I could never be a double agent: I’d get too confused about whom I was supposed to be at any given time – not great if I’m behind enemy lines or attempting to bluff my identity. Even if I was under deep cover, looking the part, sounding the part and acting the part, I just know that I’d manage to blurt out something that would completely give the game away at the most vital of moments. That’s the trouble with living two different lives – it’s far too easy to forget which one you’re currently supposed to be living, and all sorts of weird crossovers and confusions can occur.
We’ve all done it: looked at a piece of furniture in Ikea and wondered how many prims it was, or spent ages trawling through the wardrobe, only to realise that we only own the pair of shoes we’re looking for in SL. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this!) Then there are the weird things we catch ourselves doing that nobody considers out of place in SL, but paint a decidedly different picture when we’re at large in the real world.
I caught myself today wandering around my workplace, carrying a muffin in my teeth. I had a legitimate reason for doing so, holding a cup of tea in one hand and a laptop in the other, but any reasonable person would have come up with a slightly more sensible method of muffin transportation… laptop pastry tray, for example. Not me however, my subconscious tussled with the problem briefly, before seizing on what seemed to be an entirely reasonable – if somewhat unusual – solution. It was only after receiving some baffled stares from my colleagues that I realised that what I’d elected to do was rather odd. During the quick sanity self-check that followed, it struck me that the reason my brain had decided this was a perfectly rational and normal method of carrying a muffin was because there is a place where I’m used to seeing people walking round with cakes, and all manner of other items stuffed between their teeth, as if it was the most normal thing in the world: Second Life.
Before you sigh and shake your heads knowledgeably, assured that Haven has finally flipped her lid, you might want to ask yourself if you’ve ever been guilty of a similar crime. You may think you’re immune to SL insinuating its way into your real life existence, but don’t be too sure, because I wouldn’t mind betting that there are plenty of us who can recall occasions when they’ve done something profoundly daft in RL simply by virtue of it being a perfectly normal thing to do in the virtual world…
You’re sat with friends in the pub when someone excuses themselves to nip to the loo: Before you can stop yourself, you hear your own voice blurting out “hurry back!”, to bemused and puzzled looks. Then, to compound the embarrassment, your friend returns to the table, to be met with a hearty “welcome back!” – or, worse still; “WB!”
Our favourite tune comes over the loudspeakers at the shopping centre, to which our response is to burble loudly in a squeaky voice: “I love this tuuunne, hoo loo loo la la… errrm…”, as concerned mothers whisk their children away; “Don’t look at the crazy woman, sweetie”. Suitably admonished, we mumble a hurried goodbye to our chums and tell them you’ll IM them when you get home, call for a taxi and then make a complete fool of yourself by asking for a TP back home! Later that evening, your friend calls you up, concerned that you’re suddenly turned barking mad, only to have their suspicions totally confirmed when you answer the phone, giving your SL name.
Go on – admit it, you’ve done at least one of those things recently!
Maybe these things are a trade-off of being the first generation for whom living out a virtual life has been possible. As Morpheus tells us in The Matrix: To understand the alternative reality that the virtual world opens up to us, we have to free our mind. Unfortunately, once our mind has been freed, it seems it can struggle to retain it’s grip on what is real and what isn’t… is that a bad thing? You tell me!
No we’re never gonna to survive unless we are a little crazy
No no never survive unless we get a little bit
And then you see things
The size of which you’ve never known before
Seal – Crazy