Do you need anybody?

friendsFirst day back in work yesterday after 6 weeks’ absence, and by mid-evening i was shockingly tired, even so i made the effort to log in, much to the surprise of at least one person, who thought i might have succumbed to the charms of my bed… i’m glad i didn’t though.

It was an evening that brought very mixed feelings – i logged in to receive a notecard that made my day, but then later on i had a conversation that upset and angered me. It wasn’t a particularly active visit, either – i think i stood in the same place for a good hour or more, but sometimes that’s the way sl is. It’s not always about the glitz and the glamour, the excitement and the energy; sometimes it’s about taking the time to write a considered note to a friend, or to give someone the attention they deserve.

Ask a cross-section of people what it is that keeps them in sl and i’m pretty certain that you’ll see ‘friends’ appear high on the list of priorities, (just below shoes and shopping), although sometimes i think that’s something we can occasionally take very much for granted as we go about our daily SLives – and really, we shouldn’t. It is our friends to whom we turn when we need help, or to sound off; they are the first to hear our good news; it’s our friends with whom we share our LMs for the best deals, choicest clothes and most cherished haunts and, it is in the company of our friends that we are at our most relaxed, and enjoy the best of times.

street4_001Frankly, though, this is all a bit odd coming from me – an antisocial loner in both real and virtual worlds, to whom ‘lighthouse keeper’ sounds to be an extremely appealing career choice, (provided it pays well). At heart, i am fiercely independent, completely self-reliant and – i’m afraid to say – quite a bit intolerant of anyone who invades my space, time or privacy, even on the occasions when i’ve actually invited them to do so. If i must have people around me, i’d much prefer to keep them at arm’s length and definitely according to my own terms of engagement, thank you very much. All of which can lead to misunderstandings and problems, sometimes of a truly astronomical nature.

However, necessity – as well as being the mother of invention – can also be, it seems, the mother of reasonable perception, and whilst i wouldn’t go as far as saying i’ve experienced an epiphany of late, i’d certainly admit that the cast-iron resolve to go it alone may have softened ever-so slightly.

nye13_001Circumstance has a habit of throwing us into situations we didn’t expect: if you’re anything like me, you fight and kick and struggle against fate, determined not to give in to its vagaries, where any sensible person would just accept the inevitable and go with the flow. In recent weeks, in rl, i’ve not had the energy to do anything but go with the flow and, to my surprise, i’ve found myself faced with the unnerving truth that there are times when to go it alone is simply not a sensible or rational choice and i have succumbed to accepting that sometimes we really do need friends around us. When life throws a curve-ball at you which is completely unexpected and leaves you floundering, the power of a friendly email, or text from a friend cannot be under-estimated. A surprise visit, that previously i might have resented as an unwarranted intrusion, becomes a happy interlude, and the offer of a meal from a work colleague can brighten up an evening and chase away confusion and incomprehension.

And i realised, over these last six weeks, without the help, encouragement and support of friends, i have no idea how i would have coped. That, for me, is quite a revelation.

Maybe that’s influenced the way i relate to people in sl too: recently i’ve found myself far less retiring and much more appreciative of the people on my friends list and those i spend my time with, i’ve started to realised how much i value those people and the times i get to share with them, and y’know what? It’s not such a bad thing!

s. x

Be glad there’s one place in the world
Where Everybody Knows Your Name
And they’re always glad you came
Gary Portnoy – Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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