I should be packing. Putting books into boxes, sorting through the accumulation of paper, getting my life in order. This move is short; simply a different apartment. Very different from a year and a half ago when I put everything into a moving truck and travel hundreds of miles from my family and friends.
Rolling hills covered with corn fields and soybeans have been replaced by office buildings and apartment complexes.I’ve replaced old routines with new, discovered my city and more about myself. But I didn’t leave behind everything…everyone…I knew.
I flip open my laptop, click an icon, and another world loads. Windows pop up to tell me who is online. These are also my friends, my family. People in digital guises who supported me when the real world I built was torn away. Like the loved ones in my first life, they encouraged me, let me cry, distracted and delighted me. They remain a constant presence through my moves. And fortunately for me, they are portable.
The companions of my virtual life take many forms. My partner and fellow explorer who delights in the playful side of Second Life. A fashionable zombie and a hatchie, a librarian, a demon and a djinn. I’ve added writers, artists, builders, tinies and duchesses and teachers over the years. A few have not remained, but I suspect we shall meet again. It is the pattern of my life, after all.
I’m asked by people in my first life, “how can you trust people you’ve never met? People’s whose names you don’t know?” Very easily. In both worlds, a person’s actions tell you who he or she is. An avatar doesn’t mask the real person, at least not for long.
So I jumped down the rabbit hole, set up a home in the Emerald City, and invited a caring and the creative menagerie to share it with me. And I haven’t regretted it for a moment.
Kghia Gherardi co-manages Bookstacks and co-hosts the Off the Shelf podcast on Radio Riel. She can be found leading book discussions, shopping, and wandering the grid. Her typist is a web manager at a college in Boston. She is currently trying to decide if it is easier to sort her inventory or pack up her apartment; the jury is still out.