Saturday, November 3, 2012

Second Life and Superstorm Sandy

The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but deliverance from fear.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

           In Real Life (RL), I reside in the northeastern portion of the United States.  Being there gave Significant Other and me the dubious distinction of experiencing Superstorm Sandy recently.  (I know some will say that technically Sandy was a hurricane, having lived through it, I feel entitled to call it whatever I want to.) 
          I’m going to be serious with this story.  It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.  If President Obama and Governor Christie can work together then I can be serious.  Sandy was real.  Neighborhoods that I once knew have been devastated and lives have been lost.  People already struggling with their lives have had another burden added.  Please bear with me if my usual humor isn’t in this story. 
          So, while sitting in the dark without power and access to the Internet and Second Life (SL) for just under thirty-six hours, I had a chance to think about SL and some of the differences with RL.  (Significant Other asks that I point out that being stuck with me alone in the dark for that period of time is another inconvenience.)

          The first thing that crossed my mind is that things like this don’t happen in SL.  Sure, there’s lag.  Yes. We crash.  But we all know we can relog in and everything is fine.  Well, we can’t reboot or relog in RL.  We have to accept RL as it comes to us and get on with it. 
          SL goes on without the exigencies of RL.  The people we deal with in SL may or may not be affected by RL events.  In the run up to Sandy and after our power was restored I talked with people inworld who were in a similar situation as we were.  Others weren’t affected but were curious and some were concerned.  (Some more than I was.) 

          Then I started thinking that SL is also part of RL.  A small, informal community had formed around me in SL as others and I talked about our respective situations.  We swapped stories and exchanged solutions for problems.  (Thanks to the friend who told me about Coleman camp stoves and MRE’s!)  The social media phenomena was alive and well.  SL is an alternative or a complement to Facebook and Twitter. 
          So what happens when the cord is cut?  We lose contact with one another.  When a storm like Sandy rolls over us, we lose that contact in both RL and SL.  Trust me, when the winds were blowing outside my home I wasn’t about to go wandering about in the dark and the rain outside.  I was as disconnected in RL as I was in SL once the power went out.  Both worlds went dark. 

          Having just posted my one hundredth story in this blog, I’ve spent enough time inworld that I still wonder whether SL is something separate and apart from us or is it part of our reality?  Are virtual worlds and their relationships just something we have when the lights are on or are they part of us and our RL’s and are missed just like our RL friends when they can’t be with us?  Something to think about as we dig out from under Sandy. 
         I’d like to thank all who met with me as we went through Sandy.  I’d also like to thank all those who were nowhere near the storm but expressed their concern and checked in afterwards.  I’d like to think that events like the last few days are once in a lifetime occurrence.  But, who knows? 
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

     If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.


kimba said...

Gah! I totally forgot that you were in Sandy Central! I'm still checking in on RL family and friends. So I'll check in on you too - this is me checking in.

My virtual friends are real to me - although I have to admit that I've met a lot of my virtual friends in RL. I like making the crossover ... even if it's only for coffee.

webspelunker said...


TYVM and please don't worry, we're OK here. (At least in my little corner.)

See you soon!



Lynne Hand said...

I think the fact that people were able to meet up and offer emotional support says all we need to know about the relationship between SL and RL. Virtual hugs or real ones? They carry the same emotional weight.

Lindal Kidd said...

From what I heard, the Mayor of New York City told Obama, "don't bother to show up, we're busy here."

webspelunker said...


You're right. They both feel good when things are tough!



webspelunker said...


I think the Mayor's rethinking that after his administration mutinied over the Marathon and neighborhoods in Queens and Staten Island are on the verge of rioting!