Written 9 July, 2007
The Real World Grows Distant
In the eight months since I came to Second Life, my relationships with people in the real world have changed profoundly.
I’ve pretty much lost my best friend because of the time I spend on the grid. I remain close to my other best friend, but she doesn’t call me as often because she knows I’m likely to be on the grid.
When I have lunch with acquaintances, I talk about what I always talked about, but they don’t quite hear me because they know I’m probably talking about something that happened on the grid.
“I went to an art show yesterday, photographs taken by my friend Kat Kurda. They were stunning. I bought three.
“My Sweetie was acting as hostess, greeting everyone and handing out cards and being bubbly and charming. She was brilliant!
“Kat’s show was on the top floor of a Star Trek museum, and a lot of trekkies dropped by.”
I don’t tell them there was a Tribble loose in the room and it was trying to mate with my leg. Or that I crashed twice while diddling with the Client menu, trying to take arty photos.
But I do tell them a couple of the visitors irritated me with their MENSA-like pretensions and I couldn’t resist ribbing them gently—well, maybe not THAT gently, for Kat asked me not to argue with the Trekkies.
I tell them Sweetie and I went sailing and watched movies while Skyping. I tell them about shopping and about flying around in my blimpiquito (about which I will soon blog). I tell them I had to kick a gay German escort off my property because he was a rude boy. I tell them I love to stand on the observation platforms at Pele and listen to the ocean and watch the sun set.
None of it registers.
It’s not real to them because they’re not on the grid.
So after a while I stop talking to them about Second Life. And the conversation quickly runs down because I find I don’t have a lot of other things to say.
I’m a brilliant conversationalist, but the conversation suffers because I can’t really share my life with them, because it sails right over their heads.
And quite frankly, sometimes I would rather be on the grid than on the phone or at lunch with them—especially when they call while a film is screening or Sweetie and I are being intimate or sublimely silly.
I’ve always been a patient person, but lately I find myself irritated at things that waste my time—phone calls from people one talks to because one is too polite not too (I think everyone has a couple of phone pests), holding for the automated help systems of big corporations, attending meetings that don’t seem as important as they once did, and phone calls from strangers who want things I’m not obligated to provide for them. I even let e-mail sit for a day or two before I respond to it.
I was happy to cut loose my phone pests, and a headset has helped with being put on hold. And I’m rearranging my obligations to the not-for-profits with which I work to minimize the time I spend in both telephone and in-person meetings.
Call me addicted. Maybe I am. But I’m merely pleasing myself in ways I never dared to before. I just no longer have the patience and the time for time-wasting people and events.
If that’s bad, it’s bad, but people in the real world are going to have to deal with it. I would rather spend the time with my Sweetie and my friends.
On Saturday, my city held a cookout on the beach near my home. It was a two-minute walk, the evening was pleasant, and there were lots of my neighbors, most of whom I like. But after a hamburger and a hot dog and brief conversations with people I’ve not seen for a while, the air conditioning in my house and my monitor were calling me. I said goodbye rather than wait around for the concert which was to follow.
Before, I would have stayed and listened to the concert—but only because there was nothing better to do. But I said my goodbyes and walked home and logged onto the grid.
I’m sure it was a good concert, but I have 23,000 songs on iTunes and my Sweetie (who blew off her own event) was at Pele, awaiting my return.
There was no contest.