I had a bad week at work. Everything that could go wrong had gone wrong and I had never been more glad to see the beginning of the weekend. Two glorious days when people wouldn’t call me, mail me, instant message me. I don’t recall driving home. Do you every do that? Get in your car, start the engine and then realise you’ve arrived right in front of your house with no memory at all of how you got there? Like you were on autopilot the full way, aware yet not. I locked the car, unlocked the door to my house, smiled a little at my two little fur babies who always wait at the door to welcome me home, I tickled them just where they like it; behind her ears (the girl) and on his tummy (the boy), then crumpled onto the sofa exhausted.
I was meant to go out. I mostly always go out on a Friday night. This Friday night however, I didn’t want to. I mean, I never usually want to, I sort of force myself to do it though, go through the rigmarole of cleaning up, painting, primping, priming, dressing up… morphing into the pretend sociable butterfly persona I sometimes inhabit. Carefully choosing my costume and mask to fit in with all the other social butterflies out and about on the town. I don’t really know why I still do it every week. Thinking about it now I think I feel like it’s healthier to be out in the world with others than shut inside alone, at least sometimes. Or maybe it’s because I’d rather avoid the questions that come when I don’t do this ‘ what’s wrong’, ‘are you ok?’, ‘should we come round to yours?’ (god no, please no). The conversations I imagine they’d have about me. I hate people talking about me. It’s just easier to be a sheep for a little while. And when I’m actually out I do enjoy the company of these people, they are funny, clever, a little crazy. I wouldn’t spend time with people I didn’t like. I can’t. So I keep doing it because I know, if I can get there it will be okay even though every single week my mind rebels against the notion and even if I do still feel a little detached in the company. There and part of it but a little separate too. Tonight however I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to. I’d had a shitty week of it and I just wanted to stay in, alone, in my jammies and drink nice red wine so I decided to do just that.
After a while I got bored watching netflix so I logged into SL. I have a friend, a kind, warm hearted, funny Portuguese guy who plays music on a Friday night and whose set I hardly ever get to hear (and I love his sets) so I was looking forward to being able to listen. I made my way over and I was sitting there waiting for him to start chatting away to another adorable friend when I realised that I had just swapped one sort of socialising for another. Tangible friends for virtual ones. I had still thought about what I was going to wear, what my hair was like, my little doll’s makeup. I was still in a place with friends, conversing, listening, participating. Was it so very different? In some ways it is. In some ways a night online actually tops a night out in the real world. Your avatar stays perfect looking all evening; no smudged lipstick, alcohol spills all over your clothes, vape fumes in your hair. It’s much easier to avoid people and definitely much easier to leave. There is no faffing about with taxis home and drawn out good byes, instead just a quick ‘cheerio!’ and a click of the little x top left. However all in all ..I think its pretty much of a muchness, a place to come together and talk in the same way you would in the real world.
I suppose SL makes a social life possible for many people who can’t get out for whatever reason yet still crave some form of human connection, of collectiveness. That has to be a good thing doesn’t it?
For me, for now, I think it’s nice to have this other option. This virtual choice to take or leave as I want. And I think its wonderful that it’s finally the weekend. Precious days of peace and procrastination!
I hope you are enjoying yours! x