It’s that time of the year when you might find yourself sitting back in a chair, with a cup of tea, on a sunny afternoon, enjoying the opportunity to kick back and relax. Then, as you sip the refreshing brew, your eye is drawn by the sun’s golden rays to the corner of the room, and there, picked out in the summer light, is a massive cobweb! Having had your attention drawn to this annoying blot on the afternoon horizon, you now come to the realisation that each corner, nook and cranny of the room has, overnight it seems, become home to a silken array of threads that would have made Miss Havisham’s dining room look positively well-cared for. And with that, your hopes of a relaxing couple of hours disappear as you, armed with dusters, vacuum cleaner and an air of fatal determination, attack every hidden corner of the entire house, determined to stamp out the unexpected invasion.

I’m not by nature a fan of the unkempt – maybe I could occasionally spend just a little more time tidying up and doing the odd bit of housework, but by and large Haven Towers is pretty clean and presentable; it’s just that cobwebs have a habit of hanging out in inaccessible places and only becoming noticeable when they choose to do so. The end result is always the same though – not only do I attack the cobwebs, but some inbuilt trigger in my psyche compels me to go a step further… Rugs get beaten, cupboards are re-ordered, windows cleaned, skirtings washed and – at the end of it all – the only thing that remains grimy is me!

And I’m so glad this is only a real world problem, because if I had to deal with that sort of thing inworld, it would send me to the funny farm before you could utter the words ‘mad cow’!

Just the thought of having to do virtual housework makes me shudder. In RL I have a moderately sized, smallish house, with a similarly sized back garden: I’ve been here about two and a half years, in which time I’ve decorated most of downstairs, repaired a bit of decking, and spent much time wondering whether I’ll ever get around to sorting the garden out. Head upstairs, and it’s a different story: Working on the basis that I’ll get around to decorating the spare rooms eventually, they have a distinct air of abandonment, and whilst I will occasionally run the Hoover around them, that’s about the extent of it. I’m sure I’ll apply myself to the task one day, but until I finally get myself a round tuit, they’ll keep!

So, staying on top of things in the real world can be challenging, but if I had to do the same in SL, it simply wouldn’t happen. In terms of land alone, I have the equivalent of around 20 times the area I’m responsible for in RL to take care of and, although my virtual gardening skills are far superior to my RL ones, if I had to tend all that land on a similar footing, there simply wouldn’t be enough of me to go around. Similarly, if keeping 8 rooms presentable can sometimes be beyond me, there’s no hope at all that I’d be able to so the same with a large art gallery, railway station, private apartment, my overnight cave rooms, and four (getting on for five) music venues… I’d need an army of cleaners and maintenance workers to get the task done. Thank goodness it’s only pixels!

Therein lies one of the great joys of SL: It is only pixels, and they never need cleaning, dusting, repairing, polishing, maintaining, cutting, trimming, mowing, ironing, watering, pruning, washing, drying or any other of the myriad tasks that keeping home involves. Instead, the extent of my labours inworld is limited to simply moving stuff around and occasionally tidying things away when the place is beginning to get a little too cluttered to be aesthetically pleasing.

Now that I think about it, the sheer hard work that would be involved in just staying on top of the cobwebs would probably finish me off… Speaking of which, I’ve just spotted another one; now, where’s my duster?

s. x

And you can tell
From the state of my room
That they let me out too soon
And the pills that I ate
Came a couple years too late
And I’ve got some issues to work through
The Dresden Dolls – Girl Anachronism

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