I’ve been asked some pretty strange questions by people in SL in my time – I suppose that the eclectic mix of people and cultures, together with the sometimes bizarre situations that can occur whilst inworld, lend themselves to interesting lines of enquiry. Added to which, our minds often have to fill in an awful lot of gaps and missing information just to make sense of the virtual world around us and understand where those we share it with are coming from. Throw in a healthy dose of misinterpretation and misunderstanding and you have the perfect environment for spawning the most peculiar and often amusing lines of enquiry.
Then there are the unexpected questions that completely surprise us, because they seem so off the wall and unlikely; and it’s these, in particular, that give me greater cause for thought than the downright crazy ones.
I was in conversation with a fellow resident – a stranger – recently, during the course of which we’d spoken about some very well known and respected SL artists and bloggers. Then, from nowhere, came a question I’d never expected or would ever have anticipated: “Are you famous?” There are few occasions – rarely – when I find myself pitched such a curve ball that I can’t come back with an immediate witty riposte, but this was one of those moments.
Quite apart from the fact that this is one of those completely illogical questions… If I was famous, you wouldn’t need to ask the question, surely? The fact of the matter is that I’m quite clearly – like the vast majority of us – not in the least bit famous in either the virtual or real world. That’s not to say a little bit of virtual fame wouldn’t be a cool thing to have, I’m sure I’d quite enjoy it, to a certain extent anyway. And if it all got a bit too much, I suppose SL always offers the alt account escape clause. However, on the other hand, fame is not something I aspire to in RL by any means.
In fact, there are few things I can think of in the real world that I’d shy away from quite as much as the prospect of achieving fame. (Although a touch of notoriety might be fun!) Just the thought of being recognised by complete strangers, being tailed by paparazzi, seeing my pictures in papers, magazines and being bandied around the internet, leaves me cold. I’d hate being unable to do the everyday things I take for granted without remaining anonymous and having to be constantly in the public eye. You can keep real world fame – I’d rather stay undiscovered and unknown, thank you.
As for fortune though, that’s another matter entirely. Call me shallow, but I’d be more than happy to be in a position where money worries were a thing of the past. Much as I wouldn’t turn down the chance to be filthy, stinking rich – (who would?) – I’d willingly settle for ‘comfortably well-off’: Enough for a place of my own, the occasional holiday and indulgent treat, and no need to think twice about my weekly spend or whether I’ll ever be able to afford to retire, no matter how long I work. That’d do me just fine, and the same applies to SL too.
There are those in SL whose virtual income entirely covers their virtual outgoings, with some left over for the occasional splurge. Almost without exception, they’ve worked extremely hard to attain that position, or are incredibly talented and creative – or, more likely, a combination of all those things – and I don’t begrudge them a single linden penny of their spoils… I just wish that I had the talent, creativity and hard work ethos to do the same myself! Just as in RL, I wouldn’t aspire to greatness; enough income to cover the cost of land, outgoings and the occasional treat, would suit me just fine, but – again, like RL – the reality is that SLife is all about juggling priorities, tightening belts and accepting our lot. More than that, making it big in the virtual world is often contingent upon having enough of the green folding stuff to spare in the real world to fund our online capers… so we’re back to juggling priorities, tightening belts and que será será… en la Vida Real también!
Of course, if I was famous – either inworld, or otherwise – I probably wouldn’t need to worry about the money, but considering how I feel about fame, even if opportunity knocked, I’ve probably shot myself in the foot on that count too!
Ah well, back to the drawing board.
Money, get away
Get a good job with more pay and you’re O.K.
Money, it’s a gas
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash
New car, caviar, four star daydream,
Think I’ll buy me a football team
Pink Floyd – Money