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?