Playable: Home

The Jumping Off Point >>

Annette Thayer

Dimenche. Can you hear me? Don’t look in your relationship panel. I’m not there to be found. Look inside you, in the part of you that was changed through our encounters. Right there.


“Tune in, Lord of Oakenstead.”

Dimenche, we made it. We’re in Motherlode. We’re safe, and I’m…



I felt unsettled when we arrived. Lost. I’d taken off my shoes in transport, and somehow they’d become lost, and it felt strange to have the desert ground beneath my feet. There’s no grass. Green is not a color.

I told myself a story to help me settle down. It was a frightening story of black gaps into which pulses of energy can flow only to disappear and disintegrate. What happens when energy dissipates? Where does it go? What does it transform into? Where are my shoes?


“Strange rivers of nothingness circle past the floating objects of matter and light…”


“Resist! Stay firm! Do not go into the eagle’s eye!”


“Where are my shoes? They have left my feet, heading out on their own adventure in the black currents of deep space.”


“And now, here I am! Barefoot in the wilderness.”

After we arrived at Sanctuary in Motherlode, we decided to change our wardrobe. Maya said, “Let’s change because we can!” but I was thinking let’s change because we have.

The group

“Is this really us? We’ve changed! We should change our looks, too!”

I have five new looks, and each one is me.

Eric Lewis Prime walked by. He and Allison made it here safely. He is looking good! He’s not playing computer games all day; he’s getting out and walking. The desert air agrees with him.

He and I were both a little drunk on Elicanto Whirly, and so one thing naturally led to another.


Oh, plum. Am I flirting with Eric Lewis Prime?

By the time I became aware that I was flirting with him, we had already exchanged little pink bars of romance meter. Ah, well! In this new world, my affections enjoy new freedom, too.

Jim Bee, out for an evening stroll, passed by. I introduced myself to him quickly, hoping that he will lead me to Cathy Tea.


Look deep into Sim Jim. Memorize his sequence of zeroes and ones.

He didn’t stay long, but we enjoyed his friendliness. I will see him again; I have locked into his coding, and where he goes, I’ll be able to follow.


That’s him, heading down the street. I’ve got my own homing device in place.

Feeling the joy and freedom of being able to do something, but not being on a lot where there was anything to do, the four of us immigrants held an impromptu blic bock contest–I think I won, but I’m not sure, since I’m not exactly sure how to play.


“I’m winning! I’m winning! What’s the point again?”

We’re thinking of forming a professional blic block team. The Five Blockers of Blic, only there are four of us. But if we call ourselves “the five” then we can add someone if there is someone to be added, or if one of us is missing, then it will seem like two of us are missing, rather than only one, so the absent blic-blocker will not be singled out in her absence.

It’s too soon for me to express the ways that everything is different for everything is different. I am used to shifting realities, but I’m not used to those around me finding their realities have shifted, too. Eric Lewis Prime doesn’t seem to mind, and Maya, Nicola, and Paula say they are up for anything.


“Maya, will you help me in my new house?”

Maya has become my housekeeper. No. Not housekeeper. She said she would not be my housekeeper. She is my handyman.

“I have a hankering to fix things,” she told me, “And since you’re moving into an old house, I imagine most everything that can be fixed is going to need to be fixed.”

The house. It is the house. It is beautiful. It stretches out forever. It’s like the house in Willow Creek, but somehow, it fits here in Oasis Springs. There’s no lag.

I felt unreal as I walked up the steps to our new home.


“Am I really here? Is it now, or is it the future, and I am back at Oakenstead, viewing this in a vision?”

But Maya, lingering out front to enjoy the desert sun, assures me that we are truly here.


“Oh, travel through digital time and space does a number on one’s back!”

At least as much as we can be anywhere.


The house has a kitchen. I know what playable Sims do in kitchens. They cook!

We’re going to ask Paula and Nicola to move in, too: Paula, because we need a gardener, and Nicola, because I want her friendship. Nicola says her gardening days are over. This house will appeal to her materialistic side, and my careful way of doing things will appeal to her perfectionist side.


Look! This is me using a sharp instrument! And I’m being very careful!

I made a garden salad. I cooked a meal, in my new kitchen; I didn’t cut myself once, and the tomato slices were symmetrical and so beautiful in their perfection.


“So beautiful in their symmetry!”

Maya grilled fruit and we ate our first meal together on the patio of our new home.

Look! I narrate this tale of playable Sims so naturally, as if I were born into this life, as if motherlode and a five-item wardrobe and three different hair-styles and a beautiful Victorian and the choice of activity were my birth-rights, rather than something that I slid into sideways through energetic cracks in the fabric of consensus.

After supper, I played the violin while Maya read in the living room.


It’s like actually having a home!

I play terribly now, but I won’t always play poorly, and though it may take me longer to learn than most, when I do learn, I will play with perfection.


Eesh! Don’t listen, ok?

Maya studied the handiness volume so she will be prepared when she needs to begin fixing the things that break.


“Annette! You played that note in tune! It was beautiful, chica!”

When I was tired, I went upstairs to my own pink Princess Cordelia bed in my own pink bedroom.


“This is my little pink bed…”


“…in my own pink bedroom.”

My own bed. My own room. Our own house. I don’t yet know what it means to be playable, but I am feeling what it means to have a home.


The lights are on, and we are home.