Column: Minecraft and long-distance relationships in the age of COVID-19

Ryan Meyer

Lately my girlfriend Hailey and I have been manipulating free trials of Minecraft in order to play together. Larking through the pixelated meadows or spelunking the dark caves of the game with her has provided me with some of the only happiness I’ve experienced during this godawful *insert the overused, trendy, fad-like q-word here.* We talk on the phone as we play and tell each other what to do, much like real life. Minecraft is a ripe platform for dirty jokes and destruction, and both have been plentiful in our month and a half or so of playing.

I haven’t seen Hailey since February because we go to different schools and actually abide by the recommendations of the state government, unlike many of our peers, as seen by their boastful Snapchat posts, taking pride in endangering their loved ones by having pool parties and bonfires to celebrate birthdays that only bring them a day closer to the impending reality that is adulthood, a reality that they are so clearly unprepared for.

The feature on iPhones that shows which apps are used the most tells a story of long phone calls and FaceTimes between us, talking about nothing since there is nothing to talk about. My parents are likely as confused as can be when they walk past my bedroom, hearing me whisper-shout about zombies and creepers and the like. Those who have played Minecraft know the thrill of finding diamonds or setting off to beat the final boss, but for me these events have taken on a lot more significance considering they’re the only things currently in my life that I can even label as events.

I’m going to spare everyone the clichés that playing a game meant for children has made our relationship stronger through cooperation and achieving goals set every time we log on. That would be a ridiculous thing to say.

What’s made our relationship stronger is having to endure this prolonged stay-at-home order that isn’t going to end any time soon if our classmates keep going to their lake houses in Michigan to go tubing and share drinks while their parents turn a blind eye, parents that are honestly probably doing the exact same thing. Hailey and I, and millions of other couples, have been forced to adapt to these unfortunate circumstances brought about by the greed of millions of other people. Minecraft is just a dumb way to pass the time and take our minds off the fact that, because the man in the White House refuses to listen to scientists, we haven’t even been able to lay our eyes on each other. And Trump’s ignorance does nothing but offer justification to Americans for their selfish and dangerous acts.

According to history.com, Memorial Day is meant for “honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military,” and “Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades.” As most of us know, it is currently not wise to hold any type of gathering. So I’m sure everyone stayed home, maybe your dad grilled, and no one hung out with huge groups of high school friends and relived the glory days. Because that wouldn’t be safe, and it definitely wouldn’t be honoring the men and women who have served our country. Maybe one day Americans will have a holiday to honor those who died during the coronavirus pandemic, and everyone will continue to blame it on China. But it has nothing to do with China anymore. It has everything to do with American exceptionalism.

Until this is over, I’m going to keep playing Minecraft with my girlfriend and looking for the light at the end of the seemingly never-ending tunnel. But if you and your families make this last even longer, and Hailey and I run out of free trials, I’m going to be really upset. And if you’re offended by any of this, then you’re a part of the problem.

 

Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or rame[email protected]