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Life imitates life

May 27th, 2009 by Marianne McCann

In the post-war era, many in the United States started to move out of the cities and into the suburbs. This was a product of the prosperity of the time, the rise of the “car culture” and the Eisenhower interstate system, and a number of other factors. It led to people commuting from their suburban residence to their job in the city, or traveling in from their homes for the nightlife and shopping opportunities the nearest cosmopolitan center could offer.

In Second Life, we need not do this. We can teleport anywhere we want. In the blink of an eye we can go from the Chakryn Forest to Planet Mongo. The idea of a “commute” is almost laughable in a world where one can teep or fly unaided. Even more so, teleporting is often less problematic (and certainly faster) than attempting to actually drive anywhere.

Tri-City Map, May 2009

This is why I find it amazingly funny that many of my sibling Bay City storeowners have been setting up residential plots in the Second Life Suburbs of Shermerville, Blumfield, and West Haven. Yes, you can commute from one to the other by driving over the Shermerville Bridge into Nova Albion and following Route 50 to where it connects with Route 66 and heading West past Channel island. It’s about a five minute drive, lag permitting.

More than this, we’re falling into real world patterns that fit these places. We’re having backyard barbecues. Yesterday, I sold lemonade out front of my place. I’ve had door-to-door salespeople. There’s even been talk of door-to-door trick or treating this Autumn.

So we have a world without limitations, yet we live in Levittown-style suburban “boxes” and have our mid-century style storefronts off in the big city. Do we do it because we’re comfortable with “first life” patterns, or because this is something we wish we had outside of SL?

2 Responses to “Life imitates life”

  1. Holocluck Says:

    I guess it’s more fun than the real thing? I haven’t really put any final builds on MY Shermerville plot, but I have flown over the roads and over the Gulf of Lauren, then followed the rails into Bay City to get to my gallery. Because I could. I once flew from Nautilus City to a parcel I had in northeast Nautilus continent. I think it was the joy of being able to do this without hitting banlines. That and an appreciation of the Mainland and it being a massive virtual metropolis.

  2. HeadBurro Antfarm Says:

    Great post! My 2p’s worth…

    1) I think there is an aspect of the familiar about it – most folks know how a city & ‘burbs setup works and therefore can act accordingly without too much thought, kinda like breathing I guess :)

    2) But I also think there is a huge aspect of roleplay about it – it’s fun to play city & ‘burbs in SL whether you have that in SL or not.

    3) Also I think some people genuinely love the work that people (and moles) have put into these areas and want to live within the perceived rules to almost honour the work. I think this comes in a lot with road, rail & tram routes – there is no need to drive and SL does not make it easy, but by god it feels special when you do!

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