So my wife walks in on me while I’m playing (using?) Second Life and looks over my shoulder.
“What are you doing,” she asks. She always gets suspicious when I’m doing something new on the computer. I can’t imagine why.
I hear her breath suddenly catch. She’s spied my avatar, Eddie Sutter. (I hate being called Eddie in person, but for some reason I always use it as a screen name.) Eddie looks a lot like me, although he’s taller and better looking; he also dresses the way I like to dress when I’m not at work.
“Is that … is that you?”
I grunt in the affirmative without looking up. She’s momentarily transfixed.
“That’s freaking me out. Turn it off.”
I don’t. She continues to watch over my shoulder as I fly aimlessly around Linden. I’m not very good at this. I keep bumping into invisible security barriers and stumbling over stuff. When I first logged in, I imagined myself as Hiro Protagonist in “Snow Crash,” proudly ruling the metaverse with a samurai sword and a really bad attitude. But apparently you have to make your own samurai swords in Second World — or buy them.
I have no money.
So after orienting myself and wearing out the novelty of being able to fly, I set about looking for work. I run into some people who are burning a cow in a fountain. They invite me into their flying machine (best description I can offer) and we take off, but I lose my signal and get shut out before I can engage them in serious conversation. I log back in and walk around some more, hoping to relocate my new friends. No luck.
I soon find something called “camping chairs” that promise to pay you for sitting in them. I sit in one and wait. There’s a little ticker sitting over my head, reading “L$0”; I sit for a while, until I get bored (which doesn’t take very long). The ticker still reads “L$0.” I search through the gestures list for the ability to sigh.
I check the map for areas where there are lots of people. (Have I mentioned that it’s like 4 in the morning and I have to be at work the next day? Gee, thanks, Dr. Halavais, for introducing me to this incredible waste of time!) There’s this spot where there are people all piled up on top of each other and I teleport there. Turns out to be the local mall (go figure).
So I mill about. One guy (girl?) looks like a Transformer and I stay away from him/her, not because I’m afraid, but because I have this gut feeling s/he’ll be abnoxiously haughty if I ask him/her a dumb question like, “How do I get some money?” But there are other folks there who seem cool, and they prove helpful, explaining that there’s not much a guy can do to earn money in Linden, but I could work as a bodyguard or sit in a camping chair. I realize with horror that not only is sexism alive and well in the metaverse (which I can live with), but that I’m on the wrong side of it (which I can’t).
I thank them for their help. I’m tempted to explore the mall, but I’m broke, so why bother? In Linden, as in the real world, if you don’t have any money there’s just not that much to do.