Just Me

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Where's All The Dreamers?

I have only been here in SL for a week now, but I am finding myself increasing disappointed by the experience – made all the worse because I see something that in the mind’s eye is very special going unrealized.

I’ve been pretty much on my own since I got here. I didn’t bother with the Welcome service when I first arrived. Perhaps I should have, but I was admittedly a little nervous talking to people I didn’t know in a place that I’ve never been before (introversion apparently is one thing that carries over from FL to SL and back again), since I wouldn’t even know what to ask until I played around a bit.

I also thrive on figuring out things as I go and asking for help when I need it and not before. (I’ve just never been much into that “men do it on their own, women like to ask for help” thing. We are much more capable than we pretend to be.)

It only took me a day or two to adequately figure out the basics of SL (navigation, clothing, shopping, inventory management, and so on). I then spent a few days browsing the stores, mostly out of curiosity.

That staled quickly. Does anyone make clothes that don’t look like they were lifted out of a Frederick’s of Hollywood catalogue or made for a 14-year-old mall rat or nightclub drag queen?

(And I guess I have to be honest, I never much liked bell bottoms the FIRST time they were in vogue! :) )

I think some of this has to do with the weaknesses of the clothing templates and where the “forced” separation is between tops and bottoms, but still… I did not come to Second Life to play dress–up, even in spite of the fact that you can have a body (if you so desire) that can handle clothes that your FL body would die of shame over.

And that has been the other disappointment. There seems to be no shortage whatsoever of gambling houses, gentleman’s (*cough*) clubs, brothels, and trendy clothes stores, but very little of normal content I would expect to find in a city.

It has been frustrating trying to find something normal to do and normal people to do it with, at least by using the Find feature. I have spent a few hours ‘porting around Second Life, resulting in a handful of encounters including:

  1. White-trash adolescents hanging out in parking lots, purposefully running over people with their monster trucks and military helicopters and tossing around profanity like ketchup packets in a fast-food restaurant. (I didn’t want to believe the white-trash clichés, but I suppose each one has a grain – or maybe a ten-pound sack – of truth at its core.)
  2. Guys trying to round up all the women they could find within visual proximity of the dance clubs. (No, I am not interested in being just an "arm ornament" for the evening.)
  3. Girls shopping for outfits that would make their parents lock them in their bedrooms until they were thirty-two before letting them out.
  4. A Gorean woman wearing a collar (whom I almost talked to out of sheer curiosity but finally just didn’t have the energy to brave it out…)
  5. A woman telling a man things like “Stay away from me!” and “Get off!” and “Don’t touch me!” – things that would have him charged and locked up in FL -- but for some reason continuing to keep company with him. Were they a FL life couple, sharing their dysfunctionality with the world? (How sweet.) Or was he a stranger clumsily vying for one more story for his jealous friends? Or maybe all of the above? Why do we tolerate such things? I don't know whether to laugh or scream.
Last night I spent over two hours trying to find some place worthwhile to go and found nothing but ugly billboard advertisements and gaudy stores peddling the same tired inventory. There were the occasional instances of beautiful cathedrals and seaside cafes and bountiful gardens and artistic museums… but all uninhabited. All empty.

Please please PLEASE tell me there are others out there who are creative and deep and curious and skilled at what they do and see Second Life as a wonderful place to explore and learn and build and share with each other.

I just hope that I find them before I finally decide it is no longer worth it.

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