In the tall grass garden on the roof of my home

In the tall grass garden on the roof of my home in Second Life

Mera Kranfel’s recent post on what makes a virtual home a home reminded me of that Burt Bacharach song “A house is not a home”. Have you heard it? The first verse goes like this:

A chair is still a chair
Even when there’s no one sittin’ there
But a chair is not a house
And a house is not a home
When there’s no one there to hold you tight
And no one there you can kiss goodnight

I’m not sure if I completely agree. But the lyrics do speak to the sentiment of emotional connection – as in, ‘one’s home is where the heart is’. Again, I’m not sure I agree with that phrase either.

To me, the emotionality around a home is about safety and permission. When I feel safe, a house is a home. When I feel I can do what I want in it, a house is a home.

I suppose it wouldn’t matter what you chose to shelter yourself. Many people choose castles in the air, some opt for modern luxury mansions; others build rustic little cabins, spaceships, or even blank flat pixel platforms. As long as you feel safe and feel permission to do what you want – then it can be your home.

Yeah, safety and permission: If I want to strip down to nothing and sit in the grass in my roof garden; feeling that I safely can – that’s what home means to me.

Wherever I am on the grid at the end of the evening, I will go home before I log out. I’ll land on my porch, walk into my bedroom, and lay myself on my bed before I click “Quit”.

For me, there is definitely a feeling of safety when I get home – and the feeling is no different than when I might get inside after a night out in the city. I can now finally relax, comfortable in my surroundings. I control everything about my environment (and can cease to constantly redesign environments that I haven’t personally designed).

One of the things I found most challenging with InWorldz, when I visited, was that I didn’t really know where to go when it was time to log out. I felt like a homeless person, finding a corner of the shoe store I was in, under the cover of old shoe boxes for warmth and protection. So, again, bizarrely, I logged back into Second Life, chilled out for a bit, and then went to bed the usual way I always do.

Likewise, when I relog, that’s where I find myself, awakening in my bed as it where, not quite ready to take on the world, but in a safe place where I can clear my mind, and properly transition to where I am and what I want to do.

It’s funny habit, and I wonder if other people do it too?