“feeling of not belonging”

Dedicated to the anonymous reader of this blog…

… There is a woman playing the piano. You probably cannot hear the notes but you see her from far away. She is playing Claire de Lune. It takes a long time for the notes to emerge, she has to start over and over, from the very beginning. Little did she know it at the time, but it turned out that she was giving a recital to an audience of only one. I suppose she did have an inkling of sorts… That sense of knowing when someone else is there… Over a distance of hundreds upon hundreds of miles.

She was born as a man. Made her appearance clad in those unsightly black shirt and jeans, hair combed sideways, staggering onto Orientation Island. That was one year ago. She/he did not need to hang around there, after all, his/her human knew her way around Second Life. She teleported to the mainland, stood lost at an info hub. And then he/she was discarded. Until quite recently.

She is an odd one, this woman who was born as a man. It is taking her quite some time to find herself, to figure out who she is. She rarely talks, she has no friends to talk to anyway. Belongs only to one group and that one out of sheer necessity.

I, on the other hand, am Alpha. I have friends. I belong to groups. I even have a real virtual job for God’s sakes, writing for one of the most prestigious blogs of Second Life. And then of course there is my life’s work, my building. I am Alpha Auer, Resident of Second Life. Not a mere cipher. I have an identity.

But do I really? If all of this is so cast in stone, so indisputably real, then who is she? Why is she around even? Why is she the one giving nocturnal recitals? Why is she haunting my human imagination? Filling my dreams with her unreality?

I was at a lecture on Second Life last week. One thing that was said stuck with me. That Real Life is no more “real” than Second Life. It is all a projection anyway. Plato’s Cave. Second Life gives us a novel understanding of our imprisoned condition, facing the shadows of our so-called “reality”. Our minds.

We do not belong. Neither here nor there. Meanwhile, she will continue to play the piano. Sometimes.

When I was a child I had a wolf. We lived on the outskirts of the city, and somehow this feral puppy made it into our garden. For months and months all I could do was to leave food for her, knowing that she would eventually venture forth in the cover of darkness. In time she approached me. She never became fully domesticated but she was there, on the periphery. There was even love in her beautiful yellow eyes, or so at least I thought.

And that is ultimately how we do belong. In the affection we perceive in alien yellow eyes. For a time.

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