|Not Too Soon|
I have a friend in Second Life whom I haven't heard from in weeks. I'm sure she's fine, but there's always a little worry in the back of your head when someone goes quiet for a while that maybe everything isn't fine. There's a kind of arrogance that goes with the it-won't-happen-to-me assumption that none of us want to be found guilty of, and it feels too much like tempting fate to be something most of us are comfortable with anyway. I've written before about this strange missing-persons problem, and - don't worry - I don't have any real intention of repeating myself. I wanted to focus instead upon another, equally strange, idea involving people that go missing in SL.
Half of the time, we're not sure we want them to come back.
As I have said on more than one occasion (oh hush), there are a myriad reasons why people sign up to and engage with Second Life, and since many of them are rather on the negative side, it is very difficult not to worry about the quality of first life your friends might be languishing in when not plugged into SL. However, it's also impossible not to hope that their absence might mean that whatever they came to the virtual world in search of might have materialised for them in the real world, and thus their need to log in has been diminished dramatically if not altogether.
The second friend I made in SL was sian pearl, back in the days before she fell out with capital letters, and at the end of one of our first proper conversations, she said to me something along the lines of 'I hope to speak to you again soon - but not too soon'. It's impossible to ignore the idea that spending too much time online and in the virtual world can be unhealthy and detrimental to what may already be a difficult circumstance to exist within IRL. With that in mind, it's easy to see why we might not always want to log in to SL and find our friends online.
I'm not saying that this is the case for my friend. I think she's a pretty well-rounded person and her priorities seem to be in what I would think of, at least, as a good order. Her absence just gave me cause to talk about this.
I bet she's off somewhere skiing in a bikini and Trent Reznor 'Closer' -esque goggles doing super stunt tricks (safely) and quoting, I don't know, e.e.cummings, to a line of adoring fans. 'Listen: there's a hell of a good universe next door; let's go'.