Every time she saw the Mini Cooper on the move, wifey would spring up in her seat in sheer exhilaration and shout: “My car!” I never bought her one, though this excitement has been building up since 2010 when she spent a fortune to earn the most coveted driving licence in the world. I still wasn’t convinced about her instinct and defensive driving skills.
Everything changed ever since I toddled into the metaverse, handheld by a Gen-Zer in the office.
The sheer thought of the incredible vastness of the universe and the existence of the pale blue dot called Earth in the cosmic system of matter and energy makes me disillusioned even at this advanced age. Let alone the metaverse — a whole new universe for virtual worlds — which is equally overwhelming and baffling. Claustrophobia chokes me as I realise man’s search for truth is now taking him from the realms of the physical and spiritual into exploring existence in virtual reality.
That’s when I thought buying wifey a Mini Cooper in the metaverse wouldn’t be a bad idea after all. If the pleasure of hogging a physical storybook isn’t much different from comprehending it on the Kindle, driving around in the virtual Mini Cooper shouldn’t be drastically dissimilar, I thought.
“Let’s go and check out the Mini,” I said, as she poured some real hot Ceylon tea into the physical china.
“Really?! Don’t bullshit me. Where are we going?”
“To the metaverse.”
“Where is it? In Meena Bazaar or Clock Tower?”
I have since spent several nights educating her on how the metaverse has become the new Lulu Hypermarket or City Centre where you can purchase almost anything — from prime land to mansion, Mini to Mercedes and Cartier to Chopard.
“What about Kerala papad and grated coconut?”
“Fret not, darling. Let’s first create our avatars,” I parroted the metaverse expert in the newsroom.
“Our virtual self. Like how the deity Vishnu had 10 of them, you can have as many on different platforms. Maybe one day, we can have a universal avatar with an Aadhar or smart Emirates ID. You never know.”
“Oh, you mean the mythical avatar, the Sanskrit word? Why do you pronounce it with an inflection in the end? It’s not a-ve-TAR.”
“Oh sorry, my bad.” In the following days, we let our imagination fly, choosing smart-looking avatars in smarter outfits. Wifey looked svelte and sophisticated, as if she had just undergone a liposuction procedure. I wore a pull-on and a polo with a winter beret. She looked dazzling in a Fuchsia plaid, pleated tartan mini with a matching beret. We shed all those ugly carbs age had dumped on all visible parts of the body with the click of a mouse.
“Are you sure about the stilettos? You recently underwent rehab for plantar fasciitis.” I said, choosing a wrinkle-free visage and a crown full of unwieldy hair for myself.
“You said we can’t feel, smell and touch in the metaverse. So how does it matter?”
“Yeah, but you never know one of the fellow shoppers could be your sis-in-law. I’m not quite sure about the mini skirt too.”
“Look at this, I’m not getting my hair right. Need to pay for better options.”
I then enlightened her on creating virtual wallets stuffed with cryptos and NFTs.
“How do we do it?”
“We can buy NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, with cryptos; and to buy cryptos, you need cash.”
Using her physical gratuity from the physical school where she retired, to buy cryptos, she said: “I’m ready. Oh my, look at my curls.” The night was young in the metaverse. Armed with a wallet full of cryptos, we roamed the virtual Burj Park and strolled along the Dubai Canal.
“We haven’t paid Dewa this month,” wifey reminded just as I was about kiss her cheeks made rosier with virtual cosmetics, travelling back to the real world occasionally. “Utility first. Romance can wait. Anyway, it’s not real, no?”
We strolled into the Dubai Municipality’s One Human Reality to get updated on our civic responsibilities and paid a quick visit to MoHAP’s meta home for a quick prognosis on her ever-rising HbA1c count.
The crowd by the canal was waiting for a tour of a mansion, which was up for grabs for a few millions. The headset played “Roses are red, violets are blue” as we peered into a classic Italian bedroom.
“Kiss me now. Close the door,” she said coquettishly. It wasn’t as close to reality. The smell of the medicated coconut oil was missing in her tresses. The brush of her lips didn’t burn my shoulders.
“Upgrade your app to premium to close the door. This is a freeware,” announced the VR, forcing us to part.
At the Mini showroom, things were as real as they could get, with the immersive experience of a test drive out in the street. She zoomed along Sheikh Zayed Road and Jumeirah Beach before paying in NFTs for a full option in chocolate brown. She modified it, adding a spoiler in the back and removing the muffler in the exhaust. A look of contentment creased her face as she drove out of the showroom. So far so good.
The VR pinged an alarm as we were leaving the Gold Souq where we tried out a few necklaces and took selfies but never bought.
“What’s it darling?”
“My wallet is nearly empty.”
“Assalamu alaikum. Did you test-drive a car some time ago,” asked the officer at The Sandbox police station where we lodged a complaint.
“Yes, we did.”
“There were 10 traffic violations and 15 black points within an hour, and fines were auto deducted from your wallet. Rest assured, there’s no theft in this part of the world. This is the safest place on Earth.”
On Earth or in the metaverse, I wondered when wifey said: “I’m so hungry.”
“Me too, but we don’t eat in the metaverse.”
“Hey, did you fart just now?”
“I have a bloated tummy. How did you know? You don’t smell in the metaverse. By the way, that’s your wallet password.”
“From your idiosyncratic sound effect on the VR,” she said as she sprayed an aerosol can just in case.
Wifey’s brand new Mini was missing when we returned after a sumptuous meal at De Fish in Karama. Identity theft was the regulator finding.
“The meta Mini is gone. So is my gratuity. Let’s walk back,” wifey said, eyes crimson in despair, as we turned the corner at the end of the virtual Kuwait Street. “Why is your tail wagging surreptitiously, mister? What are you searching for?”
“Nothing. Hmm, the Meta Massage Parlour I saw on Insta this morning.”
Our lives are now divided into two phases: the pre-Covid and post-Covid era
Writer's Corner1 month ago