That moment, when you’re walking down the street and someone’s coming the other way on your flight path. Judging your moment, you alter course, stepping to the right, inevitably coinciding with your protagonist’s finely planned step to their own left. Still on a collision course but now feeling somewhat self-conscious, you fain disinterest and – taking care to avoid eye contact – gradually drift back to your original route. Feeling pleased with yourself, you look up, only to find that the oncoming stranger has unconsciously mimicked your evasive action and now, with a collision looming ever closer, drastic action is needed.
It’s at this point that you both engage in the High Street Tango – a complicated dance routine where you bob from side to side, an apologetic and embarrassed smile upon your face until, with a final flourish, you both end up face to face. Street protocol now requires you to indulge in a ritualised display of manners and etiquette – a remarkable display of body language over speech as, with a meaningful look and a flourish of the hand, you invite your opponent to step past. ‘No, after you’, comes the mute reply; ‘but i insist!’, comes your silent retort and, with ever more elaborate hand gestures and grimacing, the battle takes its course. If this was a romantic novel, it’s at this point that a beautiful friendship and/or torrid affair is born – however, this is Seren’s blog, so we’ll be having none of that nonsense, thank you very much!
Since this is my blog, it’s time to apply the usual virtual SLant to the aforementioned scenario, which is acted out in the virtual world in much the same way, albeit with some subtle differences. The first of these variations is a simple matter of logistics – in sl it’s a rare occasion that you have sufficient control over your movements to even contemplate partaking of the true High Street Tango – nevertheless there’s a very good chance that, due to the same lack of control, you’ll find yourself taking part in this graceful and balletic display completely spuriously and with absolutely no intervention on your part. Indeed, if you do attempt to evade the situation, there’s every chance you’ll just make matters far worse – better to just watch and let the drama unfold on your screen.
The second common variation on this sl theme does away with the whole masquerade of politeness in favour of extreme rudeness – with this in mind, i’d quite understandably like to pin the blame firmly upon those pesky noobs, but i’m ashamed to say that even seasoned residents can be equally guilty of this shameful practice. Let’s return a moment to our classic rl scenario – you’re strolling along the street, minding your own business, when a stranger appears coming towards you. There’s plenty of room to pass, so you continue on your way, pondering on a few pleasantries you might exchange about the weather as you pass. It’s not to be – suddenly, just metres apart, the stranger makes a beeline for you, briskly striding into your personal space then – Blam! – knocks you flying as they single-mindedly plough onwards on their intended route. This manoeuvre is what i call the SLam Dunk – where the oncoming stranger slams straight into their hapless victim who is them dunked unceremoniously onto the floor, through an adjacent window, into a brick wall or off the edge of a sky platform, to plummet several hundred metres to the ground below. Sometimes, i can’t help but be grateful that sl is so different in some ways to rl – otherwise our casualty departments would be even more busy than they are now.
i can’t say that i’ve ever been purposely guilty of that particular heinous sin – that is, it’s not the sort of thing that i’d do on purpose or if i could avoid it. i grant you, there have been times that that i’ve had the odd accident that has resulted me in performing the sl version of the Tango and, i have to say, it’s even more embarrassing than doing it in rl.
Yes, i know it can’t be helped and i know that everyone manages to bump/ram/catapult somebody into the next Sim on occasions, but that doesn’t make it any less butt-clenchingly bad. Take a recent evening at the pub – i rode up, looking forward to spending an evening unwinding, to find a stranger stood near the bar. Plenty of room to get past, i thought to myself; so i eased my horse forward, aiming for the gap between the visitor and the wall.
i missed – badly.
Poor chap, i knocked him clean across the pub – somehow, ‘sorry’ didn’t seem to cover it. Fortunately, the new guy was the friendly and forgiving type and took it all in good humour, so i parked the horse in the corner and got down to some socialising. You know how it is when things just go from bad to worse and you’re watching it happen as if in slow motion? The poor fellow nipped off to attend to something important in rl and – whilst he was AFK – the damn horse decided to go for a wander, knocking him flying once again. It was one of those toe-curling ‘get-me-outta-here moments’ – so now the somewhat bruised and battered guy is practically stood on top of me, about a million miles from where he originally started; there was only one thing for it, (gosh i feel awful just at the memory) – yes folks, i actually pushed him back to to his starting point!
Am i a terrible person?
If nothing else, i’ve learned one of SLife’s little lessons… Never take your horse into the pub – it’s a surefire recipe for disaster!
I danced with a girl to the tune of a waltz
that was written to be danced on the battlefield
The Clash – Rebel Waltz