13 girlfriends

Last night, as I sat and listened to the silence of the avatars around me, I started to wonder about the one that seem to always be floating just on the outside the main group of avatars. He is a griefer of a friendlier kind, it seems.  This Second Life(SL) resident looked similar  to the grim reaper. Since all was quiet in the area,  I typed in general chat, I am curious about you. He comments, “yeah, people always want to know me,.I am all mysterious ( in a teasing manner).”  I replied, ” I did not say I wanted to know you, only that I am curious about you.” He could not understand the difference in what I was saying.  What are you doing, tonight? My question seem to catch him as strange and he said are you talking to me. Yes I am.

He was actully doing several other things on his computer at that time. He was reading the news, and posted the website into the chat. I followed the link curious to see what he would be reading. He was reading about the attack of a homeless man in LA.  We spoke about the news and I mentioned I was playing Entanglement, an online puzzle type single player game. He replied he also was playing that and remarked on the addiction of the game. He also said that he hated Facebook and had kicked that addiction, had not been on it since November.  Then silence.  I sat there, waiting.. and commenting to another avatar about how the area had changed since the last time he had been online.  When  my mysterious friend said ” I am skyping with one of my girlfriends.”  Laughing I said, “oh yes, I remember you, your the one with 13 girlfriends in different cities around you.”  He replied laughing with a yes.

Why so many girlfriends? His reasoning was, although he was only 20 his heart was broken over his high school sweetheart, and had even gone to both her proms with her.  He said he was not wanting to get back into a serious relationship. I said then why have girlfriends at all. He replied that they just want to be with him. Oh, are you attractive.  And with some coyness he replied with yes.  Silence… He said I had never thought about this before but maybe that is why my avatar looks like this,  I don’t get noticed, I mean who notices a ghost.    I said you can not hide from yourself. Even here people are drawn to you, are they not?  The conversation hung.

I thought for a moment. Strange that he seems to think he has no choice but to belong to someone just because they want it. Although he seem to be proud that he has 13 girlfriends, it was not of his choosing, he represents himself on a virtual world as something unnoticed, because in his real life he feels all eyes are on him. This is not vanity on his part this is something that has been developed inside him. The curse of popularity. Awww The movie Breakfast Club flashed in my mind.

I said, you know we all have had our hearts broken at some point in time. You should maybe just let yourself heal. Maybe filling it with girls that can not be the person you are hurting for is doing more harm. You need to be open when the right person comes. His response revealed his hurt.  I would drop all these girls when i find the girl. I know when the right time, right place, just like the end of the world, someday it will happen we just all sit and wait for it. Being twice his age, I said. ” I know you do not believe that someday it will not hurt as much, but it will not. You are young, enjoy it. Trust me everything does somehow fall in place.”   The conversation again died.


27 days

“I am leaving in 27 days, I won’t be back for 5 months, ” said the coffee cup avatar.

“Where are you going?” replied another avatar.

” I joined the army, I’m going to boot camp.” the coffee cup said.

“Will you be going to Afghanistan?”  the ava asked.

“yes probably… I hope so,  If I go there I will get paid double and some tax free. I will have $40,000 in my pocket when I come home.” replied the coffee cup.

With some distress in his voice the other avatar said, “Well, see to it, you do come home.”

The coffee cup replied,” Oh, I don’t think i will be in much danger, I will only be a guard for the prisoners.”

The other avatar said not another word, letting the conversation linger.

The coffee cup is a griefer within the virtual world, yet he is also a young man that joined the army.   I wanted to speak, I wanted to give advice, I wanted to mother him.  But who am I, no one to him. Just another Avatar sitting on the fence. So I waited to see what would happen next.

Their was another avatar there, dressed as a transvestite, he was  an  little Native American girl avatar, but he wore a  goaty and mustache. He was singing Disney movie tunes as his process of annoying the the group. The coffee cup returned the annoyance with playing his guitar and making up words that would target the goaty wearing avatar. Before long others began to join in the griefing process trying to “push the buttons and get a rise”. They were challenging the identity presented,  the statements, and behavior and abilities to win a debate.  Their  “weapons” singing, animations, gestures and a variety of avatar shapes, clothes.

The transvestite ended his grief as an avatar resembling a bobble-headed geisha. The coffee cup was still a coffee cup, the person the coffee cup ha had been talking with was still the man, he was before.

Yet, I’m once again I was challenged in my thinking and my abilities to be an observer. I am always challenged by the griefing process, so many times the things that are said, and the language used  push my button. I want to jump into the mess. But I have been slowly been learning, that if I realize that I am also passing judgements, and I can control myself and be still. I will learn far more than about “us” then I would by becoming part of the narrative.

Was this art?, the bobble-headed geisha seemed to think so, as he said at one point, “this is beautiful and this is art.”  It is a mix of real life and virtual expression.  I would agree it is art.