Hello stranger (Part 1)

(Inspired by an original idea by ‘Denim Man’)
 

BC6aPdTCYAAVMe4_large“Will you be my friend?”

The request came, as they often do, right out of the blue – a complete stranger, barely a week rezzed – one of those things you tend to get used to after a while.

“i’m sorry, dear, i only accept friend requests after i’ve had a chance to get to know people – that’s how it works around here.”

There was a long pause and i could almost feel the disappointment in the silence, then:

“Aww.  : (  That’s really sad  – you seem like such a nice person too and you have some really interesting things in your profile”

Well, this was something new – a noob who took the trouble to read profiles? Wonders never cease! Coming to think of it, she hadn’t asked me for lindens yet… perhaps she wasn’t so bad after all? Let’s see whether she really was too good to be true.

“So, er, Fartblossom… i have to ask – why on earth did you choose that as a name?”

The answer was a little while coming – i could tell that i’d hit a raw nerve before she even answered.

“It’s not completely my fault. Nobody tells you what to do or how things work around here! I was just having a laugh and put the first thing that popped into my head – nobody told me I’d have to walk around with my name on display to everyone I met, and I honestly thought I’d be able to change it once I’d had a chance to think of something better!”

It was hard not to giggle, but not without a pang of sympathy too – there must be quite a number of people wandering around sl, labelled with names they wished they’d never thought of. She was right, nobody tells you these things when you arrive, it’s no wonder people get confused. Uncharacteristically, i found myself warming to the girl – what the hell, we’d all been noobs once and i’m pretty sure that there were a fair few avatars out there that i’d tried befriending in my innocence. There were quite a number too, who’d happily helped me through the early days, despite the innumerable irritating habits and questions that i’m sure they suffered from me. Sighing inwardly, i took the plunge and accepted her friendship offer.

friend1_001“Oooh! Thank you so much! We’re going to be the bestest friends ever!”

The involuntary groan that escaped me said it all. What was i thinking? Anyway, i supposed it would be a case of waiting a few days, during which she invariably wouldn’t stay in touch and, after a decent cooling-off period, i could simply unfriend her, and that would be that. It was high time that i logged out and got on with the business of everyday life anyway, so making my apologies, i wished her well, exchanged a virtual hug and poofed, almost instantly forgetting my new found friend.

ooOOOoo

“Hi! How are you?”

This was within moments of logging in – in point of fact, this had been the scenario every day for the past week. Blossom – we’d decided fairly early on to drop the ‘fart’ – seemed to be continuously inworld; i don’t think a single day had gone by that i’d not logged in, to almost immediately be greeted by a welcoming IM from her. In a way, it was rather charming, but in another it could be terribly wearing and not a little creepy.

In that first week, Blossom had latched on to me like a blood-hungry leech. Don’t misunderstand me – she wasn’t constantly in my face, but she had the annoying habit of just ‘getting in the way’. If i was having a private conversation with someone, i’d be interrupted by an excited message from her about the latest freebie clothes she’d found or some new sim she’d discovered; if i was trying to build, my concentration would be broken by TP invitations or a copy of the latest picture she’d taken. She’d ask to come along to clubs and music venues with me, hang around when i was with friends and, generally – in the most inoffensive manner – make a blasted nuisance of herself!

Of course, i tried dropping subtle hints. but she never seemed to get the message, either that or she’d think i was trying to push her away, (which, of course, i was) – then she’d play the ‘you don’t really like having me around’  card, and i’d cave in. It wasn’t that i didn’t like having her around, i just didn’t want her around me all the time!

Blossom was both terribly needy and incredibly demanding – never in a nasty or self-serving way, but it was taking its toll on me. There were times when, desperate for a little space, i’d log in with an alt – never something i was particularly comfortable with at the best of times. Even then, with crazy regularity our paths would cross – wherever i happened to be, somehow she would end up in my proximity. In an empty sim, i’d find the one other avatar on the radar would unaccountably be her; or in a crowded club, i’d suddenly see her black, spiky hair, bobbing above the other avatars’ heads. In the end, it became pointless to use my alt – we ran into each other so often that i was sure she’d ask to be my friend… and that would just be too much to bear: i returned to being myself.

It was several weeks later that i cottoned on to the fact that other people were beginning to find her presence a little strange:

“That Farty girl you’ve been hanging around with”, remarked my old friend, Dodgy Crumble, “don’t you ever get fed up with her – ‘cos you don’t seem to spend a minute apart… is there, erm, something y’know… going on with you two?”

i was mortified!

“No way Dodgy! You know i’m not up for any of that kind of stuff – strictly here for fun, shopping and the music!”

He looked at me knowingly, if that’s possible from the point of view of an avatar! At least, it felt like he was looking at me knowingly, and his next words didn’t help in the slightest…

“I’m not so sure – surely there’s more to it than that… especially with all the things she’s been saying about you and her?”

Now i was worried. What the hell had that little bitch been telling people?

“Nothing to be ashamed of”, he continued, “me and Astra are dead pleased for you… we all are in fact! And this little cottage you’ve got for yourselves sounds lovely! Any chance of an invite to the house-warming?”

There are moments when, faced with certain revelations, even though you may only be pixels, you just have to sit down. This was one of those moments. i asked Dodgy to bring me up to speed on what rumours Blossom had been spreading.

It turns out that – according to Blossom – i was indeed her ‘bestest friend ever’ and that i’d taught her everything she knew about sl – apparently, without my help and friendship, she wouldn’t have lasted a week and she was saying there was no way that she could never repay my kindness. She’d told everyone that i was constantly by her side and that we shared everything. As for the cottage… it was a lovely little retreat on the shore of the Blake Sea, where we could retire to and spend hours in each other’s company, without a care in the world. This was all news to me – and i really didn’t know what to say.

Inevitably rumours had spread, fuelled by Blossom’s ridiculous gossip, a number of my closest friends – Sheena, Stale and Bobby, Dee, Tony, and Regal, to name just a few were convinced that we were an ‘item’. Gina Underfloor was even on the lookout for a new hat, ‘for the upcoming wedding of the year’!

It was at that very moment that the subject of our discussion should choose to IM me:

“Hi! Aren’t you talking to me today? You’ve been logged in for ages and you haven’t even  said ‘Hello’. Is everything ok?”

Definitely, the wrong question!

“No! Things are not at all ok! You and i have some serious talking to do! – i want to see you, in my skybox in 5 minutes… and, if you’re not prepared for some straight-talking and answering some hard questions, then you can wave goodbye to our friendship! Is that loud and clear?”

Fuming, i apologised to Dodgy and said goodbye… it was more than about time for me to get to the bottom of all this nonsense!

(To be continued…)

Listen my hopeless friend
Listen my hopeless friend
Come inside and drop your coat
Wash your hair you smell like a goat
Graham Coxon – Hopeless Friend

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