Xiyuan Liu/Lord Bernard Escargot Shallot IV: Vignettes from San Myshuno

(The events of this chapter take place either concurrently with Seven Days, or after. You’ll probably be able to tell which is which. This chapter is a lot shorter, a lot less bonkers, and yes, I am aware I have other Sims.)

Settling In

Xiyuan had no trouble whatsoever acclimating to his new life.

This is what he was doing when I switched control to him.
This is the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth thing he did. It’s good to be home.

The Neighbors

Xiyuan accidentally moved next door to the Chinese Mafia. He made the mistake of introducing himself in his native language, and now they can’t seem to leave him alone.

Note the hearts coming from the door when Lily Feng, the wife in this two-Sim household, is outside.

They love Xiyuan. They love the absolute heck out of him.

Victor and Lily Feng are described as a politician and businesswoman, respectively, who are secretly bent on world domination. In practice, though, they apparently spend all their free time with their ears up to the wall they share with Xiyuan, ready to bolt out and stand in front of his door the moment they detect any sign he’s home.

If Xiyuan talks to them, they take that as an invitation to come in and use his computer for hours, because there are no other sources of entertainment in his apartment beyond painting obsessively and practicing instruments.

This is DAY ONE.

He can’t even avoid them in his dreams; when he goes to bed, they follow him to his bedroom and start an online chat with him using his computer.

By now, “Xiyuan pink” should be starting to make a lot of sense

If he practices the piano, they need to be let in so they can watch him play. If he has friends over, they need to be let in to watch his friends. If he’s cooking something, they need to come over so he can feed them. He can barely put a book away without one of them realizing his presence and knocking on the door to claim boredom or loneliness.

It was Mapo tofu. She ate two whole servings back-to-back.

But Xiyuan is too polite/hyperfocused on painting to ask them to leave, so the only Fengless moments he gets are when he leaves his apartment. They haven’t started following him around. Well, they haven’t started following him around every time.

Exploring the City

San Myshuno offers a variety of activities for the discerning tourist, some of which are outlined below with minimal commentary. You can drink in San Myshuno, as demonstrated by Claudia:

You can also break into your friend’s house and use his bar while he’s at work, then leave before he comes home.

You can ignore age limits for sitting at the bar, as demonstrated by Shu:

Green hair has a thing for Xiyuan, she’s going to be so disappointed

You can reluctantly listen to your young son outline his plans for teenagerhood:

When the body language screams “I don’t want to be here” and the townies scream “you need to download more CC”

You can appreciate the lack of bureaucratic awareness as a filthy Sim dressed as a raccoon sleeps on a cheerfully multicultural park bench:

Oh, I get it! She’s a trash panda.

You can light yourself and Claudia on fire and pretend you and your ex are on speaking terms because your kid is right there:

Xiyuan’s sitting there wishing he could have burned that outfit instead. Also, in his defense, Claudia was already lit.

Here’s something you can’t do. You can’t invite dead painters to the romance festival:

😦

You can be peer pressured by your friends into buying garbage:

Raise your hand if you can see Xiyuan ever wearing this or any other T-shirt. Nobody? Good.

You can have your cultural identity erased:

Dolly’s partner: I find it unbelievable that a painter and violinist would be lacking in finger dexterity. (Dolly’s partner actually talks like this)

You can be marginally less awful at karaoke than everyone else:

You can, and probably should, definitely avoid this guy:

This is the kind of person that Simister and I would see on a train, and everyone would immediately shift in their seats and shift their gaze down to avoid acknowledging the fact that they now have to share a space with someone who ignores societal norms in a potentially harmful manner, and Simister would be fascinated by the shared feeling of discomfort and start a conversation about how unhappy everybody looks because they have to share a space with a potentially volatile person, while seated right next to said person, while I lower my head and try to shrink into as small a ball as possible to hide all evidence of my existence so I don’t get murdered

And this is just the beginning. It’s a nice city, but, personally, I can’t feel at home without the lingering smell of piss.

Welcoming Bernard Home

In case you missed the moving Gothic romance/giant wall of text, Xiyuan successfully convinced Lord Bernard Shallot Escargot IV to run away with him and start a new… life. Bernard has had some exposure to modern technology and customs (he understood the importance of making the relationship Plumbook official), but also must adjust to leaving his entire previous life behind.

The first thing he did was possess the oven.

The maid is like “yep, same shit, every day”

Luckily, his primary liaison with the modern world shares enough common interests to make the transition smoother.

Having your boyfriend match your entire house is peak Xiyuan

This also had to happen at some point.

The game had an achievement for WooHooing with a ghost, which suggests EA is judging me pretty hard right now

Bernard was initially thrilled to have moved in, but as the shock of seeing his apartment for the first time wore off, the guilt he felt for leaving Mimsy began to dominate his thoughts.

He also saw all the mean fan content people made about him on the internet.

Ideally, Bernard would have made an appointment with a licensed mental health professional to discuss his anxiety/depression (because “loony” isn’t an actual thing, right?), high sensitivity, traumatic experiences, social isolation, blasé attitude towards his own death, change in sexual identity, recent divorce, and dramatic relocation. But in this world, there is no therapy. There are no medications for chemical imbalances in the brain. There is only basketball.

See the tiny green arrow? It’s working!

It took Bernard 8 hours of shooting hoops to get over his divorce.

Having been touched by the miraculous healing properties that could only come from chucking an orange ball into a net held open by a 10-foot high metal ring, Bernard was finally free to live his best life. Bernard’s best life involves his re-entry into the Painter career, five hours minimum of art practice per day, and being really, really fucking cute with his partner.

Shut the blog down, we’re done

All of these posts so far have been polished from the original first drafts, which were built from pairing screenshots with first-thought commentary on the situation. Past Dolly had nothing insightful to add about the following two images, or eighty gazillion other similar images (not shown), and just mashed random keys while squealing. Current Dolly doesn’t either.

sgjl ravjcfi;nsgoidhrgiorehigowr
dsgijharcifxneiaxfhijdbfpojpje. Actually, this one is marginally plot-relevant.

Connoisseurs of The Sims 4: Get Together may have realized one glaring inconsistency in the story as presented so far, which is that Bernard’s traits are Art Lover, Ambitious, and Hates Children, and Xiyuan has a kid. Xiyuan never actually mentioned that he had a kid. This is because introducing Shu to Bernard is a potentially volatile situation that should be carefully handled in a safe environment, and certainly not like this:

Bernard did manage to have a civil conversation with Shu, which is as much as anyone could ask for.

In short, by the power of basketball, Bernard has successfully been reintroduced into society. Here’s his natarajasana.

WHAT ARE YOU HOLDING ON TO

The Finale

Sims have a different understanding of love than we do. Sims can be paired off to someone reasonably attractive and compatible because their handler wants to also control their children and they’d be perfectly happy. If a human did that, we wouldn’t call that love. If a friend said “Brad and I are going to get married because we need beautiful babies,” you would spend the next few days furiously trying to convince them that this is a Bad Idea and they need to Get Out of This Hot Mess Right Now.

But for Sims, it’s fine! As long as they have a 60-100% full friendship bar and 75-100% full romantic bar, any two Sims can be labeled as soulmates. Us humans, we don’t have a bar to fill. The decision to marry another human is often reported as happening during mundane activities, like eating breakfast.

Sim artists randomly choose what to create from a list of preset images. If two human artists in love decide to collaborate on a work together, they’d probably choose something deeply symbolic and meaningful, something that captures the essence of their relationship. For example, if a couple transcended time and death to be together, they might choose to focus on the timelessness of their partnership, and portray two figures encircling each other in eternal harmony. Sims are incapable of understanding metaphor as a concept. Sims can only paint what the game tells them to.

Even if one Sim gets the whim to marry their partner, it takes a while for the other Sim to generate a similar marriage-related whim. Whims are randomly generated according to a variety of factors. It would be extremely improbable to have two Sims express the same desire to be wed within 12 hours of each other.

Yep, the reason the previous one had the controls uncropped was so the time of day would be visible.

The list of all possible suitors for any given Sim is finite, known, and short. Humans have a much larger set of options; faced with a myriad of potential choices, the set of people they meet is determined by chance. Sometimes finding love is a matter of being in the right place, at the right time, and talking to the right person.

Sims have a well-defined set of defined characteristics, but may be given more depth of character by their creators through external backstories. If two Sims are fated to be together, it is often by design. It would be unthinkable for someone to design a Sim perfectly suited for another while being completely unaware of the other’s existence.

And of course, if a human falls in love with someone who died in a previous era, they’re SOL.

This is all one big coincidence. Most of these choices were made by a machine, and while this particular combination of events is improbable, it’s not impossible. So what? Are our lives not subject to the same forces of stochasticity?

And ultimately, if we come to recognize in Sims our own experience of being an unwitting victim knocked around by chaos, they start to feel more human.


“Dolly,” you may be wondering, “what’s this perfect fairytale romance doing in a story about handling death and self-inflicted trauma?” Well, let me ask you something.

What does this imply about everyone else’s relationship?

4 thoughts on “Xiyuan Liu/Lord Bernard Escargot Shallot IV: Vignettes from San Myshuno

  1. Xiyuan pink! Trash panda! Bald townies! I’m cracking up. Okay. I’m going to read for a bit longer before I make more comments. I promise I won’t be a lone weirdo, making you rewind like 7 months into the past.

    BUT

    man do I relate to that description of Simister on the train. Oooh boy does my husband do the same thing (and my father in law, the two them together with strangers is an exercise in how quickly can I make myself invisible!).

    LOVED the whole part about sim relationships vs human relationships. I felt guilty for like 5 minutes. But then I was I corrupted by the unending power bestowed upon me by being their handler.

    That last line: What does this imply about everyone else’s relationship?

    Whew. Honey. Child. I had no doubt who’s story I was reading. damnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Y’all don’t worry about the comments; I spend way more time on this than I should and love to hear when other people enjoy it. It means a lot for someone with a punishingly dense/intricate story who has Words of Affirmation as a secondary love language.

      Liked by 1 person

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