We think we know what we are doing.
The first time I shaped my thoughts into words about my experience in Second Life (SL), was at the behest of a friend here. She runs an active blog, and was kind enough to usher me in to her world when I asked her about it. If you are reading this, you know by now that I like to try my hand at writing too. So, when my friend mentioned about her blog, we got chatting about it. The temptation was too good to resist to see my own handiwork in a blog. I asked her, and she welcomed the thought with open arms.
I thus put my first piece together and shared it with her. When we chatted next time, she was happy and said it looked very promising.
To celebrate, I suggested a toast. Typical of SL, we were on IM, nestled in our own private chat space, but in geographically different locations. At my suggestion for a toast, she sent me a bottle of champagne. Do you want to keep it? The window asked. Of course. I accepted it and ‘Wore’ it. Mistake. Poof! Just like that, my torso vanished. I was still learning my ropes here, so could not figure out what happened. It was peculiarly funny.
Here I was, alone in an island, with only my face and palms in my torso visible while the rest of me was Hollow Man-ish. I messaged my friend what had happened. She said: “One of the ‘perks’ of the upgraded avatars is that you could add multiple items to a body part. LOL.” The key word being ‘add’, not ‘wear’. When I had worn the champagne bottle, it had promptly knocked off my torso.
We set off to repair this together, remotely. Social distancing norms applied. In spite of our best efforts, between incorrectly used menu terms and icons, half-forgotten options and my own inexperience, we spent a good half hour at it before I could get my torso back. ‘Add, not wear’, ringed in my ears.
A few days later, she mentioned she had passed my first article around, adding the others too appreciated it. Then she did one better. She suggested a photo shoot to go along with my first article – to give the name a face. I modeled for it. While my SL avatar remained passive, my real-life grin touched ear-to-ear.
As I write this e-mail, I am on the verge of my first article being published. While it is anyone’s guess what kind of eyeballs it will garner, I am just elated at the fact that I have a dear friend who goes that extra length to accommodate me in this world. The world might be virtual, but the emotion is very real.