I spent a couple hours in Second Life last night, for the first time since August (and, to be fair, I hadn’t explored outside my SL home for several months before that). In the interim my desktop computer died, so I had to do a clean install of Firestorm with no cache and no preset preferences. After months of playing an MMORPG, my fingers were trained to move around the environment using the WASD keys. This often resulted in my avatar exclaiming “ssd” or “wwwdd” in local chat.
It was not an easy experience. I didn’t stay at my home long. I’ve wanted to replace my skybox for a couple of years — it’s old technology now, crude and strangely sized — but Jakob objected. It’s highly unlikely he will sign on again as his illness progresses, yet I couldn’t bring myself to start deleting. I checked my land. 86 objects owned by his avatar, including numerous bouquets of flowers intended as gifts but not transferred, just placed around the space we shared. What can I do about those now? I wish I could communicate with him and ask for his password, to properly archive his account, but his sister says he has forgotten his passwords and how to use technology.
Quickly, I switched from my Kay avatar to my original avi. She’s the inside part of me, more sweet and gentle, more readily emotional; she’s like younger me behind the facade. It was easier for me to tolerate the sadness and loneliness in her body than Kay’s, where I feel more need for composure and restraint.
I visited locations from the Destination Guide and was struck both by the beauty and detail of some areas and the Duplo-like blunt ugliness of others. Second Life at its best is a glorious virtual world where resident creators have pushed the technology and often found ways to make amazing things despite it. At its worst? Well, it’s as good a place to learn about 3D building and virtual coding as Minecraft and I have nostalgic affection for blocky builds with freebie textures. With a small handful of skills and no cash, anyone can start turning imagination into digital reality. That’s marvelous even when the results are unsophisticated. I admire both hyperrealistic and surreal environments in SL, so I wandered from sim to sim. Usually I was one of very few avatars there, as I avoided clubs and adult areas. I’m open to meeting people again, but those aren’t the places I want to be now.
If Jakob is not returning, I need to downsize my SL land holding (the tier is too expensive to pay alone) and I’d like to start splitting my evening online time between gaming and the virtual world again. I suppose it will depend on how my mourning progresses and if I can find a community, or at least a friend or two, with whom I want to spend my SL time.