I finished early enough – perfect timing, in fact, to get caught in a flash storm that was determined to give Harvey a run for its money! Wet and cold at the station, I was thrilled to find out my train had been cancelled, meaning a 40 minute wait for the next one. The connecting Manchester train was held at the station due to an animal strike further up the line and passengers were sent scurrying for the Nottingham train, several platforms away (also delayed), which we weren’t allowed on because it was too crowded. Eventually, I managed to get the Taunton train – delayed, of course, by the late running Nottingham in front of it – which then proceeded to crawl, at walking pace, for the entire journey.
When I did finally arrive home, tired, damp, fed up and back aching from seats that are designed specifically to be tailored to anything but the human body, I wasn’t really in the mood for anything but slobbing out with a glass or two of Grenache, and not a lot else!
However, it was Thursday, which means heading inworld, getting dressed up and joining friends for music and dancing at our usual retreat, and I really didn’t feel like making the effort. But, I did – and it did me the power of good.
It was one of those evenings that just went perfectly – the complete opposite to my day from hell. Great music, great company at the club, followed by an equally enjoyable chill out session at the local pub back at my home sim. I stayed much later than I should, and when I did finally logout, it was with a smile on my face, a now empty Grenache bottle, and a feeling that the world isn’t such a bad place after all. To say that SL saved my sanity last night is probably a bit of an exaggeration, but it certainly felt like it at the time.
Had it not been for SL, it’s likely I’d have spent a pleasant enough evening doing very little, and ended up going to bed feeling much the same as when I’d arrived home. I certainly wouldn’t have made any attempt to meet up with friends, tried to fill my time with anything particularly special or gone out of my way to try and lift myself above the trials of the day, it simply wouldn’t have happened. A Thursday probably isn’t the best evening for socialising anyway – it’s unlikely that even if I’d made the effort, that any opportunity to spend some time socialising would have presented itself, but the ease with which SL permits people to come together and make the most of the available time, whenever and wherever you happen to be, is unmatched.
It’s not something that conventional social media manages to achieve anything nearly as well, since it lacks the tangible shared environment that is so central to SL – it’s not a platform, it’s a place… And it’s a place that replicates much of the positive side of living, without having to expend too much energy to achieve it. For example, after a hard day at work, I’m far more likely to dress down than to dress up, and whilst that may be a lot more comfortable, there’s something about making an effort with how you look that just makes you feel good about yourself. At home, I may be in jeans and t-shirt, but for a night ‘out’ inworld, I’ll throw on something smashing, touch up the makeup, and feel great about looking good – nothing at all, in practical terms has changed, but emotionally and mentally I’ve made that special effort and that in turn lifts my spirits.
Some may think that’s a poor substitute for the real thing, notwithstanding that sometimes the real thing is impractical or simply too much effort and organisation to be worthwhile doing. That’s when SL comes to my rescue and sometimes, like last night, it’s all I need to get myself back on the rails (even if the trains can’t manage it!)
Because we’re holding our own in a great big storm
And though we’re cutting it close
We won’t let go
Nate Ruess – Great Big Storm