Join the metaverse they said. It’s the next big thing they said. Buy an NFT they said. Be the objects you own they said. The ship was getting ready to set sail and I needed to jump on board. Sometimes it’s best to settle into a comfortable seat before the music stops.
So now I wake up every morning, immediately jump in the shower like usual, and settle into my chair with a nice tall cup of hot coffee. I like to sit there for a few moments or minutes, not sure which, looking at nothing and thinking about nothing. I guess you could call it meditation, but I don’t think of it that way. There is something too New Agey about the term, a designation that puts me into a category I don’t want to be a part of. It means wearing free-flowing yoga clothing, burning scented candles on expertly made hardwood furniture, reading self-help books of all stripes, and prominently displaying at least one buddhist figurine in every room of my house. I’ve never put on name on it, but if I had to, I guess I’d just call it benign staring.
Then I plug myself in for the day and try to catch up on everything I’ve missed since I’ve been unplugged – knocks on my virtual door, package deliveries, gift from virtual friends, messages logged in my direct chat. Some days it’s a lot, others less so. I’d say I make my way through all of that stuff in about one to two hours before I get down to more pressing matters. This week I’m building housing for less fortunate or disadvantaged people, I’m never sure what the correct term is anymore. It seems to change fairly often. The units I’m building act as an entrée into the better world. The less fortunate, let’s call them that, win a lottery to occupy one of the units for a period of one month, at a reduced rate of course, giving them exposure to the better world and a chance to get a job that can sustain them long-term, allowing them to move on to permanent housing.
The truth is almost no one actually makes it through the first month and progresses to permanent residency but that’s not from lack of trying. I’m not sure if it’s a collective guilt we all feel in inhabiting this world of objective splendor and unlimited possibility or a desire to show off our world to the less fortunate, so they know what they are missing. Part of the fun of anything is having others envy it. We’ve run these opportunity programs for as long as I’ve been a citizen of our better world. It’s a nice respite for me. The other fifty-one weeks of the year I kind of just sit by the pool of my expansive mansion overlooking infinite wilderness on a plot of land gifted to me by family. Truth be told, that can get boring. Sure, I have a constant flow of friends cycling through and I visit them as well, but I like to break things up a little bit, get out of my comfort zone sometimes. I guess one week out of the year may be better characterized as rarely. Making an effort is most important, regardless of the frequency of that effort.
Right, so I build these houses. “Shit.” It’s the damn doorbell. Every time I settle into some productive work I get interrupted by that thing. It’s the doorbell at my physical house not the better world, which makes it ten time worse. I’ve thought of getting it removed a million times, but I have trouble getting over the novelty of it and if I’m honest the nostalgia of the anachronistic device appeals to me as well. It’s like people who collect tchotchkes. They mostly have no social value, probably negative value actually, but they have a special place in people’s hearts. Granted I have trouble understanding that specific example, but maybe my doorbell situation is similar.
I unplug and take a look at my security cameras: it’s a delivery driver accompanied by my development’s security guard. I’ve told that security guard a million times to take whatever packages I receive and store them at the office. Nothing I order is worth interrupting my work. Finding good help in this development has proved to be very difficult. None of them tend to last more than a month. One guy did last almost a year until he called out of work with only six hours’ notice. The rule is 8 hours. As you can imagine we had to fire him the second he showed up at the gate. I felt bad when the news was delivered. I even followed along on my security cameras for a couple of minutes. It always takes a few days to find a suitable replacement who can pass all of our pre-screening security tests. I guess we’ll have to start that process again. I’ll have to convene a meeting with the neighbors in the better world as soon as possible. But since their both here I call them over the intercom, “please place the package in the designated slot, thank you.” I watch them look at each other, then the front of the house, obviously searching for the slot. You can’t make this stuff up. After fumbling around and trying my patience they finally locate the damn thing in front of their faces and put the small box in there. I run a quick scan on it and see it’s a bullshit gift from my sister – a picture of us as kids. She’s too sentimental for my taste. She insists on these minor niceties, like anyone even cares about that stuff anymore. I try to put it out of my mind and get back into the better world. I’m already exhausted when I get there so I decide to take the rest of the day off and lay by the pool. There’s always tomorrow.