Personal space

Last week, I started uprooting some of the Linden plants on my parcels in Aglia and Zeuzera and replaced them with prim plants and trees from Organica and Botanical. I've been reluctant to make too many changes in Aglia because I want to preserve that parcel's history. Well, at least its history as it pertains to me. :)

For now, I've set down autumn trees which will change in a few months. Or maybe not, depending how I feel. And I'll probably reroute the stream and switch to better sculpts for the water. In any case, the re-landscaping is not quite done. And I won't be touching the main structures, like the glass house, the deck, and the gazebo. At least, not yet. I feel some pride in the fact that they've withstood time.

My neighbors in Zeuzera saw the changes I made to that parcel and noticed that I've updated the dividing wall. I met them when they first moved in, when they asked if I would smooth the dip in the terrain at the border of our parcels. Later, they purchased the parcel I had a bit north when I needed room in my tier. They wanted to purchase the rest of my parcel in Zeuzera but I refused. It is my buffer, in a sense, protecting the main parcel which is the first land I bought. When my neighbors saw the updated wall, they asked if I could remove it instead. I had made the walls transparent on their side, so I didn't see a reason why I should remove them.

To their credit, they've done a wonderful job with their parcels. There are layers of landscaping areas and lovely hidden nooks among the foliage of the trees and rocks. But the sculpted cliffs that surrounded their paradise was transparent from my side yet showed strips of some of the faces perpendicular to the border. And it looked ugly from the wrong side. I explained this and they agreed. Instead, they offered to landscape my parcel as well.

I'm sure they meant well with that offer. And I thanked them but declined. Besides the issue of choosing between opening up my parcel so anybody could rez on it (so I would have to waste my time checking if newbies had left junk on the parcel) or adding strangers to my private group (which would reveal some alts that I don't want revealed), I felt insulted by the offer.

I have never said anything about their trees overlapping at least a meter into my land, which makes me feel like they were invading my personal space. It's not as though my parcels look awful. One of the things they said when they moved next door was that they liked the fact that I built a garden. And for them to build right on my land and impose their idea of a garden on me feels insulting.

I'm sure that's not their intent. They were probably just trying to be nice. But that makes assumptions about what people want out of SL. They probably assumed I just want a pretty place to live in. But it's more than that.

The end result doesn't matter as much as the process itself. I don't just want a pretty place. I want a pretty place that *I* built and put together, using pieces that *I* choose, placing them where *I* want. Only then can it feel as though the space were really mine. This is not a public parcel, although I allow people to spend time in it. It is there for *my* pleasure, not for anyone else's. And, therefore, it should be just the way *I* want it to be.

In fact, I don't spend much time in that parcel anymore, because I had moved my workloft to another sim, and the pavilion I set up for me and my lover is in yet another sim. But I keep Aglia and Zeuzera because they have personal meaning for me. And, because of that, those spaces are more *personal*.

It's not the space or the object or the avatar that matters, but the meaning we associate to them, the emotions that get attached to them. A virtual shrub of gardenias is just another pretty thing until a lover gives it to his beloved. A gazebo is just another nice place to sit in, until friends gather in it and share wonderful conversations in it. A song is just another pleasant sound, until a man dedicates it to a woman because it reminds him of her.

It is the same with these parcels.