Second Life , an online 3-D virtual world, is in the air; I kept getting whiffs of it all last week. It seemed to be popping up in internet news everywhere and after reading an ariticle in PC World, I decided to try it out for myself. Logging into the Second Life website, I created my first free avatar – Kali Taurog, girl next door. As a brand-new new avatar, the first place you’re sent is Orientation Island, where you learn how to drive a car, fly, and change your clothes. All helpful tasks one needs to know in Second Life. Once done with the basics, I decided to change my look, and after dressing myself in a nice pair of pants and a pretty shirt, and donning the glasses that I was given for free, I realized, ironically, that I looked a lot like myself in real life, except with a much better body. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, but familiarity is always comforting, at least to me, and I definitely liked having smaller thighs and better hair.
I was now ready for the real Second Life world, where you can travel to different islands. Or at least I thought I was ready. Kali teleported her bad self to a popular spot where there was a discotheque. People were dancing, the music was loud, and I wanted to dance, too. Now, in Second Life, you’re supposed to have a dancing script in your inventory which makes your avatar dance, so I tried it. Right click dancing animation, click on avatar – nothing happened. Try again. Nothing. Kali just stands there in her conservative clothing and glasses, looking like – well, pretty much like I’d look at a real life disco without the benefit of alcohol or club drugs. OK, fine, so I won’t dance. I decide to explore the “island” by flying, which is really fun and a lot easier than walking everywhere. Basically, after a little exploration, I find there’s absolutely nothing you can do except dance and buy more clothes with money that I’m too cheap to purchase ($25.00 real American dollars for $1000 Linden bucks). Just like in real life, I’m a miser that hates to shop.
The only other thing you can do in Second Life besides dance and shop, is chat with other avatars. Chatting isn’t a skill I excel at, and I don’t feel comfortable chatting – in person or online. So far, nobody has tried to chat me up, mainly because I’m flying everywhere and ignoring the other avatars. I figure avoidance is the key. Hey, I watch To Catch a Predator, and who knows what kind of perverse shit some of these avatars have in mind?
I teleport around to some different places and find the same thing everywhere – dancing, shopping, chatting. And I still couldn’t dance. At one point, I found a nice little cabin that nobody seemed to be interested in, and I could finally relax and sit down to think. Since it seemed like such a nice, quiet spot, I decide to bookmark it so I can teleport back there if I get lost. Good thing.
I decided to visit one last place before I called it a night – another dance spot. And lo and behold, I find a “dance machine”, guaranteed to make you dance. Cool. OK, right click, accept animation. Voila! I’m dancing! All by myself! In the middle of a room where no one else is dancing! Not only am I dancing, I’m dancing like Elaine in the Seinfeld episode where she makes a total fool out of herself by flailing her arms and legs wildly about. Oh. My. God. I have to stop, but how? I click wildly, trying to stop dancing, but I can’t make it stop. At all. Meanwhile, other avatars start showing up and they’re all kind of gathered about, probably thinking it’s some kind of Second Life freak show.
“OK, time to fly”, I think, hoping that will stop the dancing. Amazingly, my avatar continues to dance while flying. Now I’m just flailing my arms and legs around in flight. This is getting ridiculous. Quick, teleport back to the cabin where no one can see me dance. Or hear me screaming. After a few minutes, it’s obvious I can’t spend the rest of my Second Life as a crazy dancing person. It’s time to delete my persona and start over.
Tomorrow: A new life as Jezebel Boucher, who manages not to dance at all.