Holiday boredom & soul-sucking evil.

I knew I’d get to use this pic someday. It was the Saints who saved Xmas, regardless of the spurious claims you might’ve heard recently. Also, if my boredom took on a physical form, this is exactly what it would look like. Exactly.

For me, the best part about Christmas falling on a Monday isn’t “yay, three-day weekend!!!”, it’s, “yay, Xmas Eve isn’t on a weekday!!!”

My workplace has a tradition for Christmas Eve. Not a fun tradition, like opening presents or eating lots of pie or throwing mashed potatoes at creepy uncle Joe or setting the turkey on fire. No, our ongoing, won’t-stop-no-matter-what-you-do tradition is to spend the entire workday in a state of utter boredom.

I’m not stating that strongly enough. We’re not talking, “Gee, I’m bored,” we’re talking “staring into a black pit of despair”-type boredom.

I hate having nothing to do. If I’m at work, and I don’t have anything to do, I’ll invent work. And then do it. This has occasionally led to some really useful and sometimes even totally awesome improvements. Other times, it just gave me something to point to later on and say, “Actually, I looked into that, and it won’t work. Here’s why…”

Having something to work on makes time pass. Having nothing to work on is like volunteering to do eight hours of hard time in the Phantom Zone, which will magically feel like eight years.

Thankfully, times when I have nothing to do are few and far between, but it always seems to happen on Christmas Eve.

Mysteriously, I always seem to finish whatever-it-is that I’m working on just before Christmas Eve. Then I send it off for people to look at / approve / review / whatever. I expect that they’ll get back to me quickly, and then I can work on any changes that are needed.

Except in the run-up to Christmas Eve, expecting people to get back to you promptly is like putting “Tardis” on your Christmas list. You can wish and hope and dream, but it’s not going to happen. At best, you get a fake plastic Tardis. Or, in office terms, you wait a few days and then get an email that says, “Great, thanks, we’ll look at that!”

On Christmas Eve, nobody wants to work. I sit there, waiting for requests that never come. Half the office doesn’t show up to begin with, so the place is practically deserted. There’s a dead-zone hush surrounding me all day long.

I attempt, valiantly, to come up with something to do — anything — except that hush, and the empty offices, and the knowledge that no one’s going to ask for anything all day long combine to oppress my spirits and squelch any motivation that I try to drum up. My desire to do something is crushed beneath the weight of dozens of souls, all crying out in apathy.

Meanwhile, the seconds tick by, each one lasting an eternity. The slightest sound has my ears straining for the welcome sounds of work approaching, only to be disappointed time and time again.

One path to escape, many paths to boredom.

New Year’s Eve is just as bad. Any day-before-a-holiday is bad, really, but nothing can compare to the soul-devouring boredom that is the Eves. Thankfully, the Eves fall on Sunday this year, so I won’t be bored then. But there were apparently plenty of other bored people, because thousands of them tuned in to watch this guy do nothing for 10 hours.

The day after Christmas is looking just as bad as the Eves usually are, unfortunately. My day hasn’t officially started yet, but I took a peek, and the number of people who are out of the office is insane. There’s nobody here but us chickens. Or, in office terms — people who drew the short straw.

I had a moment this morning. On my way out the door, my eyes happened to fall upon my Vita, and I was sorely tempted to snatch it up and bring it with me. Just in case.

I spent all of Christmas weekend playing Persona 5. This is the first Persona I’ve played, and I actively resisted it for a long time. Everything about the game screamed, “You’re going to hate this!” to me. I don’t particularly care for the anime look, to start with. Or gratuitously skimpy clothes, which always seems to be a given. Also, turn-based combat is not one of my favorite things ever; there has to be something else about the game sucking me in. What I’d heard of Persona 5‘s music, I hated.

Of course, everybody and their dog has been screaming, “Yay, Persona 5!” for months now. Words like “best ever” and “masterpiece” keep getting thrown around all willy-nilly (there’s that red squiggly line again. People, “willy-silly” is NOT a thing!) Friends (ok, the spousal unit’s friends) raved about it. It popped up on a PS flash sale, so I finally said what the hell. I’ll hate it, and I’ll be mad that I spent the money, but I should at least give it a whirl.

Five minutes in, I was groaning about the music.

Twenty hours later…

Yeah, ok, so I was wrong. Ok? Ok. Shut up.

And that music is the spawn of demonic ear-worms.

Persona 5 is another game that, annoyingly, won’t let you take screenshots. So, yeah… I’m taking pictures of the television screen with my phone again. At least you can dress up for the holidays.

But that isn’t even the dumb part. Here’s the dumb part:

Before P5, I was sorta kinda vaguely aware of the series. Aware in a very peripheral way, at best. It got stuck in the “doesn’t look like my kind of thing” bin and was ignored, basically. At least, that’s what I thought. Or would have thought, if I’d thought about it at all. Except after playing the goddamn game for 20+ hours with no signs of impending boredom, I started thinking — why did I ignore this series? And just when was the last one released? So I grabbed my phone, pulled up trusty Google, and took a gander.

Persona 4 was released for the PS2 in 2008. Huh. Geez. That’s a long time to go between games. And I see here that they ported it to the Vita in 2012, but called it Persona 4 Golden…

Wait a minute.

That sounds… familiar.

So I grabbed my Vita. Back when, I bought an aftermarket case for it that holds the system plus has little slots and pockets for cartridges. The games I played most filled up the individual pockets, and the games I rarely played were stuck in a larger pocket. I pulled them all out, and to my utter shock, found, yes, a copy of Persona 4 Golden. Sonofabitch.

No, I never played it. I never even stuck the cartridge in the Vita. Not once. Ok, so… apparently I’ve had this game in my possession for years, I can’t find any evidence that I actually purchased it, and I don’t remember getting it in the first place. It’s been rattling around in there this whole time, and it only sounded familiar because I would occasionally look through the games to find something, spot it, and toss it aside. Yet somehow, this never struck me as odd. I know it didn’t come with the Vita, because I got the Assassin’s Creed bundle, fer crying out loud.

No, that’s not creepy at all.

So now, not only am I completely sucked into a game that’s going to take a huge chunk of time to finish, I have a second one to play. And that one’s portable.

It really was best that I didn’t bring it with me. Really. Pit-of-despair boredom at work + readily available game = bad news.

I intended to spend the long weekend rampaging through games that have holiday content and throwing out screenshots like a… a drunk… confetti-throwing…  person. Instead, Persona 5 devoured my soul.

Hopefully that mysterious P4 cartridge won’t turn out to be some hell-spawned object that magically appeared in my collection and is just waiting for me to boot it up, which will result in the unwitting summoning of holiday-themed demons into the really real world… (Look, we’ve already established that I watch entirely too many horror flicks…)

We know what to do with evil elven minions ’round here. Take that, creepy zombie elves.

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