It is perfectly fair to say – and not something you’d ever find me disputing – that, in many ways, i am a little bit odd. It’s people like me, for whom finding any sort of a niche into which we can comfortably fit in rl can be a tricky task, for us sl is a heaven-sent opportunity. There’s usually a pretty good chance that, however you may choose to categorise yourself, you’ll find someone/somewhere in sl where you’ll feel comfortable and that you fit in, and even if you can’t, there’s nothing stopping you from creating your own little world into which you can become completely immersed.
Going further, i suspect that there may be quite a few of us who may feel far more comfortable – in many respects – within sl than we do out in the big wide world. Certainly, in sl we can usually pick and choose our company, location and activities – something that is denied to us to some extent in rl. The real world is full of those ‘icebreaker’ moments that are forced upon us at seminars and training events, where we’re forced to partner up with a complete stranger and tell them something ‘interesting’ about ourselves. In my case, the ‘interesting’ fact is almost certainly ‘At this moment in time i’d really like to hide under the nearest table until the whole thing is over!’ – if we keep our wits about us, (or simply keep ourselves to ourselves), we can avoid such disquieting moments altogether in sl.
Back in the dim and distant days of 2010, i wrote a piece about having a place to call ‘home’ inworld. At the time i mentioned that it had been quite some time after joining sl that i personally discovered any need to have a space to call my own. In the article i mentioned how ‘home’ represented a place of safety, where we can find food, warmth and shelter, although – to quote myself – “I think we can dismiss food and warmth as being necessary for our wellbeing in Second Life – they’re obviously surplus to our requirements”.
With the benefit of hindsight, and now finding myself in a position where my inworld home has developed, over time, into a clearly defined concept and an intimately personal space, i think it’s time that perhaps i should revisit and reconsider that particular statement. On the face of it, it is pretty much a logical and rational argument – food and drink are unnecessary in a virtual world, (leaving aside breedables and other scripted beasties – which i’m not concerned with here), however if we look at such things from a conceptual point of view – that of sustenance and comfort – then maybe they do have a role to play in assisting with creating that niche that we may be seeking, and which we may be lacking in the real world.
Take the manner in which we choose to furnish our sl homes – the furniture and fittings that we select will no doubt owe much to their style and aesthetic appeal but i’m pretty certain that i’m not the only person who has been persuaded to buy a sofa or a bed in sl, at least in part due to how ‘comfortable’ it might be! This, in some respects, is madness – but if our sl home is a place to which we flee to from the real world: a place where we seek peace, solace and comfort in its broadest and most encompassing remit, then it does make a certain sort of weird sense. In the same way, if sl is going to meet those very needs that the real world is most inadequate at achieving, then we must be able to receive some form of sustenance from it. Here, sustenance is not necessarily food and drink, rather it is those things that make us feel fulfilled and that our needs – physical, emotional and spiritual – are being fully met. As that bloke from Nazareth once said, “Man cannot live on bread alone” – the things that sustain us come in many forms, not all of them tangible or readily explained.
Returning to myself – my sl home has become an extraordinary place to me – i may not spend a huge amount of time there, but it is a far more relaxing, enjoyable and – at times – more spiritually and emotionally relevant place, than my real world abode. An odd thing happened to me this week which brought all this into sharp focus for me, and which will no doubt convince you that not only am i completely out of my tree, but quite possibly beyond any help at all!
Those who know me well will know that coffee is ‘my thing’ – there are few things that can calm me, soothe me or bring me back to life more readily than a cup of strong, high quality coffee – i’ve even written about it before on this blog! It’s not just the coffee that works for me: the whole act of preparing, grinding and brewing the perfect cup is something that has its own unique and special way of bringing balance and perspective into any situation. It’s slower, more demanding and infinitely more precise than just bunging a spoonful of coffee granules into a cup and dousing with hot water, but it’s so much more special, (and it tastes better too!).
You won’t find any of those fancy, shiny coffee machines in my kitchen either… for espresso, it has to be my stove-top Bialetti; for Greek, it has to be made in a proper briki, and; when i really feel the need for the whole coffee ‘experience’, there’s only one choice – my vacuum syphon coffee maker. Quite by accident, whilst wandering inworld this week, i found a syphon, and not just any old syphon, but the self-same syphon that sits in my rl kitched at home! Of course, i had to have it, and now it sits on my stove in sl.
Here’s the odd bit: i don’t need coffee in sl, much less the equipment to make it; neither is my new acquisition capable of making coffee of any sort, virtual or real, nevertheless it is an item that i simply would not now give up. Somehow, bringing that one thing, which in rl can make such a huge difference to my day, into my virtual home has made it more of a home than ever before. It has made the niche i’m carving out for myself in sl even more Seren-shaped, even more personal and even more a place that i want to be.
Pop in sometime, and i’ll make you a coffee.
I’m just as fucked up as they say
I can’t fake the daytime
Found an entrance to escape into the dark
Got false lights for the sun
It’s an artificial nocturne
Metric – Artificial Nocturne