As a general rule, i tend to be a bit wary of things beginning with the letter M… Motorways, monkeys, mud, morons, mirrors, meetings and mosquitoes all get a wide berth where i’m concerned, as does the mainland in sl.
Not that i have anything against the concept of the mainland, per se, i just find it a little unsettling and – there’s no other word for it – odd; and for something to strike me as odd in sl, it has to be very odd indeed.
There’s a discontinuity to the mainland that isn’t quite so prevalent elsewhere – it feels unloved and there’s a sense of abandonment about it that i really can’t quite get my head around. To me, the mainland feels thrown together, patchy and somewhat unfinished.
Even so, there are times i’ll make an excusion into the sl continental masses, feeling a need to explore and get to grips with these eclectic spaces – after all, some of the oldest and most historic regions lie on the mainland, along with some of the earlier builds, like the railway station in Periwinkle and the Slate Railroad – which, incidentally are the sort of places my mainland journeys tend to commence. The reason is simple – without some method to my madness, i’d probably just wander gormlessly round in circles, so the tracks of the SLRR and the various roads of mainland sl provide an accessible and intuitive method of navigation.
You may think it odd that i’ve never taken the option of driving the roads. My lack of driving skills is legendary and is not at all conducive to leisurely sight-seeing, since it’s about all i can do stay on the road, employing all my powers of concentration to steer any sort of a course, so admiring the view as it flashes by at breakneck speed is definitely out of the question. So too is flight – flying anywhere on the mainland is, i find, traumatic… partly because of the unexpected and horrendous sim crossing lag, which can send you careering across half a continent, before rubber-banding you back – minus stomach contents and hair, to a point vaguely around where you started. Then there’s the ban-lines… don’t get me started on ban-lines! My particular favourite is flying into the damn things, only to be bounced off into another set, and thereafter spun around into yet another set of the ugly yellow flashing things, losing all track of where, who and what you are. After such an encounter i’d defy anyone not to want to return to ground level and the sedate and forgotten mode of locomotion that is Shanks’ pony.
Walking is, in fact, the absolute best mode of travel for traversing the roadways of the mainland. Lag treats you more gently, you’ve time to admire/puzzle over the scenery, you can wander off into the undergrowth to explore the unusual places you pass and you can even stop to chat to the random groups of people who congregate along the route – for no apparent reason – as you stroll along.
Mostly, the roads are eerily empty and, in a way, this suits me perfectly. In rl, for various reasons, i’m not much of a walker and although a ramble through the countryside is very appealing, it’s not something you’ll find me partaking of. One of the most enjoyable aspects of such a pastime is the solitude that can be found and the roads of sl offer much the same opportunity. There have been occasions that i’ve traversed sim after sim and not come across a soul: passing empty houses, vacant stores and vast tracts of unpopulated land – this suits me perfectly, allowing me time to think and reflect, as well as the opportunity to be nosey and satisfy my curiosity, without intruding upon the privacy of others. It saves me having to go through the trauma of being social too, and – just occasionally – there are moments when it all makes sense, of a sort, and you can find peace and contentment in the simple act of placing one foot in front of another, on a journey that you know will lead you to nowhere in particular.
In a way, doesn’t that sum up sl?
It starts down in Wapping
There ain’t no stopping
By-pass Barking and straight through Dagenham
Billy Bragg – A13 Trunk Road To The Sea