My journey home today took far longer than planned – nothing unusual in that, except the reason for the delay was a little more exotic than usual. Forget ‘leaves on the line’, ‘the wrong type of snow’, ‘missing train crew’, ‘livestock’ or ‘level crossing stuck’ – this was an excuse that even my fertile imagination wouldn’t have conjured up… ‘We regret to announce that all services have been suspended due to the discovery of an unexploded wartime bomb next to the line’ – a reason so unusual they didn’t even have a terribly sincere recorded announcement to gloat about it.
My initial thought was that if the damn thing had lain there for the last 70 years without incident, waiting another hour or so to let my train past and get me home shouldn’t have been such a big deal – however, left up to the people in uniforms, nobody was going anywhere and passengers were duly informed that ’emergency services are dealing with the matter’. Have you noticed that when it’s something boring like a fire or accident, it’s always the fire brigade or police, but anything more exciting and they wheel out the ’emergency services’ and ‘security services’ – same people, but now all the more important sounding – all adds to the drama, I suppose.
I resigned myself to a long wait, settled down on my platform bench and laughed inwardly as hundreds of people ran to catch the train waiting at the platform, only to find it was going nowhere, eventually being turfed off after half an hour when the status magically changed from ‘delayed’ to ‘cancelled’. Eventually the milling crowds were packed off in buses – not exactly the best plan, since on arrival at their destination they were subsumed into the total gridlock arising from all the road closures arising out of the same bomb discovery.
Did I say ‘bomb’? Actually, no – said bomb turned out to be a piece of construction equipment, discovered on a construction site by a bunch of construction workers. Oh dear – maybe a little more on the job training required!
I suppose you can’t be too careful when it comes to these things, but it did turn out to be a an awful lot of unnecessary drama over nothing. Sounds familiar? Unfortunately, if you’ve spent any amount of time in SL, it probably does. Our virtual world is a veritable breeding ground for unnecessary drama and over-the-top hissy fits and crises: So much so, that when World War III comes, it’ll almost certainly start in SL, and over some petty, inconsequential, imagined slight.
Those with more sense, try to steer clear of such things, and if any such nonsense should make an appearance amongst our immediate social circles, will often step in as the voice of reason, or where it’s abundantly clear that things are indeed going to run their drama-ridden course, we sit back, crack open the beer and popcorn and watch the car crash unfold from a safe distance.
Such displays of social ineptitude tend to proliferate in smaller, tightly-knit groups in the real world. Sports clubs, offices, churches and their like are fertile ground for ill-mannered fallings-out, closet bullying and self-centered whining. Within the online community it can attain a whole new degree of viciousness, and in the rarefied micro climate of social media in particular, drama of this nature can easily become extremely damaging – mainly because the internet is so successful at depersonalising, and all under an impermeable cloak of anonymity.
That in part may explain why drama in some quarters of SL can be so rife and such a common trait in people’s inworld personalities. Anonymity and the arms’ length perception that interaction through an avatar encourages are an effective means of distancing us from the effects of our words and actions, and although we may fully subscribe to the view that there is a person behind the avatar, subconsciously that person and ourselves are unconnected on any real level, and consequently we are insulated from any true emotional connection.
Drama in SL can take many forms, but almost always there will be a victim, or even a whole group of people who are adversely affected by the selfish actions of another – thankfully, the perpetrators tend to be serial offenders and either attain sufficient notoriety for their reputations to precede them, or are easily recognised by their actions: As a friend of mine always cautions, beware of those whose profiles state they have no interest in drama… Often they are the worst offenders!
Thankfully, such things are fairly easily avoided – and whilst they make for an interesting diversion on occasion, I’d much rather a quiet SLife any day!
Hey, little drama queen
From New York to San Francisco?
Everyone’s drama queen
I think she’s going psycho
Green Day – Drama Queen