Thursday, June 23, 2016

"You Don't Have To Pick Up Your Toys, Okay?"

The D-lab railway station (pictured below) is a whimsical stop on the Second Life Railroad. Located in Poecila on the eastern edge of the Atoll (Heterocera), this storybook station is a charming place to hop off the train and look around. Wander along the stream, sit on a cow or a sheep, or take a ride on one of two UFOs that hover over the parcel. Then, head back to the station, look to the West, cross the tracks and the street, and head up the hill. Near the giant giraffe and panda you'll find a rocket which will port you to the sky garden high above.

Owned by Dazai Voom, D-Lab is one of the most creative spaces on the grid, and the toy store in the sky garden is the main attraction. Located on a floating platform powered by giant gears, the store is filled to the brim, inside and out, with interactive toy displays. Above the toys, one can find garden items for sale, and surrounding the shop are tree-lined village streets and shops with animal proprietors, including a bakery, a bookstore, an egg shop, a jam shop, and an animal theater. Outer platforms include a large pool area where you can test out some water toys, a pose shop (Andika, with whom D-Lab collaborates on toy poses), and even a dairy where you can milk your own cows.

Visiting D-Lab always brings up strong memories of my childhood. Not that there are stores this amazing in first life, but the former John Wanamaker's in Philadelphia was pretty cool in its time.  A kid-sized Monorail (pictured above, left) carried children above the 8th floor toy department at the John Wanamaker's department store from 1946 to 1984. Every November, on Black Friday, my grandmother would take me there, and I'd ride that monorail, peeking down at the toys, and feeling special because I was someplace where adults couldn't fit. We'd eat lunch in the Crystal Tea Room, then watch the light show (pictured above, right) in the cavernous atrium of the store before heading off to Gimbel's to see Santa.  

One of the things I love best about Second Life is that it seems to rekindle a sense of joy in play that a lot of us lose as we grow older and burdened by a myriad of responsibilities. I often joke that the folder labeled "toys" is the largest folder in my inventory, and that may well be true. Places like D-Lab (and Intrigue and Off The Wall) actively encourage joyful play, and I'm so thankful for that. First life can be stressful enough. May Second Life always be someplace where we can stand on our friends' heads, fly through the air in giant sneakers, have soapbox derby races, and run with abandon through wheat fields. And with autoreturn, you don't even have to pick up your toys in here. ;)

While you ponder that, enjoy this Shel Silverstein poem, read by the man himself, and take some time to go visit D-Lab!

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