Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Harmon Keller/Alicia Polawski: Assets

The obvious puns that come with my trying to ascertain the value of Alicia's identity are crude, but fitting.  My current measurements are enviable, or desirable, depending upon one's perspective, but how does one properly value them?  I began asking this not hypothetically, but practically - I planned to use relinquishing this shape to one for whom it perhaps came more naturally in order to both start the next phase of my life in a more financially stable situation and to perhaps have more ability to select that next phase rather than have it happen randomly.  One might not believe that the Inn is a marketplace, but it is, much as any place where money is exchanged for a product is a marketplace.  It is simply a highly irrational one:  Most people who arrive at the Inn for the first time have no idea what they are actually purchasing, while the vast majority who return put such a high value on returning to their previous situations that they fail to weigh any other factors at all.

There are those who do treat the Inn as a marketplace, though getting in touch with them can be difficult and the data one gathers scant enough that it becomes difficult to build a model.  Youth, as one might imagine, is the primary variable; though few of the people I have surveyed admit to seeking immortality per se, they will when pressed say that they want as much time as possible should circumstances prevent them from later revisiting, aside from the physical robustness that correlates with youth.  Financial stability is high up there as well, although not so much as one might expect - those who are concerned with it can liquidate assets and place them in a numbered account, after all.  It is a far greater negative influence - nobody wishes to be poor - than positive one.

Sex complicates matters - by and large, there's a noteworthy bias toward male identities being more valuable, at least in this market.  It's not hard to understand why; the biological nuisances and reductions in social status on average can certainly be frustrating.  But appearance can cause great variance, as can things like relationships, real and parasocial alike, more so than men.

"Alicia" is rather well-equipped on those accounts, now.  Although this particular silhouette has never been the one I favored among female companions, I cannot deny that its rounded bosom and buttocks are certainly able to grab another person's attention, particularly when I made an effort to showcase them.  I was, admittedly, ashamed of having this form when I first started living Alicia's life, but over my time as her, it's become easier.  What's the harm of showing some cleavage or using some high heels to accentuate your gait, if it makes men (and women!) more attentive?  One must learn how to set boundaries without actually sounding like one is ruling anything out, but I feel I have done fairly well by that.  Indeed, there are days when I wonder if I have done so well in that area that becoming a man again would have a steep learning curve.

Aside from that, there is the "vlog", which had seemed to have plateaued last fall but which has been gaining audience steadily since then.  Perhaps it has become more useful as people start to seriously consider vacations (or, based upon what I see during the day job, actually travel more), rather than as just a way to experience such things vicariously.  I have also become a better hostess - as much as I have grown more comfortable using my physicality, I cannot deny that my interview skills have improved, and Barbie and I have become better at editing the pieces, on top of my existing skills as a researcher.  We have put together a reasonably popular "show" for the resources we have; it's not unheard of for a new video to get a hundred thousand views in a month.

This makes "_______ with Alicia" an asset that is growing in value, and I am not the only person who has noticed it - various "content networks" have made inquiries, both about the series as it exists and what they envision it to be.  On the other side, I have had others approach me with offers to "professionalize" the series.  Sometimes it is local camera operators, other times editors, other times "producers" whose imagined roles range from the nebulous to the specific and useful.

That is on top of the people representing themselves as "agents", many of whom I suspect are less than legitimate, and other "content producers" who have seen either my series or Jordan's short film and would like me to appear in their videos, generally for "exposure" (looking at the scripts they send, the double-meaning is obvious), but sometimes for money.  Indeed, some of them even appear to have ambitions beyond online videos - short films like Jordan's which they would submit to film festivals, and even a feature-length presentation or two, although I have my doubts those would ever play a theater.

What to do with these?  There seems to be little question that accepting the proper offers would make "Alicia Polawski" a more valuable commodity, but so many of them seem to be very risky, and also time consuming, enough so to make finding a time to actually transfer this life to another difficult.  Already, it seems impossible to do in 2021.  And it also sets up a possibility that I may find ironic should it come to pass - that I might build "Alicia" up into something so valuable that the next iteration would seem to be trading down.  I've occasionally been bemused by some of the younger victims of the Inn deciding to stay as they were after a mere year or two, because they could no longer imagine returning to their old lives - as someone older than most of them, I cannot say that being Alicia yet feels normal enough to make my previous life seem alien, just in terms of the weight of experience - but the idea that I could become attached in the process of building these assets up to their peak value sometimes seems both frightening and amusing.

-Harmon Keller

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