The older i get, the more bonkers i become… either that, or the further back into childhood i regress. i’m very much a creature of habit, but that’s not to say that i don’t develop new habits all the time, some of which do make me wonder what on earth is going on in that little space where you’d imagine such things as commonsense really ought to reside. Instead, i’m increasingly finding a head full of weirdness and oddity.
Take, for example, the rather odd habit that i’ve begun to develop in recent weeks that has started to become a sort of pre-logout ritual in sl. When that time comes to return to the real world, either at the end of a happy night’s partying or at any other time of day, for that matter, you’ll frequently find me going for a final wander around my little spot of sl paradise – Nowhere Land. It’s a great way to unwind and to enjoy the last few minutes of being logged-in… a quick constitutional along the beach, through the pine trees and poppies, enjoying the birdsong and peace of the virtual countryside.
Nothing at all wrong with that, of course, but it’s the next bit that is, frankly, just a smidgen weird. You see, i’ve got into the habit of putting myself to bed before logging off. After a wander around the cornflowers, more often than not, i’ll make my weary way up the stairs and past the waterfall into my cave sanctuary, jump into bed, tuck myself in and, as i snuggle into the bed covers, i’ll watch myself drift off to sleep as i log back in to reality. It’s become so much of a habit in recent weeks that if i happen to be away from home, spending some time working away at some new building project for Haven Heavy Industries, once i down tools and mop my weary brow, rather than simply log out as i would previously have done, i now make the rather weird effort to find a comfy spot to curl up and snooze. Which is why, amidst the industrial chaos and grime of the HHI factory, you’ll find a handy tree, sporting some comfortable boughs, in which i can curl up under a leaf and drift off to sleep.
This is something i find to be rather weird.
Why, in a world where sleep is unnecessary have i developed this rather odd need to retire at the end of my virtual day? Why is it that my friends are quite content to poof where they stand, yet i will seek out a comfy spot, lie-down and seek the release of sleep, even if it means returning home in order to do so? Coming to think of it, when i think back to the long days of summer, and my camper van pulled up on Echo Beach, you’d quite often find me climbing aboard, closing the doors and settling down for a nap prior to logging out… all of it completely unnecessary, of course.
It strikes me that this – perhaps endearing, possibly freaky – habit may well spring from deep inside… i am someone for whom the concept of ‘home’ and my own private space are very powerful aspects of my life. To have somewhere to belong, where i can surround myself with my own things and shut the world firmly ‘outside’ is immensely important to me and, just maybe, this desire and need is being expressed in my inworld bedtime ritual?
Those of you familiar with Maslow, and to some extent Hertzberg, will appreciate the deepseated need that people have for security and shelter and for their ‘animal’ needs to be met, and although i’d argue that when it comes to some of the higher needs, i simply don’t fit the theory, those very basic requirements are absolutely fundamental to my comfort and wellbeing. There is something inside me that gravitates to a place of security and shelter, and where could this be better exemplified than in having the luxury of being able to curl up in bed, without a care in the world, in a place where one feels safe and secure? Am i in some way consigning my avatar to a place of safety into the arms of sl in preparation for my psyche’s return to the less-than safe and secure environment that the real world, to which i am about to return, can offer?
This raises some fascinating and challenging questions for me; questions that i’m far from qualified to attempt to answer… can a virtual world touch us on such a deep and basic level than it can change our concept of what is means to be safe and sound? Is it indeed possible to achieve peace of mind in a virtual world, that can somehow better enable us to deal with the rigours of the real world?
And, when i close my virtual eyes at night, do i dream of pixel realities?
Take my hand
We’re off to never never-land
Metallica – Enter Sandman