Sunday, September 24, 2006

Can't Even Keep a Virtual Plant Alive

I've known for years that I've had a black thumb. The one time I managed to keep a plant alive for six months, I used that victory as proof that it was okay to get a couple of pets. Well, thankfully the pets are still alive (mostly because they play a much more active role in making sure I know it when they're low on food or water), because the plant died shortly after I got the pets.

But today I descended to a new low: I killed a virtual plant I'd been tending.

To be exact, it was a virtual Chia Pet on my Mac Dashboard.

I'm still not quite sure what happened. All I had to do was give it two virtual drops of water every day or two. I'd been doing so well. It was thriving.

But today I opened up my Dashboard, and there it was. On its back with X's through its little faux(virtual)-ceramic eyes.

Of course, I quickly pressed a button and--presto!--it disappeared, to be replaced with a fresh new virtual Chia Pet instantly. No time allowed for guilt in the virtual world. No need to clean up the dried-up plant detritus. No one around to witness my negligence. Things carry less weight in the virtual world; it's easy to think there are fewer consequences. In some ways, there are. Because things evolve so quickly, it's easy to give anything that occurs in a virtual space less weight than anything that occurs in the real world. It takes an extra effort to give things the significance they sometime deserve.

Not that the death of my free virtual Chia Pet is one of those things that deserves significance. But on the other hand, I feel like I've descended to a new low. It seems like I can't even keep a virtual plant alive.

Which proves, I suppose, that there's some continuity between the physical and virtual parts of my life. There are many people who would see that as healthy. But it's still sort of sad that my virtual Chia Pet died. A virtual moment of silence, please.

[insert moment here]

Okay, that's enough. It's just a plant. One made out of pixels at that. And it was free. Of course, it did look like a turtle...


Em said...

I mourn for the virtual chia pet. And not just virtually. Now I'm off to water my plants...

Deborah Leiter said...

Thanks, Em. I appreciate the company in the mourning circle... By the way, the new Chia pet is doing fine so far... I'm determined to keep this one alive.