In October 2011, I left Second Life determined that I would never, ever return. I'd made that promise to myself many times previously, but I'd never managed to keep it for more than a few months. I was always, without exception, driven to that point by idiotic drama created by other inhabitants. Make no mistake, the majority (which means "not all," but "most") of inhabitants in my not inconsiderable experience, are morons and ass clowns. And psychos. And assholes. And losers. No, that's not a nice thing to say, but it is a factual thing to say. After participating in twenty or so sims – and even briefly owning one of my own (Howard's End) – I was finally treated to such abuse by the administrators of a cyberpunk sim known as Insilico that I packed my virtual bags "for good." Thank you, Melissa Mendell. But that was only the drama lama that broke the...non-drama lama's back.
And no. The fact that my real-life identity was generally known did not lead to my being treated any less shitty. In fact, it usually, openly, led to my being treated worse (and I never expected "special" treatment). On that subject, you should some day investigate how shitty William fucking Gibson and Warren fucking Ellis were treated in SL.
Anyway, so, following the Insilico fiasco, I left. And this time I stayed gone for almost twenty months. One full year and eight months.
Then, Tuesday of last week, the twenty-first of May 2013, Spooky and I were sitting around bored sometime late in the evening. And we began talking about SL. And we peeped our heads back in. We found a virtual friend, one of the three or four people who'd never proved to be a shitheel. This was in the steampunk sim New Babbage, a city state that was pretty much the first place I ever put down roots in SL after I first ventured in world, which, by the way, was the thirty-first of May, 2013, seven years ago to this day (I'm not getting into all that leap-year falderal again). And on the twenty-second, stricken by nostalgia, Spooky and I rented a parcel and began setting up McElligot & Dow's Marine Research Institute on the docks of Clockhaven (a district at the eastern edge of New Babbage, in the shadow of the great sea wall). There are photos below, behind the cut, so you'll have some idea what the fuck I'm talking about. We're not there for RP – which is how everything always, always, always got cocked up before – just to return to that place where I once built the Palaeozoic Museum and the Abney Park Laboratory, where Spooky built Ogdred Weary House and a pie shop. We're there to have a quiet place to occasionally slip in and tinker about with pixels and prims and reminisce about the bygone days when New Babbage was only two sims large, not TEN sims.
The owner of New Babbage was very happy to see us return.
And today is my Seventh Rez Day – that is, the seventh anniversary of the day I first "rezzed" into SL. Some people throw rez day parties. Me, I'm just reflecting on the incredible strangeness of it all, and the peaceful bits, and the short spaces of amazing RP, and the ~99.5% that has been – no exaggeration – nightmarish. I broke my promise to myself, yeah. But I did hold out a long time. I feel I've proved to myself that I can walk away any time the shit starts piling up. No more SL addiction. No more drama lamas. Now, screen caps behind the cut:
View of New Babbage's eastern seawall (view to the northeast).
Looking out across Clockhaven from atop the seawall (view to the northwest).
Southern (seaward) entrance to the Institute (bay doors shut, drawbridge down; view to the north).
Southern (seaward) entrance to the Institute (bay doors open, drawbridge up; view to the north). The Institute's submersible, the Dauntless, in visible. The submersible is fully functional, by the way.
Looking past the Dauntless to exhibits in progress,
Close-up of the Dauntless, as the sunset shines in through the windows.
Professor Nareth Nishi, on her 7th Rez Day.
All screen caps Copyright © Caitlín R. Kiernan 2013
So, there you go. Happy Seventh Rez Day to me. Spooky's isn't for a few days yet.