Those of us who spend far more time than is sensible in SL have little difficulty taking the bizarre and weird in our stride. We’re so used to seeing everything from the utterly ridiculous to the freakishly disturbing in our day to day SLives that we can become a little blasé about such things, to the point that pulling out a laser blaster to despatch a troublesome zombie who muscles in to bite your friend during an ordinary conversation in the street becomes second nature, (yes I did that almost without thinking earlier this week).
I think that sometimes our familiarity with the weirdness of the virtual world can anaesthetise us a to some degree against many of the odd things we might come across in RL. That is, until something outrageously bizarre happens, which leaves you wondering if you have in fact left the safety and security of the real world and somehow crossed over into SL without noticing.
I’ve had a moment this week when precisely that thought crossed my mind – one of those, ‘what the heck is going on here’ moments about which, no matter how hard you might try, you just can’t come to a rational explanation about…
The location: My kitchen.
The back story: I was running low on onions. The onions are kept, securely, in a small vegetable rack that lives on top of my fridge. I bought a smallish bag of onions to replenish my stock, placing it in the rack with the dwindling supply of existing onions.
And that’s when things started to get decidedly odd. At this point, I should mention that there was nothing untoward or unusual about the placement of the the onions: They were securely housed, not jammed in or unnecessarily loosely or precariously stacked. Which is why, when I returned home from work at the end of the day, I was decidedly bemused to find three of the older, loose, onions lying in a distressed manner, scattered on my kitchen floor. I should point out, at this juncture, that the the new bagged onions had been placed on top of the older, loose onions in the rack – making the presence of said older onions on the floor all the more peculiar. I shrugged it off, picked up the onions and replaced them in the rack.
Then things got really weird – SL style weird!
Around 9pm, as I’m relaxing and messing about inworld, I’m distracted by a loud thud from the kitchen… The same onions were once again scattered across the floor. A thorough, puzzled examination revealed no obvious cause or reason for their state and – now a little unnerved – I decided to retrieve the vegetable rack from the top of the fridge and put it in a less precarious position; and, reluctantly, binned the escapee vegetables: Well, you can’t be too careful!
You can imagine that, now thoroughly perplexed, my mind ever since has been filled with possible scenarios that could have prompted this strange turn of events. These are the most likely that I’ve come up with:
- Suicidal onions: Intimidated by the presence of their new, polythene-packaged, fresher interlopers, the old onions – flooded with a bout of alium-induced depression – decided that their oniony lives were worthless and threw themselves in desperation from the lofty heights of the fridge, to crash, broken on the tiled floor below. I think this is probably the least likely explanation, since in my opinion depressed onions would rather hide at the bottom of the rack and rot in the quiet darkness, rather than fight their way to the top of the pile and fling themselves to oblivion;
- Thrill-seeker onions: In their lust for for the vicarious lifestyle, my onions decided to take up the vegetable equivalent of base-jumping. Again, I reckon that’s unlikely – onions, in my experience are not thrill-seekers, unless pickled. Did they suddenly collectively decide that it was time for a life less boring? With no indication of any leaning in that particular direction previously? I’m not convinced, especially since they were well past their prime and in the autumn of their years;
- New kids on the block: It wouldn’t be the first time that younger, stronger, firmer noobs have muscled in and kicked out the existing residents. Perhaps this is one of those occasions when the new and fresher bully-boy usurpers have literally thrown the old guard out. Twice! This I’d consider a more likely scenario than those above, particularly since there have been no onion-related incidents since the older bulbs were removed from the scene;
- Demon-possessed onions: I’m pretty certain this is the case here. My onions have become possessed and there’s little I can do about it. I’ve no idea how you’d go about exorcising onions, but I presume I’ll need a dark-robed priest, some spooky Mike Oldfield music. Possibly garlic – which, of course, works with vampires, but I’m not so sure about its efficacy against onions. My only concern is that the next time I come home, I’ll find potatoes crawling across the ceiling!
So, there you have it. As Shakespeare reminds us, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy” (Hamlet I.5:159–167) and it would do us well to be aware that no matter how strange the virtual world may be, the real thing is a whole different ball game, altogether.