soapI’ve never been one for soap operas, although I will admit to very occasionally getting hooked to a story line – usually when, for some reason, I’m exposed to something I wouldn’t normally watch over a short period of time. I can always drag myself away though, and I’m certainly not the sort who would move heaven and earth just to make sure I don’t miss the next thrilling instalment of my favourite soap, (not that I have one, anyway!)

I know people who have never missed an episode of their own favourite; others who can give you the complete history of every character and story that’s ever unfolded for their particular viewing pleasure; but my own excursions into soap land tend to be few and far between. Not that it matters that much because it seems to me that there are some programmes that you can watch an episode or two of once in a blue moon, and it’s as if you’ve never been away. There’s no way, of course, that you’re going to be any the wiser about the vast majority of plot twists and turns, but in the main these can be pretty irrelevant anyway. That east end market, with its local pub and bunch of colourful characters is going to remain essentially the same, no matter how long you leave between catch-ups, as is that Manchester street, with its local pub and bunch of colourful characters, or that glossy Chester neighbourhood, with its local pub and bunch of colourful characters, or even the laid back Aussie community, with its local bar and bunch of colourful characters.

Indeed, the only questions that are really going to arise from dipping in now and again are the inevitable ones, arising out of the evolution of any long running saga: “What happened to Lofty… Did they get rid of Dr Legg?”; “Did Harold ever come back… Where’s Bouncer?” – Infrequent visits mean that the overriding impression is that of a series of snapshots: moments frozen in time that capture little of the granular detail, but nevertheless provide a contiguous impression of the wider picture, very much like a stop motion animation.

street4_001Lately for me, due to RL circumstances, SL has become rather like that soap opera I only ever get to see once every couple of years. When I do get the chance to log in, I’m only really getting the general picture which, I have to say, looks very much like it did last time I logged in, and the time before that… Occasionally, the scenery in familiar places may have had a facelift, there will be the odd missing person or place with no explanation as to their whereabouts, but on the whole things will be much the the same as always and I’m able to pick up pretty much from where I left off. I’ll head off to my usual haunts if I’m able and spend some time with old friends, and even though it may have been days, even weeks, since I last saw some of them, everyone will be fine, there will be nothing particularly newsworthy to report and, after the initial flurry of hugs and greetings, things settle down to the way they’ve always been.

The thing is, I know that lots has been happening whilst I’ve been away, and even though the events that have taken place whilst I’ve been offline may not be headline grabbers, it is very much the minutiae of everyday SLiving that I really do miss. The banter and chat, the debates, discussions and bonkers moments that make up a typical session inworld, the meaningful chats and the dreadful jokes and puns… None of it particularly special or notable but it’s nevertheless the very thing that makes SL compelling. In just the same way that we develop an interest in the everyday lives of our soap opera heroes, and we share their little triumphs, disasters and all those things that make their on screen lives and stories so compelling, so too do the little everyday things in SL create that draw which pulls us in and seduces us.

street3_001I honestly don’t think I’d bother at all with SL if all I ever did was log in occasionally, do some inworld housekeeping, change my outfit and catch up with messages… There’s simply nothing about that which I find compelling in the long term. You can have as many snapshots over time as you like, but they’ll never compare with the real time experience. So instead, allow me to spend time with people regularly and participate in their daily virtual lives – even if they might appear to be mundane and unremarkable – and my account will stay open forever!

I miss those moments, and I’m looking forward now to getting back to normal and sharing plenty of them with you in the future.

s. x

But in the time it takes to your cameras on
You can keep on clicking but the moment’s gone
I said in the time it takes to your cameras on
You can keep on clicking but the moment’s gone
Ted Leo And The Pharmacists – One Polaroid A Day

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