The other side comes out apparently when Agent Varianor is on the move. Eh well, I should have gone home instead of going for one more round. I didn’t.
So I sleep in with a “fuckitall who cares about a badge” attitude.
And then the snow starts.
Yep, the plan had been to get out early at 7 AM before the roads got bad and go home and sleep till noon. Before I stayed out too late.
Time for a revision Bill. Because once I’m awake…hell yeah I’m going for it.
Silently I curse my optimism at 9:30 AM when I wake up to look out at a beautiful white snowscape. Elegant crystals of feather light powder snow waft down. For a moment I’d rather be skiing. For a long moment. Anyway, roads are quite bad. Not taking my Vibe on those.
So Plan B?
That means walking.
After a hot cup of coffee, a banana, and some DayQuil.
So anyone should ask themself at this point: “What’s a 50 year old guy doing getting on all this thick winter clothing to go walk a mile and a half to town in a blizzard to play a game when he should be home resting because he’s damn sick?”
I ask myself that a lot on the way down.
The fresh air feels nice. Really nice. My sniffles are okay. I wave at neighbors and chat briefly about – you guessed it – the weather. I remember hiking in the dark in a similar snowstorm with friends up the bluffs in Sunderland, Mass, when I went to college. On the road to the village, I also remember to get out of the way of oncoming plows and the handful of vehicles out.
It is beautiful, peaceful and quiet.
On the way down I start composing a poem in my head. I find the closest portal. Take it back. Get the hack in. Feel suddenly tired but happy. On the way back I do more composing in my head. And think.
Why am I out?
And yeah, I love wool socks.
Maybe because I love being outdoors. Maybe because I love the walk to the village, in any season. (Yes I have some albums on G+ featuring Collinsville.) Maybe because the air helps more than any medicine for me. Maybe because this game helps me focus? Maybe because I love being on my own feet more than anything, and I miss running when it snows?
Maybe it’s because despite being horribly sick, I know I have to go home and turn on the work portal and do things for my job. Because I have responsibilities that don’t stop and nobody does my work for me. A little rebellion?
Or maybe because this is a feat of endurance and accomplishment. And I’ve got something to prove to myself still. So there’s that, and I’m going to chew on it.
Have you ever done things you can’t quite figure out?
Please tell me about it. I’m curious. Would love to read your thoughts.
*Agent statistics are private or public, depending on the player’s choice. Most people hide theirs until they get their Guardian. And for an overly long take on that, I refer you to my prior post here.