September 28, 2012 by JL Walker
In As You Like It, all the world was a stage, because we all play a certain part in life. But the world can also be interpreted as a game: you have to learn the rules before you can play. Life as a game has been my inspiration for this website. With the arrival of gamification in recent years, and with more and more generations growing up on traditional games as well as many forms of videogames, this concept may become even more true.
Look, Jack, I don’t have a lot of personal life experience, but if I have learned anything from my Sims family… when a child doesn’t see his father enough, he starts to jump up and down, and then his mood level will drop until he pees himself. – Liz Lemon in 30 Rock
Liz Lemon uses a computer game to provide insight for a real life problem. The Sims uses specific rules to simulate human life which is essentially just a more complex version of a boardgame I grew up playing, in which you choose a career and a spouse, have children, buy a house and retire.
Just like playing any new game, in life there’s an initial period in which you’re learning the rules before you can succeed. Living in a foreign country heightens this concept: when you experience a new culture, you have to learn the rules to a game you thought you already knew how to play. There’s a learning curve. Because there’s no official rulebook, if you’re lucky, you have someone to help explain the rules, especially during the early stages.
Here are the top 5 rules I’ve learned which apply to life in Milano, but not in small-town Midwest:
- Many non-essential driving laws are optional if there aren’t police around. That means you should expect to find scores of double-parked cars on you morning bike commute, cars that slow down instead of stopping at stop signs and flexible interpretations of the speed limit. (There are so many rules of the road that were new to me, this is just a summary.)
- Food rules are different. Here are just a few: no cappuccino after 5pm, always eat dessert before drinking coffee, salad is served at the end of the meal, lunch is eaten at 1pm and dinner at around 8 or 9pm.
- If you’ve gotten a number to wait in line for a service (I’m thinking about the post office here, but this is true in so many situations) and just have a question, you can cut to the front of the line to ask your question
- No need to form an acutal line when you’re standing in line. Also, cutting in line is permitted as long as the person you’re cutting in front of doesn’t notice or doesn’t care. So, if you want to keep your place in line, be vigilant!
- Cheek-kissing: 2 or 3 kisses, always starting with the right cheek
Are there any rules that should be in the top 5 that I’ve left out? I wonder what the rules of the game would be for someone moving from Italy or Europe to the US?