Few of us have been spared the indignity of sl putting us into a position that we’d rather not be in. It seems that the gremlins that work within the virtual world are incredibly adept at arranging for circumstances to contrive to cause us the maximum embarrassment at the least convenient moment. You can’t help wondering sometimes if it’s intentional – whether some rogue programmer or server-monkey at Linden Lab has set us all up so, that when things go wrong, they will do so with an unerring instinct for leaving us with egg on our faces.
It doesn’t help that event the most experienced of us, some with years of experience behind us in sl, are perfectly capable of embarrassing ourselves without any help whatsoever… i still haven’t mastered the art of walking through doorways or climbing stairs without falling off, neither have i given up wearing boxes in error or, conversely, losing small items of jewellery that i’ve mistakenly tried to ‘unpack’, thinking they were clonking great boxes. So, i could do without sl’s assistance in the ‘making me look a plonker’ department, thank you very much!
It is, i know, a vain hope – i’m completely resigned these days to a second life typified by such embarrassing interludes as wandering round wearing one and a half pairs of shoes, or having my feet sticking out of where my shins appear to be; sporting two sets of hair, or none at all; logging in to find myself in somebody else’s home, usually just as they’re indulging in a romantic liaison; turning up naked to parties; arriving at venues and then proceeding to try to walk through all the people and objects that are completely invisible to me; or, as is usually the case, all of the above at the same time!
Then there’s the weird and wonderful stuff that sl throws at us like ‘the incredible folding avatar’ – rendering you capable of performing acts of bendiness that would bring tears to the eyes of a yoga expert, or the ‘head spinning around like something out of the exorcist thing’ – extremely confusing if you’re trying to dance with someone and you’ve no idea which way round your body is facing.
That’s half the trouble, of course – it’s not so much that we don’t expect sl to do weird things all the time occasionally, it’s the way in which they sneak up on us and catch us completely unaware, leaving us floundering and wondering what the hell is going on. It’s a relatively simple thing to extricate yourself from under a building, but it’s rather more challenging when you end up underneath said building when you’d expected to TP to your local shoe shop. It can be a quite disconcerting interval while you work out that you have indeed arrived at your destination, albeit underwater and somewhere beneath the store that you intended visiting.
One of my fond memories of being a fairly innocent noob was the occasion i somehow managed to get myself stuck halfway up the wall of a club, gently rotating, and completely incapable of extricating myself… what those around me must have thought, i dread to think. These days, i still get stuck behind walls, inside things i should be outside and in positions that i didn’t think it was possible to assume – even though i now tend to take it in my stride, there’s still that momentary “What the…?” moment, when you have absolutely no idea how you came to be there, or indeed, where ‘there’ actually is.
Let’s not forget the really sneaky things that sl is capable of doing – like dumping you in the middle of nowhere, mid-TP, or – as happened to me only this week – completely spuriously dumping you somewhere you didn’t expect to be, for absolutely no reason whatsoever. One moment i was attempting to drive my car in a straight line without wrecking too many buildings in the process driving my car, merrily along the street, the next i found myself in mid-air, across the other side of the sim, apparently demonstrating the moves from a well-known South Korean viral hit! i had no choice, other than to simply hang there, doing ‘heyyy sexy lady’ until sl had finished having its fun and decided to return me to my original pursuit.
Sometimes, i can’t help thinking that there’s a much wider agenda here than we’re being made privy too. Is sl some sort of behavioural experiment, in which we hapless individuals are thrown into novel situations simply so that white-coated researchers can record and examine our reactions? Errrm, sorry – paranoia setting in there! Obviously, it’s nothing of the sort… it’s just a game… or is it?
Left the vagabonds
A trail of stones
Forward to find my way home
Now as the air grows cold
The trees unfold
And I am lost
And not found
Beirut – Vagabond