My mother has become addicted to the game Bejewled while she’s been visiting me. Every morning, I’ve found her sitting at my desk, moving the glowy shapes around the screen, and smiling at the sounds – clicking sounds – like pearls on a necklace rubbing together, shattering sounds – like the most gentle glassy crash through a window, explosive sounds – the perfect cherry bomb, and fantasy sounds, not unlike the U.S.S. Enterprise‘s transporters.

Admittedly, it’s my own fault that she’s hooked on this game. After all, if I hadn’t purchased a new cell phone, and started playing it myself, if I hadn’t downloaded the game from Pop-Cap, she’d never have heard of it.

But I did.

Then, of course, I made the mistake of showing it to my stepfather, who things computer Solitaire is the alpha and omega of gaming fun. I thought he’d find, as I do, that there’s something zen-like in the playing of this game. (All through NaNoWriMo, I’d do 500 words, then play two games, 500 words, then play – it kept me sane, and let my mind wander to the next scene I needed to write.) Instead, he said, “No, it’s far too overwhelming for me,” and told my mother to try it.

And so, more often than not, she’s excused herself, over this last week, to “go check email” only to give herself away by not lowering the volume on my computer, when she begins to feed her digital addiction. “I like the sounds,” she says, in the same tone a pot-smoker would use to share the joys of being high. “They’re so pretty!”

She’s already displaying disturbing junkie-like tendencies – whining that she wants to play right now, and that I should turn off my game to allow it. “I’m leaving in the morning. I’m your only mother. I birthed you from my loins.” If I hadn’t handed her a mug of strong coffee not five minutes prior, I’d have been convinced she was in caffeine withdrawl. As it is, I think her hands were trembling.

So, what did I do? Well, I have not given up the computer yet, as evidenced by this entry, but I did make her unpack her data-key (aka USB drive) and, because I’m a good daughter (even if I don’t keep the fridge stocked with Milano cookies all the time), I gave her a copy of the program. (Shhh! Don’t tell!)

I’ll be logging off soon, heading to bed so I can see her off tomorrow morning at five. And she – she’ll be up here, playing Bejewled.

At least the game uses the mouse, which keeps her from banging on my keyboard, the way she usually does.

Note: The actual game is Bejewled 2 Deluxe.