Wade has spray-painted the only window in his apartment black, so no natural light comes in. He orders everything he needs online, and deliveries arrive through the high-security War Door Wade has installed, which means he never actually has to interact with anyone. He doesn’t use the kitchen, ordering takeout or microwaving frozen meals instead. He has constructed an OASIS “immersion rig” out of the latest pieces of technology to make his time spent in the OASIS the most vivid and comfortable it can be. He also purchases a sex doll, but after “several highly unproductive days” inside a virtual brothel he decides to throw it away.
Wade has designed his apartment to allow optimum ease of access to the OASIS. In doing so, he has placed himself in a rather dark scenario in which he has no contact with the outside world whatsoever. The fact that he paints his window black indicates that his level of single-mindedness and determination is rather unhealthy. His use of the sex doll and visit to the online brothel further emphasizes his loneliness and isolation.
The system agent software of Wade’s computer—somewhat like a virtual personal assistant—is named Max, and resembles the 1980s talk show host Max Headroom. As Wade gets out of bed and prepares for the day, Max jokes around with him. Wade works out every day using gym equipment in the apartment. He started doing so in an effort to lose the weight he gained after moving to Columbus, and before long, he is in “near-perfect” health. He has begun to feel that the immersion rig is a kind of self-imposed prison. He cannot deny that he is an “agoraphobic shut-in” and a “sad, lost, lonely soul.” On the other hand, in the OASIS he is an “international celebrity” and “legend.”
This passage points out a dilemma for OASIS users. In order to achieve the kind of fame, wealth, and success that Wade now enjoys inside the OASIS, it is seemingly necessary to abandon one’s real-world life and devote oneself entirely to the simulation. This in turn raises the question of whether such an exchange could ever be worth it. Even though Wade lives a life of fame and glory in the OASIS, how much does this mean in the context of his life of real-world isolation?