By now, it was pretty clear that the strange occurrences I was having were real, not coincidence. And that, somehow, they were connected to a) my husband, b) my work, c) Second Life, and d) my grad program.
I had started teaching in January of 2010, at a local community college – I was a bit overwhelmed, and not exactly sure of how much preparation was involved. It was so much work. I had been given 5 classes to teach, not realizing the workload that would be involved. But I figured, as with most jobs I’d started in, that I would learn as I go. I was determined to create a classroom atmosphere of exploration and discovery, and took the role as facilitator. The students were not very forgiving of my naiveté, not a bit. As point in fact, most of my students were middle aged “housewives” – that were more interested in engaging in petty arguments about one thing or another. Most days I was left exhausted. There was one class in particular that had gotten pretty heated, in which the student began an argument, and I – mistakenly engaged her in discussion. She seemed to be more concerned with her iphone while I was speaking. I’m not sure what she was doing, texting or recording, but I requested that we move on – and when she wanted to engage further, there was a majority of students who shut her down.
That felt good. To have the younger students on my side, at least.
There were other strange things as well – using a recommended assignment corrector, and never getting the papers exactly correct. I did a lot of correcting by hand, because of course I would hear about it from the students – and many students were poised to report these incidents to my supervisor. Like they were ready.
I tried to roll with it.
In Second Life, things were just as strange, because I never knew if the avatar I was talking to was my original “friend” or some hacker there to cause trouble. However, I had developed an idea to figure it out – well to a certain extent, at least.
I started telling stories.
Some of the avatars I met were all too eager to begin interviewing me, for whatever reason – so I either regaled them with silly childhood stories, or far out sexual adventures, or real ones, or tales of past relationships and jobs, or complaints about work and school, or bogus religious philosophies, etc., etc.
You name it.
However, I always tried to be careful about repeating myself.
That way, whoever brought up the story the next time, either in SL or in real life – I would know who I was talking to. Or, I would at least know which group I was talking to – friendly or otherwise.
Now, it wasn’t a perfect way to keep track, mind you – because people don’t begin conversations by asking pointed, obvious questions. There were subtle hints, though, about wanting to continue some kind of past discussion, some pattern of information, that I seemed to be able to pick up on.
So, during class, when your professor goes out of his way to mention “avoid a back to front” methodology of solving some problem, it MAY be because the night before we had a conversation together that included the same language. Well, maybe it wasn’t really him – but he’d obviously heard about it. (Gotcha.)
He had spies in there. He told us he did. So I didn’t really think it was a big deal. Until it caused major problems.
There were even experiences in real life, that would be brought up in Second Life as well. It was interesting to read back on the IM conversations that I had been logging – to discover other Gotchas.
Like the weekend I went up north to our family’s cabin – for a Ladies Only Party.
It was early Fall of 2009.
I was quite fed up with men, I mean, after how I was treated in Portland, and by my husband, and (it seemed) how every guy in town was acting like super jerks, let’s just say, in my mind, I was in need of a break.
My sisters were up there, along with my mother, and my Aunt Pam, and her neighbor, Annie. I had met Annie before, and knew that she was gay. She was really cute. An athletic build, and tallish – maybe 5’9” or so. We had all just had an amazing day of drinking, laughing, swearing, canoeing, eating, smoking weed (my once-per-year treat), and were sitting at the bonfire chatting. It was nice to let our hair down and just be ourselves.
Annie and I started a conversation together, and started flirting, and touching. She said she needed to get another beer, so she walked inside the cabin and turned and smiled at me, nodding her head to follow.
I smiled back and followed her into the cabin, and then into the bedroom.
We were both standing there smiling at each other, and then I lifted my hand to her face –
“You are really beautiful.”
“No, you are.”
And we kissed. So gently at first, and then more passionately – when suddenly, the door opens.
It was my Aunt, Pam.
Who was obviously angry.
I turned back to Annie, and looked at her face.
“Oh, no,” she said.
I looked back at the door to see Pam close it.
“I need to go talk to her.”
“Well, we kinda just broke up.”
Whoaaaaaaa. So…. My Aunt Pam and Annie had been seeing each other.
Wow. I hadn’t realized, after all these years, that my Aunt swung that way. I wondered if my Uncle Rusty knew – well, of COURSE he knew. Duh.
I was flabbergasted.
The two of them quickly announced they were going to bed (sharing the same tent), but had stayed up fighting all night. Later, I learned that my mother stayed up trying to referee – I guess it had gotten physical.
When I got home, I had told my husband about it. We laughed. (Well, I did.) Shit happens, life happens. I knew who I was – my husband knew who I was, I am a bi-girl. And that weekend I got drunk and kissed a gay girl. And was caught. By my Aunt, her on-again, off-again girlfriend. The absurdity of it was hilarious.
Monday night when I logged into Second Life, one of my friends on that BDSM sim that I was “hiding” on, suddenly logged in to ask if anything “exciting” had happened that weekend.