I’m in the process of making 7,722 Septim (Skyrim’s form of currency) from one outing to a bandit and Corundum ore filled mine. After sneaking around and providing the hard working miners and their task master bandit bosses with arrow enemas, I returned to the trading hub of the area, Whiterun, to fence my goods. As the coin kept adding up from the sell of my goods, 60 Minutes tells a story of harsh reality in the background.
The story focuses on the Cleveland area housing market tragedy that is still playing out but a quick glance lets you know it could be Anytown, USA.
“I serve about 50 eviction notices a month.” says a sheriff from one Cleveland suburb.
“This is no future. More of the same, more of the same.” states former County Treasurer Jim Rokakis to the 60 Minutes reporter Scott Pelley in regards to the housing problems facing Cleveland (this part of the interview can be seen here). Standing in front of a metal stripped abandon home, one of the many left behind because the balance owed on the mortgage now far surpasses the worth of the home, the interview hits home.
I get sucked in and then return to the task of selling off my well earned shinies. As I wrap up my cash cow of an adventure I start walking Randy Stardust to his home in Skyrim. Yes, I am a home owner, clear and free. For 5,000 Septim and the dispatching of a dragon (sure it helped make that house a bit more affordable) I was allowed and able to purchase a home in Skyrim’s boom town, Whiterun. I also took over an abandon home in Markath, hopefully not because someone was under on their mortgage and left. I also plan on purchasing at least three more homes in Skyrim’s major cities, all clear and free. I don’t plan on purchasing a home in reality in the foreseeable future. Not for another five years, ten years, and on… Wonder why someone can take so much enjoyment from playing in a virtual world?
Back on the television, a reporter sets at a table with a group of people who are barely hanging on to their homes, some just waiting on an eviction notice. I step away from the world of Skyrim. I listen to their stories; teachers who recently lost their jobs, sickness coupled with job loss and housing developments that went bust and put the worth of their homes on a continuous downward spiral.
I set there for a bit. I stare at Randy Stardust on my screen as he gets ready to just hit Enter, so he can sleep. I think ahead to when I will be doing the same in a couple of hours, with dread. I think about the job market, my unemployment and my financial independence, all while trying to sleep. I think about my apartment and the coming resigning of my lease. Taxes. The silly idea of one day owning a home. I wish I could just fucking hit Enter and sleep. I wished I owned a home, had a job that could bring in the Septims like Randy Stardust and go to sleep with no multiple hours of tossing and turning. I am envious of my avatar!
I look back at the TV as a women sheds tears at the thought of losing her home. She expresses her concerns about working her entire life so she could own her home and use it to help in her retirement years. She speaks to the reporter with fear and uncertainty. I instantly relate, a couple of tears roll down my face. I look back at Randy standing in front of me as “Well Rested” flashes in the upper left hand corner of the screen. I laugh. “You shit head.” I mutter laughingly at Randy’s Elven face.
I bring up his quests yet to be completed and then think of my own, find a career developing job. I reflect on my phone interview and the follow up in-person interview from that Friday. I smile again at Randy, “You glorious adventuring bastard.” I send him on his way to complete another quest with hopeful rewards. I think about my own quest with the same optimism.