In a world of hot takes and instantaneous reactions, where we’ve generally moved on from thinking about United Airlines and April the giraffe already…I keep having idle thoughts better suited to 3 years ago, when Frozen and “Pompeii” and 2048 were more freshly on our minds.
So. Idle question the first: did Elsa control all snow or just that which she caused? If my car is buried under a foot of snow, can she magically shift it? Honestly, what are the limits to her powers? How much effort would it take her to freeze an entire lake or ocean?
Second: Are there any youth pastors who got really into Bastille and did more overthinking of “Pompeii” than I did? The line Oh, where do we begin? The rubble or our sin? BEGS to be made into some kind of ridiculous Bible study, all “In a broken world full of distress, is it most needful to address physical needs and realities, or first see to spiritual wounds?” Or something. This is preposterous and I want it.
Third and lastly: 2048. When this first became a nationwide (worldwide?) phenomenon, I got really into it for a while – to the point of adding squares in my sleep, you know how it goes – until I gave it up for Pentecost. As you do.
Lately I’ve gotten back into playing it, and thus keep ruminating on the following: 2048 is like a microcosm of relationships and personality.
You’re young. You’re a 2. There are so many people and ideas for you to meet with, and any 2 will combine with you. You’re a 4, an 8, a 16. The combinations flicker by so fast, it’s hard to keep up. And all around you the same: 4s, 8s, 16s. The 32s fall into line beside each other.
At first, it’s harder not to run into a match, or a fit. Even a 64 or 128 can match up. There’s space to maneuver, 2s and 4s are doubling up 8s and 16s all the time. It’s quite fun, and nearly mindless, because very nearly anything will work out.
Until the board’s worked up to a 512 or 1024. Suddenly you’re a 64 or 128 or 256, perfectly reasonable – there’s even another 64 and 128 and 256 on the board.
You can see it. But you can’t reach it. You have no idea what would have to shift to bring the two together. Trying to calculate it – trying to predict whether 2s or 4s will appear (is there a formula?), figuring if it’s easier to reach the Largish Number on the other side of the world, or if you have the space/time to wait for a new one to double up – it all leaves you feeling overcalculating, frustrated and impotent if not outright insane, and, unsurprisingly, makes it all feel like work rather than play.
Sometimes your careful machinations work out (o frabjous day!) Sometimes they just give you a brief reprieve from Nothing Working Out At All, Ever. Nothing will move. Helpless, you know that if you could only shift this thing that way, all would fall into place beautifully.
Maybe you bungled it so many moves ago that you can never arrange things as they’d need to be arranged. Maybe you were so focused on a strategy involving one piece that you missed the opportunity to find or fashion another double elsewhere. Maybe you forgot that most elementary of facts about how pieces connect with the first match they run into, leaving that second match alone and forgotten.
Then the regret: if only you’d flicked things up instead of left. If only there weren’t such a plethora of skinny, pretty little 2s gumming up the works. All the cunning manipulation you’ve got, navigating all the blasted 2s in the world doesn’t change the fact that sometimes you’re a 256 or 512, and there just isn’t a 256 or 512 in sight for you.
It might all change, and quickly! Or you might just lose. Again.
You find you’ve run your battery down to 9%.
You feel that you’ve wasted your time and energy even playing.
…but even so, you wonder: what must it be like, to finally achieve that elusive, shining 2048?