It is Wednesday evening, around 7pm. My brother must be working late. Or perhaps going out for drinks or dinner. Actually, I don’t know. He could be doing a number of things. But he is not playing Words With Friends on the normal schedule. So my best guess is that he is doing something tonight. This is my interpretation anyway. As this is how we communicate on a daily basis, playing Words With Friends.
It is not our only form of communication. We do see each other in real life and we do message each other. But Words With Friends is our ‘I’m still here and I’m going about my normal day’ kind of communication. It suits us both as we can be a quiet pair.
At first, I thought it was just another app game to try out and maybe forget about in a week. I was not fond of word games and I have never played Scrabble. But it was my first experience of playing against someone else in a mobile game. Games like Draw Something, SongPop and Quiz Up followed later but did not stick around.
Words With Friends survived. Maybe because it was quicker to play and it doesn’t require sound. Or maybe we had settled into a schedule. Over five years later, most days of the year, we play Words With Friends.
This is how it usually works - if it is a working day, I wake up and go about my business. Then after checking my email, Twitter, Facebook etc., I play two games of Words With Friends with him. At one stage we got carried away and had about eight games going at once but that was too much and so we settled on two games. I’m not sure why we don’t just play one. Anyway, this morning communication is the ‘I’m Awake and Going to Work’ round of games.
The ‘I’ve Finished Work’ round of games is sometime around 5:30 to 6:30pm. Lastly, there is the ‘End of the Day’ round which can be anywhere between 9pm and the early hours. On the weekends, the times are less defined and the number of rounds can be from zero to dozens.
This schedule is important to me. It means everything is okay and in order. I don’t panic when he doesn’t play for several hours or even a day. We can both be pretty busy and we know when the other is on holiday or away for some reason.
Recently my brother took my dad to hospital to get a minor cut on the head checked out. Everything was okay but it explained a break in the schedule. Sometimes I worry about my parents. They are in good health but as they get older I worry that will change. A break in the schedule could mean that everything is not okay or in order. There could be chaos. But logic reminds me that if something was wrong I would be contacted by my family. A break in the schedule could mean nothing. So maybe I shouldn’t read too much into the schedule.
Words With Friends does have a built-in chat feature. But my brother and I only use it to point out if one of the words we played is a reference to a line in Arrested Development. Or to accuse each other of cheating if one of us plays a word scoring over 100 points. So if we wanted to talk and ask each other how our day was, we could. But we don’t and I prefer the schedule as it is. Just checking-in and saying hello by playing words like ‘QIS’ and ‘ZAS’.
At least this is how it is in my mind. For my brother, it could just be that he really enjoys playing Words With Friends.
You can find me on Twitter at @time_sandwich