Recently, I checked in on a message board of some folks I used to hang with in an mmorpg and saw that someone had left me a message talking about a memory she had of something we'd done. Yeah, that's vague, but the specifics aren't the thing.
What we did in that game was totally virtual. I never met most of the people who met lots to me in the game outside of the game, though I have met a few.
We acted through our avatars in a virtual world, and mostly, I had tons of fun.
It's surprising to me, after several years, how strongly I remember some of those ephemeral moments, though. How much I'd like to chat with familiar folks long since logged off (as have I). How much I'd like to have some of those experiences again (but you can't really go back, of course).
Some of the most fun I had in the game came from doing unexpected things, especially going somewhere with a couple people and doing something that required teamwork and skill, and pulling it off. Big cooperative multi-group accomplishments were also good, but the things I did with a couple people were usually more intense and my skills felt more necessary and important.
For me, life is rarely as scary, dangerous, or intense as that game was. Mostly, I'm glad of that, because the game's a LOT more forgiving of error than my body is. But still, the intensity was fun, and I sometimes miss it. And I miss being fairly good at doing my part to accomplish stuff. Somehow, committee meetings, even when we accomplish something important, rarely give me the rush of excitement. Teaching gives me a steady, lower level of rushing excitement, thank goodness, but I don't often have the sense of really good teamwork in teaching. Ideally, I would. But mostly, I don't.
No doubt, that combination of real safety and rushing excitement contributes a lot to the popularity of both MMORPGs and Disneyland-type places.
When I was a very young child, I visited my Great Grandma K, and she visited us. As she got really old, GGK would confuse me for my mother as a child, or talk about waiting for her husband to bring the buckboard to pick her up (she was a teacher). I was fascinated by the way she'd talk about the past; her conversation was like bringing all those Little House books to life.
I knew four of my great grandparents (some on each side), so I probably have decent genetic potential for a long life. So, if I get old and demented, I wonder what people will think if I start reminiscing about dragons and such. What will happen when I start talking about the avatar names of people I interacted with (none of which sound like normal names)? Of how genuinely concerned I was the first time I met the famous B? Of how I feared Fear itself?
I went for a ride today with some friends, and got a moment of real fear when one of my friends stopped in front of my on the bridge. I barely got unclicked before I fell against the bridge railing. It would have been BAD to fall high against it and over! (I don't think I'd actually go over, but it did get my heart going!)