Things You Can't Do in the Metaverse

An incomprehensive list

mature business woman wearing virtual reality glasses
jose carlos cerdeno martinez/Moment/Getty Images
Jennifer Schaffer
hello, world

As I’m sure you’ve now heard, Facebook is rebranding as Meta and betting big on the metaverse, an “immersive virtual environment” wherein “creators” can create “worlds” for us all to die in. Here is a list of things you will not be able to do there.

  • Pull your laundry out of the dryer and immediately wrap yourself in warm clean bedsheets like a taquito.
  • Trim the stems off of $5 flowers and add a penny to the vase to bring the droopy ones back to life.
  • Light a candle that’s almost at the end of its wick so it gives off that cave-like light and nice smoky “fire hazard” scent, and then when it burns out, dip your finger in the wax while it cools like a mini makeshift paraffin manicure.
  • Eat a slice of scalding hot pizza on the sidewalk and burn the entire roof of your mouth and then get another slice and burn it again.
  • Order a large coffee and drink half of it and leave it on your radiator and then realize the radiator has kept it warm for four hours.
  • Hide from work.
  • Hide, in general.
  • Curl up with your dog, who is a very good boy, and scratch that one part behind his ears that makes his right leg twitch, and ask him the eternal rhetorical question, “who is a very good boy,” and watch his tail thump against the floor.
  • Eavesdrop on a first date at a crowded bar and swap glances with the bartender when a guy wearing a puffy vest launches into a monologue about his ex-wife.
  • See texture.
  • Hug your mom.
  • Make eye contact with your best friend from across the room at a party and telepathically signal “save me” while you’re trapped in a conversation with a man who keeps saying “wait and another thing” every time you try to excuse yourself.
  • Forget to open a window while you’re chopping onions and feel your eyes burn and weep, and then stare at yourself in the mirror and pretend you are Jessica Chastain in a movie about a custody battle over a prized but aging show horse.
  • Get approached on the street by a random seven-year-old and find yourself agreeing to keep a secret, and then bending down to listen while he launches into the middle of a story involving, you think, him and Spiderman, and someone named Boaty Lantern. Nod seriously while he talks in breathless hyper-kid speak, even though you can’t understand him. Watch how this delights him. Agree to the rambling terms of a pinky promise before he runs off.
  • Make George’s forbidden treat.
  • Procrastinate on figuring out a Halloween costume until the day of a party and purchase a bunch of technicolor knitwear at Goodwill with the intention of dressing like Ms. Frizzle but upon getting home decide it looks insane and show up to the party in a black turtleneck as “Elizabeth Holmes.”
  • Go see your friend’s new boyfriend’s band play, and watch her face as she slowly comes to the realization that they suck.
  • Sink into your couch after a long day of “running errands” and sigh extravagantly like you’re a Victorian aristocrat in need of smelling salts.
  • Feel your knee touch someone else’s knee under the table and then make eye contact where you both acknowledge it without saying anything and everyone else is just continuing to chat but you know something happened, or didn’t happen, and that’s also fine.
  • Drink a Bloody Mary on a plane even though you do not drink Bloody Marys anywhere except planes.
  • Accidentally inhale paint fumes and mix up words in your head for the next hour.
  • Instinctually collect rocks while you’re at the beach even though you have nowhere to put them.
  • Make chicken soup with a carcass while listening to the Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack and pretending you’re in the Old Country.
  • Let your friend absent-mindedly braid your hair while you finish your second glass of wine sitting on a hardwood floor.
  • Browse a ceramics shop where there are no visible prices and then turn a plate over and see it costs $200. Feel too ashamed of the time you’ve spent browsing (no one else is in the store) and panic-buy the smallest item on offer, which looks exactly like a nipple and costs $75. Spend years pretending it’s an objet d’art, quietly hoping someone, someday, will tell you what it is.
  • Listen to a thunderstorm with all the lights off and your windows cracked open.
  • Stretch.
  • Go to the bathroom.
  • Have great sex.
  • Put Mark Zuckerberg in jail.