There aren’t too many people in my life that I talk to about SL. My family knows that I “play” SL, but other than that, my SL is not really a topic that is open for discussion. It’s not because I have anything to hide about my activities in SL (err...at least not anymore…anyone who has read my blog will know what I’m talking about, but that’s just between you and me right? cough cough :P) I don't talk about it because I want to save myself the trouble of trying to explain what exactly SL is.
Until recently, when my husband outed me while we were out to dinner one night with some friends. Actually, let me correct that - we were out to dinner with my husbands friend and his wife...i don't really consider her my friend, she's more like someone i tolerate, but for the purpose of this post, i'll refer to her as a friend.
Anyway...occasionally, hubby likes to poke fun at me for my passion for playing dress-up with my avatar, which is somewhat annoying and doesn't usually bother me, but this time he dropped his smart ass remark in front of our friends. Of course, that was followed by looks of confusion and the dreaded question “second what?”
I then proceeded to spend the next several minutes stumbling over my words trying to explain SL, what I do there and why and what the whole point of it is.
“it’s kind of like a 3D chat room where I sometimes hang out with my friends and just chat…” nervous laugh
Looks of confusion, followed by more looks of confusion
“but what’s the point of it? is it like Facebook? or is it like that game, oh what's it called...world of warcraft?”
“ummmm…no. it's not really a game, it’s what you make of it”
“I don’t get video games, seems like such a waste of time" looks over at me, shrugs her shoulders, "i never knew you were into video games?"
/me breaks out into a nervous sweat...
"i play Second Life because it amuses me"
Thankfully, at that moment, the waiter came by offering us a look at the dessert cart and that was all that was needed to change the subject and divert all eyes away from me. While our friends were drooling over the choice of desserts, I sent one swift kick to hubby’s leg under the table and I haven’t heard any smart remarks from him about SL since.
That was a strange evening, and while I sat there trying to enjoy my tiramisu, I listened to the husband’s banter about their latest work project, and the wife barking at her babysitter over her iphone for giving the kids chocolate at bedtime, and I thought about why I felt so embarrassed about SL. Is it really something to feel shameful about? I have a busy life and sometimes I like to indulge in a little escapism and log into SL. Is that really so bad? And when the hell did i start caring so much about what people think of me? I didn’t enjoy my dessert all that much because I was so preoccupied with all these thoughts running through my head.
Our dinner ended uneventfully, and everyone seemed to forget about my uncomfortable little moment in the hotseat. We stepped out into the unusually warm March evening and I basked aloud about how happy I was that spring arrived early this year.
Puzzled by the sudden silence, I turned around to find hubby, his friend and the wife with cigarettes in one hand, blackberries and iphones in the other, furiously checking their emails, updating their FaceBook status, and sending off their latest Tweets. I smugly thought to myself "now that must be totally different from logging in to Second Life".
I almost said that out loud, but I decided to keep it to myself and save them the trouble of trying to understand what SL is all about. Clearly, they would have no idea.