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The fantastic, or the hyper normal?

March 18th, 2009 by Marianne McCann

Something I’ve been thinking about a bit over time.

Within Second Life, we’re set up to do amazing things. each one of us can fly. We can teleport (when SL lets us). We can form ourselves into any shape, unbound from the constraints of our real-life flesh. In SL, we can explore amazing worlds: the dark spires of Svarga, the mid-century science fiction of Planet Mongo, or the world of the Tunnel of Light — to name just a few.

I cram a lot into my own second life. My day-to-day can be full of the fantastic, so much so that I might even view those things as mundane.

Also within my second life, I live in the world of an average — if there is such a thing as average in our world — kid. I go to an elementary school and do, well, elementary school things. I help my aunts with their stores, and hang out at the dock in Livingtree to do some fishing from time to time. I have a nice little house in the suburbs (and, actually, two of those nowadays).

Over the weekend there was a real-world space shuttle launch, and a couple folks on the Forum Cartel list wanted to watch it. I fired up the media stream and tossed it on a big-ish prim in the backyard in Shermerville, and they teleported over. I also called over a couple friends, including shouting “c’mon over” a friend or two within the same set of suburban sims. We sat and watched the launch, ate some grilled burgers off the backyard grille, and enjoyed a cola from the ol’ ice chest. It was a pretty traditional block party.

Last night, while a number of us (me, my sister Robin, my brother Pygar, and my Aunty Carrie) were at that property, we heard the ringing of a doorbell. Setting aside that I’ve not scripted in a doorbell at that house (yet), my brother answered it to find a door-to-door saleslady on our stoop. Well, she wasn’t actually selling anything. Just goofing around with a “Judge Judy” soundboard and fashioning a conversation.


Aside from being quite funny, and more than a little surreal, I was struck with how “normal” this seemed. A little suburban house, and its housemates being disrupted by a door-to-door sales person. Heck, all of this is almost “hyper real” to me. It’s almost like the suburbia you hear of from earlier centuries, an almost saccharine version tinged with nostalgia or longing. Or is it? In the real world, salespeople don’t use soundboards, and block party members don’t teleport in and out. Heck, after the time with the door to door salesperson, we all went to Alien Isles in the Unknowable region and dances around while making music with planets.

So what is your world? Is it the mundane or the fantastic? Is it a bit of both? Do you choose it, or does it just work out that way? What are your thoughts?

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