Off piste

Well, it’s been a strange and unexpected weekend. In RL, I’ve been suffering from a cold – and it’s been a monster one, in fact at one point, thanks to blinding headaches, excruciatingly painful neck and shoulders and mysterious pains in what I imagine were my kidneys, accompanying the usual coughs, sneezing and snot, I found myself frantically checking for mysterious rashes, fearing meningitis or worse. Thankfully not, but you can’t be too careful I think  when something that horrendous comes on so suddenly.

It didn’t help that this bout of plague came at the tail end of a week working away; depressing enough at the best of times… So when Friday evening finally arrived  and I’d wearily crawled home after four hours on a train that was as congested and bunged up as my own respiratory system, all I wanted to do was catch up with friends, relax and remind myself what having fun is like.

I think I may have been a bit feverish when I logged in: I can be somewhat ‘effervescent’ at the best of times, but on this occasion even I was surprised at the constant stream of barely coherent witteration flowing from my keyboard. It was fun and spending time in the company of maniacs certainly did a lot for improving my mood.

Then the unexpected happened.

There comes a time – both inworld and in RL – when something casual and low key can suddenly, and dramatically, attain a whole new degree of significance. Like the moment the face hugger erupts from its leathery egg case beneath the mist and attaches itself to the front of Kane’s helmet… Things would never be the same again. It’s the moment you suddenly find yourself snogging a casual acquaintance… The plain brown envelope that contains the news of the winning premium bond… The day your boss gets escorted off the premises for sexual harassment and you’re suddenly in charge… The news that tells the third lieutenant they’re now admiral of the fleet  because all the other officers are dead… The wrong turn that takes you away from the nursery slopes, off piste… Those, ‘we’re not in Kansas any more’ moments. All these things happen, but you never quite expect them to and, with hindsight, you’re never entirely sure how you’ve ended up where you are.

It was indeed one of those moments.

It was a moment where a casual conversation opened wide the entrance to the rabbit hole.

Now, to be completely honest, I’ve been down this particular rabbit hole before, (and not exclusively in the virtual world). I’ve been around SL for a long time and invariably, when that’s the case, there will be lifestyles, activities, groups and factions that you’ll entertain for a while, but not all will stick and so you move on. Its a constant process that most of us go through – there was a time, for example that I would have laughed at you if you’d said I’d ever be playing music in my own nightclub, yet now that’s a regular occurrence – but in a few years time, that may well all be in the past and all but glossed over. We change, our interests change, the people and situations around us change.

That doesn’t mean we can’t change back.

So, I’ve found myself, for the first time in years, opening up inventory folders labelled ‘retired’, having conversations that are rather unconventional in terms of the normal topics I tend to talk about, shopping in stores that I’m surprised are still around, and doing things that – had you asked me about a week ago – I would have looked at you as if your were a little bit mad.

I’ve never been particularly mainstream anyway, whether inworld or otherwise, so I’m more than happy to ditch the nursery slopes for something completely out of character, unconventional and different, at least in the eyes of those who’ve only known me from certain perspectives. Having said that, in RL, if you knew me well enough, you’d probably be surprised to see how there are some parts of my real life that – up until now – are simply not mirrored in my Second Life at all: Imagine, for example, somebody deeply religious in their real life who gives no indication of their leanings inworld, and you’ll be somewhere towards understanding the oddball nature of my existence!

Anyway… The rabbit hole is revealed, the abyss beckons and I’ve taken the plunge. I doubt anyone – apart from a select and privileged few – will even notice a difference, but that’s probably just as well.

And, for now at least, that’s all I have to say about the matter.

s. x

Kiss the boot of shiny, shiny leather
Shiny leather in the dark
Tongue of thongs, the belt that does await you
Strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart
Ganjil – Venus In Furs

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