Written 2 February, 2007
It’s hard to believe that five first life years have passed since I first logged into Second Life on 24 October, 2006. A lot has happened in that time.
In the real world, of course. Politics are as crazy as always. George W. is nearing the end of his third term. It was more disastrous than his first two terms combined, but at least we got the troops home when he needed them to quell the rioting that followed His (by law now we are required to capitalize all pronouns that refer to Him) repeal of the Bill of Rights. And let’s have a moment of silence for those who perished in coastal cities around the world when the polar ice caps melted. And is that the sound of the last living tree being felled in the Amazon rain forest? But hey, gas stocks are at record high prices!
Advances in computer technology promised to make the Second Life experience more seamless, but dramatic increases in the SL population have offset the advantages provided by the new terracore Pentium processor and mice with optical Heads Up displays. At last count, there were 12 billion registered Second Lifers, more than there are people on the planet! At this moment, 124 million are in-world and the server garden at Linden Lab consumes more electricity than Rhode Island.
We weren’t surprised when Ansche Chung bought Massachusetts and chopped it into 512-square-meter rental properties, but it caught us with our pants down, when, after collecting all our tier payments, she defaulted on her own tier payment to Linden Lab and Dreamland went down. One moment it was there, the next gone forever, taking our non-copyable objects with it.
I had to sell my copy of Mask #1 from 1949 (the first horror comic), and I have to hustle every month to pull together the tier payment (Who needs heat? It doesn’t get that cold here, anyway), but I bought four contiguous private islands and raised a great mountain and lit the spark, forming a new Pele with an even better erupt mode which spews ash all the way to the mainland when the volcano goddess is upset. And at 300 meters, Sweetie and I still have the House of 1000 Pleasures, which was, fortunately, copyable, and we've replaced all of our pose balls except the illusive Devotion.
And Sweetie and I? We’re still together in Second Life. In First Life, she’s just across the hall with her laptop—on SL, of course, cuddled up with Cheyenne at the House of 1000 P on the Amazing 4-Prim Changeable Bed, which looks exactly like our real-life bed. Tomorrow morning I will feed her crepes and strawberries.
It wasn’t an easy road for me and Sweetie, but we managed to surmount the obstacles and conquer our fears. We were both a little embarrassed when we first met, for we had been so very intimate with one another, and yet were in one sense strangers. Neither of us looked exactly like our avatars, but we soon enough found the same level of intimacy with our real bodies. Before long, our round trip flights between New York and Atlanta helped significantly in pulling Delta out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. And eventually, when Sweetie’s work took her there, we both moved to California, where we bought a 1930s Craftsman-style cottage in Santa Barbara into which we’ve incorporated Asian design elements and textures from Sweetie’s Second Life collection. A real life copy of her reflecting pool sits in the garden, and her memorial for the women of Afghanistan is nearing completion in Griffith Park. Life with Sweetie is perfect.
You know, it’s once in a lifetime
And it won’t come again
It’s here and it’s gone
Like the Magnolia wind
-- Guy Clark, Magnolia Wind
Thank goodness we didn’t let it slip away.