When we last wrote about Vice's Virtual Lower East Side, we were merely IRL observers. Since then we've gone in, and developed our own avatar named Wayne. Wayne is a youngish graphic designer. He prefers camo hoodies and wears a scruffy beard. His skin tone is Hickory Twilight. Wayne will be sending us periodic updates from the virtual streets of the Lower East Side. Today, he hung out in front of the Hat, trying vainly to purchase a frozen margarita—and met a girl!
So for some reason, at 3:00 pm today, the virtual LES was shrouded in a premature crepuscular darkness. As I strolled by Pianos, I noticed not a soul was inside. So I made my way to El Sombrero. Since I couldn't figure out how to open the door, I decided instead to hang out in the middle of Rivington. And that's when I saw her. Wearing a black tanktop and flared jeans, her chest thrust forward and a brown ponytail secured with a white scrunchie piled atop her head was Ayam. It was nighttime and yet, her eyes were hidden behind a pair of reflective sunglasses. She could be a hooker but there was only one way to find out. Goddammit, where is the solicit prostitution button in this game?
Ayam: Can you talk
Wayne: um, yeah
Ayam: Because I just said hi.
Wayne: Hi. What are you doing standing in the middle of the street?
Ayam: Good question. I'm not sure
Wayne: Do you live in the LES or just in the VLES?
Ayam: Just VLES. You?
Wayne: Yah. I live around the corner on stanton and allen.
Ayam: Are you here for a show?
Wayne: No Just hanging out. You?
Ayam: I'm just here to make sure people get to the shows they want to.
Wayne: [realizing she works the game] Well, if you ever wanna come back to my place, I live right around the corner...Wait a sec, you're not outsourced to India are you?
Wayne: Ok I gotta go do some shit.
I tried to initiate a hug but Ayam didn't respond so my arms just cut through her like water. Bouncing weirdly up and down, she flitted away from the corner and I remained, realizing the accuracy of the VLES's claim that the VLES is "ridiculously-realistic." The conversations are strained. The goodbyes are awkward. No one is really from there.