When I first moved into the metaverse, I was nervous. Would I like the new neighbors? Would there be any good restaurants? Would I still have access to my Hulu account?
Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. I don’t eat out, I avoid my neighbors with surgical precision, and my place came with HBO, which makes Hulu look like a trash can full of old, scratched-up DVDs. The metaverse is almost exactly the same as regular life, just with better graphics. Let me break it down for anyone who is considering a move inside, because some things are different.
The Neighborhood: You know those depressing Zoom backgrounds? The metaverse is like living inside one of those—with the kind of people who use them. It’s a fully immersive nightmare. Like marriage. Or when your Amazon package doesn’t arrive within 24 hours.
MY ROOM: On the plus side, I now live inside a perfect digital replica of the Sistine Chapel. My fifth-floor walk-up in Queens had cockroaches. My new place has Michelangelos. It’s super-cute. The ceiling was a little busy so I repainted it a nice robin’s-egg blue, which really opened up the space. I dealt with a broker, not Sistine directly, but she clearly gets it when it comes to storage space. The metaverse is a major upgrade for urban dwellers tired of storing winter coats in the bathtub in the summer months, assuming you’re not using it to languish, drink Pinot Grigio, and sob uncontrollably about climate change, possible nuclear war, or the frequency with which people mention Pete Davidson.
MY BATHTUB: It’s just a digital projection of a bathtub. But still great for sobbing. Since my place is a reclaimed chapel, all the water is holy. Sure, sounds nice in theory, but you have to get a priest to install copper pipes. Costs a small fortune, and they get super judgy if you leave out your drug paraphernalia.
THE FOOD SCENE: My human body is suspended in a vat of fluid somewhere outside Detroit. A food-like goop is injected directly into my abdomen by an Amazon fulfillment center. Friday is taco night. I try not to think about it too much.
PETS: My new apartment came with a pet koala. I thought it was really cute until I discovered it was the avatar of a Russian dude named Demetri. I got wise after he tried to fondle my butt, kept speaking Russian, and demanded I call him Demetri. I heard in real life he owns a Papa John’s franchise outside Moscow. So I can’t just put him down; he’s practically royalty. I’m just gonna crate him until he stops drinking holy water straight from the toilet.
THE LIFESTYLE: The metaverse can be great, though. You don’t need to worry about commuting, the stench of garbage, or that thing where you walk toward someone and you both step in the same direction, smile awkwardly, then feel like dying of embarrassment. They fixed that somehow.
What they didn’t fix is people. Most of the ones in here have opinions and want you to hear them. Try to have an excuse ready. Maybe you have a Demetri that needs to be walked? Idk. That’s something you need to figure out for yourself.
THE DATING SCENE: Have you seen The Exorcist? It’s like that. But before they get the demon out.
THE SCHOOL DISTRICT: Betsy DeVos runs the education department in the metaverse, and she shut down most of the schools. She kept open a virtual Hogwarts experience hosted by Spotify, where Joe Rogan teaches organic chemistry. But it’s pass-pass (no fail), and the only students accepted are kids who lie to the sorting hat.
PLANTS: I’ve learned this: With enough neglect, even digital plants can die.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: One of the best parts about life in the metaverse is transportation. You don’t need to take the bus or the G train anymore. You can teleport. It’s lightning-fast but makes your undies scrunch up in the back. So make sure to pack some soft undies. Name-brand stuff. Don’t be cheap.
THE NEIGHBORS: Hit or miss. I lent my neighbor my lawn mower. When he returned it, the gas tank was clogged with pennies. We don’t speak now. I was really ticked off, as you can imagine, and filed a report with the local authorities. They referred me to the local psychiatrists, who put me on mood stabilizers and industrial-strength Valium. My unbridled rage is now semi-bridled. My neighbor? Still an undiagnosed dickhead. What a waste of pennies!
THE CURRENCY: Everything is paid for with a new crypto called ZuckCoin. Zuckerberg himself lives just down the road—no matter what road you live on. In the metaverse, there are infinite copies of Mark, and they all look like Luke Skywalker. He usually just leers at people and makes a sort of hissing noise. It’s our only community safety policy—if you do something weird, the Lukes hiss at you. Demetri hates it.
THE UNIVERSE: I know my new life seems glamorous. But I’ll be honest with you, there are some drawbacks. For one thing, there’s no good place to read a book. I don’t read, but if I did I would be bummed. Also, I have been robbed of the ability to love myself and/or others. I don’t really know where my hands are. I want to die but don’t know how. I miss my old life.
So I pause, pretend to breathe (there’s no air), and try to be grateful. Most people can’t afford to live in the metaverse. They’re still living in the regular universe, like actual human beings. Pathetic.
Sebastien Theroux is a New York City–based writer