Recreation — The Biggest Ramble

10 min readJan 21, 2024


Starfield is a grotesquely beautiful game, but my personal disappointment rests entirely in how utterly fucking boring it gets in terms of exploration. I’ve visited every star system, I set out to be the first to scan to 100% completion every planet. I gave up 7 days worth of time into it. That’s 168 hours, some of which was actually spent playing the game.

But I’m not here for Starfield, at least not in totality.

I’m here as I stick half a clonazepam under my tongue so that it will dissolve and hit me like a truck. It tastes faintly minty, a little sweet, like the dullest candy you can imagine, complete with chalk and some numbness. I don’t need it tonight, this is purely recreational - an inherent misuse of my prescription. It’s this or getting high with cannabis, and I kind of hate that one.

It was a tiktok really, this guy who just kinda sits there and enjoys beats. Usually he has lists, or musical comparisons. I don’t think I’ve ever heard his voice. You know the guy though. This time it was a list of songs that take you back to and wish for it to be 2010 again. The last item on the list was Summer by Calvin Harris and I set out to listen to it, noting that I actually should just put these beautiful in-ear headphones Dad got me into my obscenely tight ear canals and listen to music for a bit. A little bit into this adventure, I think, it would be nice if I was in the mood to appreciate this music a bit better.

It’s the points of interest in Starfield. They’re neat, and enjoyable to explore once or twice, depending. But these things slapped down randomly on planets you visit in your little fishbowl, they get repetitive. I’ve been on most of the planets. I stopped seeking POIs after a while. I’ve seen most of them, I’ve seen most of them multiple times. I will sooner reinstall and replay Skyrim mods (notably Clockwork) than visit the cryo lab one more time.

My clonazepam has dissolved entirely. The uptake is quicker, and you absorb it better…supposedly. This is entirely stupid, however. Not knowing the intended release of the drug — quick or slow — or its duration, can land you in some pretty hot water. It heightens the risk for abuse. It’s already misuse, if your med is intended to, you know, be swallowed. There are actually formulations of it that are meant to be dissolved under the tongue. Take it how you’re supposed to.

I don’t like THC. I recognize that it’s essential for CBD to function, and I’ve sought out formulations of the chemicals that push this to the extreme — an RSO with 30:1 CBD:THC was pretty much perfect, but it was an RSO: fucking awful to take. Attempting to freeze it into a dippin dot shape at least helped it go down, but it wasn’t a foolproof method. It was still this nasty little sticky tar thing from hell. We got some gummies from the med dispensary that are 20:1 that work all right for me, but I still have to split it in half and the THC affects me — at least they are easier to deal with.

It’s not a loss of control thing. It’s a fuzziness, a fog that lasts for a day. My memory then is worse than it is currently, and I am very tired. “Try sativa” no, absolutely not. It makes the world spin, it’s uncomfortable, it’s a ride I can’t get off soon enough. And that’s a thing that goes for THC generally, it’s always a ride I want to get off from (although that sativa spinning is fundamentally worse than the body buzz from indica). Extra bonus points for the THC headache, and of course the weed is an allergen, of which I react to.

For some reason I have this memory of Summer with very specific claps and beats that I just wasn’t hearing when I sought it out on Youtube. It’s entirely possible the in-ear buds are just not pushing enough bass through — although one of the reasons I chose this brand when Dad showed me his massive library of headphones was due to its clarity and well-rounded balancing, so perhaps not that. I’ll have to take note next time it pops up on Pandora, maybe it is a particular mix.

Choosing the ear-buds also had a lot to do with how they fit me. The ear canals… tiny. My right one is worse than the left and I’m uncertain if this is just a feature of my body, or if it has anything to do with the repeated ear infections I had as a child. Changes to structures can absolutely happen, but I don’t believe they would tighten the external canal, so it is extremely likely to just be the cards I’ve been dealt. Further out of my head, the shape of my ears makes certain ear-bud housings impossible to deal with. I needed something that wasn’t too bulky, or at least something that was far enough away from the in-ear portion that it could work. Then we go back in and discuss the variety of sizes for tips. I recall when younger there were options that were thin enough, but as time goes on, it’s gotten harder to find something so narrow. Silicone gets extremely uncomfortable after a short while…

So while we went through the library of buds, I dug through the tips and found…foam. Relatively narrow foam tips. Not as thin as the thinnest silicone, but the thing is… the foam softens and gets more comfortable after a while. It was a glorious discovery, and when Dad ended up gifting me a set of my own ear-buds, he also gifted me a tray of the same size foam tips. Just oodles of them, ready to be worn through in time.

Some hand-designed areas in Starfield are certainly worth exploring. I sought out as many decrepit ships as I could, after discovering one particularly unexciting one and finding that I enjoyed it immensely. It was a small tale of the hubris of man, and clearly things had gone wrong. Beyond that, however, were more horrifying stories. Scary things. Beautiful. Short of finding a number of the monsters inspiring enough to design adult toys after, it was definitely one of the biggest highlights in the game to me.

I’ve lied to you. I’m not abusing my medication for the sake of doing it. I am actually extremely anxious as of late, as the month nears its end and I am staring down $650 in typical bills, another $130 (or more?) for tests, all while having a nearly empty bank account. Not much in savings. Maxed credit card. In theory, I could move some things around to cover my car insurance, but I have yet to take action as I wait for some kind of work to either pay off, or something to fall into my lap and alleviate some of my immediate concerns.

There is definitely a bonus to the use of clonazepam when it comes to mood and music. I don’t get the synesthesia from being high as with cannabis, but it definitely elevates the experience. Arguably, this is purely a result from taking the edge off my anxiety, making it easier to appreciate things. And appreciate I will.

I’ve been quietly hoping that Pandora will cycle around to whatever version of Summer it plays at me, but I have also resigned to the notion that I will not hear it tonight. This is fine. There are other songs I will enjoy that it will play at me, and probably a few I’ll skip.

Pandora came up while watching a friend stream painting some miniatures earlier, as he expressed frustration that Spotify was not giving him anything worthwhile in suggestions. By far, Pandora wins in that avenue. I acknowledge being something of a rarity when it comes to Pandora. I’ve never found it frustrating, and went through various cycles of fiddling with the stations until they broke many, many years ago. While I’m uncertain if it’s still a thing, you could effectively create a station then that played only thumbs-upped songs and never showed you anything new. I didn’t much care for that, and approached stations differently, striking the right balance of encouraging it to show me new (or “new”) things while having it play me something I want to hear.

It has the benefit of having new music added to it with regularity too, catching even the release of a song (or perhaps it was an album?) on its first day. I remember purchasing an album as a result of that the moment I could.

And all of this started because I tried to pay for Pandora the first time, only for my card to not work (differentiate: it was not declined, the processing just did not work). I reached out to find a resolution as I wanted to have access to it, and was graciously comped for an entire year. At the time, this was $36, and I’ve certainly paid much more since, but it was that one action that kept me around. Has to have been 14 or 15 years? Just pushing Pandora into my ears.

My itty bitty ear canals in my Big, albeit perfect, ears. It was at my second-to-last appointment when my Dr shoved the little camera thing into my ear that I expressed discomfort with it. The disposable piece is just slightly too thick, especially for the right side, and I find it irritating. That time, it itched, and I followed up expressing the sensitivity while stating I was going to shove as much of my finger into my ear as possible to scratch it. I did just that.

Sometimes I think you’ve come across this, by the way. You told me I was a Good Writer and I hope by now I’ve proven you wrong. I am merely adequate.

The ear sensitivity does go a bit beyond just beyond Normal Things not fitting in my damn ears, or creating itching, or anything else. They’re definitely an erogenous zone on me. It somewhat contradicts the ticklishness, but I suppose in the right environment that can be advantageous too. Typically, however, I just have a gecko stick their foot in my ear, it tickles, and I get violent goosebumps on half my body. That’s a bit odd…so specific to one side?

I wonder about the differences in my sides.

The camera function in Starfield is a huge, huge step-up in many ways from what’s available in Fallout 76. The foreground blurring is a fantastic touch, although I’ve yet to try to force perspective enough to get a tilt-shift picture in the right environment (towns). I’m uncertain it’s even doable, but no reason not to try…whenever I open the game again. It’s been since September, I think the 22nd? Which…yeah, I spent nearly 30% of the time from its release until stopping playing the game — hours like a job.

I do feel better. I feel clearer, which is surprising. I am utterly exhausted and was fading a lot mentally, so I am surprised that this thing that typically does make me a little drowsy has cleared up some of the fog. Stress is…intense.

Stress has also been infinite. The world has lost color and volume since June. Getting through Christmas…Grandma’s birthday…Dad’s birthday. Mine is sometime within the next two months. It’s just different, and it’s depressing. The cemetery sent us a card for her birthday too. The message inside was nice, the outside is all Christian-y. I’m agnostic, Dad believes in…fucking aliens I guess. Grandma was atheist — if heaven and hell existed, earth was hell. I get it.

What I don’t get is…huh.

I wonder if my slightly more liberal use of cannabis had something to do with my serotonin toxicity. It wasn’t a huge increase in use, but it was more than I’d been imbibing in. There isn’t really anything else I can pinpoint, even a slow build wouldn’t make that much sense. Something changed within me. I’m just uncertain as to what.

I feel I could keep writing forever, honestly. I have to acknowledge, despite coming out of this clearer than going in, that I am exhausted. All the same, now I am feeling such a way that I want to exist in, awake, for a while.

So maybe I address you.

You’re…perplexing. See a series of issues, come out with an answer that doesn’t really make sense, but it’s correct. Certainly, you have a reasonable explanation. Experience, both in being around long enough to see it, or perhaps first or secondhand. Those latter things are not my business, I just wonder.

It wasn’t the first time either, but memory is shaky right now.

I have written you before as magical, a Unicorn. A uniquely amazing person to deal with, in a field where, honestly, you should be the norm. It is a combination of sweet and sorrow, where I am extremely lucky, and you are phenomenal, but it should be the sort of thing everyone else deals with. It is a bit hard to parse those feelings at times.

I have done the heavy lifting to sort feelings otherwise. I am smitten, but it does not matter.

But as it pertains to what folks should have, and what they largely do not, it is difficult. You have set an extremely high bar that others should strive to achieve. Yet…many do not? bizarre.

Perplexing. More toward how it seems you do, genuinely, have these moments that I can’t explain. There is reason, there has to be, but I cannot see it. Amazing.

Perhaps one day I’ll write a nice card or something, to express my gratitude and why I have it. You won’t see this, which is for the better.

I think I am fading.

Recreation…maybe not so much, maybe just doing something on a whim that I actually needed to do anyway. Sleep should at least not be hindered by all of the “what if.” And perhaps Monday will bring some money, and I will be less anxious generally. I can hope.

And moreover, I hope you are well. Know that you are appreciated. You are valid. You are important. And if you’re here — anyone reading this — I see you and I care.




Someone told me I was a good writer. I'm not, so this is a blog. Tend to one’s own flame, and do not extinguish the flames of others.