Sunday, August 16, 2009

New Louvre

New Louvre
The Novice - Silver by Sascha's Designs

The Model in Orthopedic Shoes

Age has it’s advantages they say. I didn’t realise how much, until I visited my grandmother at the retirement village. She is spritely, for one of her years, though getting doddery, and her hearing is going. I usually have to repeat sentences, but let that not mistake anyone into thinking she’s losing her marbles. She’s still sharp.
Anyway, after the usual pleasantries and the inevitable query as to my status ( read marital) she informs me her friend from number 203 is to join us for afternoon tea.
Soon enough, Edina (not her real name) says a hello and joins us on the little patio, as it’s a fairly nice day out. She’s somewhat younger than my grandmother, well turned out, lippy, a nice do, and even heels. She obviously looks after herself. After a short introduction, Nan excuses herself to get the Tea and bikkies and we start to exchange pleasantries.
“So dear” she asks breezily, “when do you finish Uni then?” “Mid next year “ I say.
She smiles and say’s “Woot”.
I suddenly stop. Now, “Woot”, is not in the vernacular used in conversation in Australia, let alone among ladies of a certain age. In fact, the only place I’ve heard it is in SL, which, when I first started, sounded rather quaint if not a little silly. Well, maybe she’s heard it somewhere and it is her attempt to seem “with it” to someone younger. I let it pass, for now.
After a little more back and forth, Nan joins us for more conversation over the mixing of the tea and unveiling of the biscuits. That little aside had piqued my interest, and so, as I knew my Nan was aware I had an interest in the Net (she doesn’t), I gently moved the conversation to that subject via her queries as to my studies and so on. Edina, exhibits a pretty solid knowledge of things cyber. I knew the retirement village was fairly well set up, but didn’t realise it had it’s own wireless network, and she is connected by laptop to it. Her conversation gets more animated, and it seems she can Google with the best of them.
I then, in passing, mention virtual worlds. Well, Edina says, “Ohh, I know all about that dear”. The conversation flows and my river of suspicion is in flood.
After a nice tea and bikkies, and more small talk regarding family and gossip, I start to make my excuses and make my way to leave. Kissing Nan goodbye and promising to visit more often ( I always say that) Edina says, “I’ll take a walk with you to the carpark dear. I need to get out a bit as I spend too much time indoors on that SL”
Now, that “Woot” thing raised my suspicions, and now she basically comes right out and says she’s addicted to SL.
Edina can talk faster than she can walk, so the journey starts to become a fill in on her Second Life. It seems she is a model in SL, and fairly successful. I don’t ask her SL name. But, she knows of me. If you knew me in 1st life and knew my SL / Flickr name, then connecting the dots wouldn’t be hard. Holy Avatars.
“Its Ok, I wont mention it to your grandmother, I know how it is with SL. Lot’s of people don’t understand it, let alone the little things we can sometimes get up to”.
She basically says that she couldn’t be so successful in SL if she wasn’t retired, a widow and able to be on anytime she likes. No one queries a grandmother taking an afternoon nap.
We reach the car and after a little more chat, all by her, she gives me a peck on the cheek and we say goodbye. A wave and it’s on the road for me. I have a wry smile as I navigate home.
Of course, when you think about it, it’s those that are either talented enough to make a living in SL, students, housewives, or the retired that would have the time to actually put in the hours to have a full SL life. And in a way, that could partly explain the skewing of the average age in SL to the mid- late 30’s. As Edina mentioned, she’s had a full life and she can have fun doing a second life, doing things, that in 1st life, she hadn’t had the opportunity to do. I would theorise that those that are in their 20’s, for example, still have a life to live, full of expectations and opportunity. So the lure of SL may be less strong for that demographic. Who knows.
As I drive on, my mind starts to turn to counting the years till I can retire and do what Edina does in SL. Not so much being a model, but having the time to explore and have fun in a virtual life.
Somehow, getting old seems a little less terrifying now.

(reposted from an article originaly posted at SLinworldtoday)

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