The Siren Call

Sunday evening, June 29

Ahuva! Aaaaah – huuuuuu- vaaaaaaah! It’s calling to me. Unlike Odysseus, I am not lashed to the mast. I can see the laptop on the table. It wants me. I want it. But RL is insistent as well. There are bills to pay. Dinner to cook. My husband and I are alone for 6 weeks, with our son away at camp. But we’re not alone. There are three of us. Him, me and SL. Today I suspect my husband is not as amused by my infatuation as he was the day before. So I ignore the siren call and do every day RL things. Then finally, the lure is too great. I’ll log on for just a moment.

The moment I am logged on, Melissa IM’s me. “Hey! Where are you?” She asks. “Wait til you see all the cool stuff I’ve found.” She’s already been on for 4 hours. I meet her at the money tree so we can compare notes. WOW! She looks great! She’s changed her clothes and she’s got WINGS!!! Not to mention a really great necklace. We teleport to a Ladies Changing Room. By now we know that it is incredibly uncouth to change cloths and appearance right out in public. So we are in the changing room and Melissa starts showing me all the freebies she’s picked up during the day. Ahuva is playing with her hair and her skin, trying to recreate her original look. Melissa is showing off all her different outfits, including different sets of wings. Wings for every outfit. My husband comes by to check out the lingerie. I have to warn Melissa to turn around. It really wouldn’t be appropriate for him to see Melissa without her clothes. (I get the feeling that we may be losing the line between reality and pretend. These are digital representations that do not look a thing like our actual selves. They don’t have any genitalia or body hair. My original Barbie and Ken dolls were more detailed than our avatars. And yet none of us think it is strange that Melissa shouldn’t be seen by my husband. Do you hear the Outer Limits music playing?)

At some point in this process, Ahuva’s skin turns black. I don’t mean she becomes African-American, or very tan, or any other recognizable entity. I mean black, from the tips of her fingers up to a line at the base of her neck. It might be attractive if it was all her skin, but the fact that it stops and her neck, face and feet are still, – oh gee, I guess this would be Caucasian – beige, makes her look odd. If I wanted to look odd, I wouldn’t have picked a humanoid avatar!!!! I now begin trying to adjust the skin tone. No luck. Sometimes I make the black go away, but then everywhere else turns gray. I can’t tell if something is wrong or if I’m being impatient and it hasn’t stopped rezzing (that’s SL slang for having the picture resolution finalize), or if somehow this is my new “look”.

In the midst of this, 2 other characters teleport into the dressing room. This would be alright, except that they both appear to be male. Well, one of them appears to be male. The other appears to be a bunch of boxes stuck together. An interesting “look”. At least he is color-coordinated, so who am I to criticize? The ensuing conversation verifies that they are both male. We tell them they have to leave – this is the LADIES dressing room. We’re in luck – they do indeed leave after a little more chit-chat. At a point when Ahuva is gray and beige, we also leave the dressing room. We find a land officer and I explain my problem. She tells me that the gray has to do with resolution (I have GOT to get a new machine!!!). She says the way to fix it is to put on a new skin. Oh great. That sounds totally creepy. I can deal with changing my hair, changing my breasts, changing my body shape (hey – I’m a woman – I do that every darn day of my life!!!) but changing my skin? Other than tanning at the beach and trying to avoid pimples, I don’t do much with my RL skin except moisturize it. But it’s change my skin or stay gray and beige. That’s not even good for school colors.

So I look into my magic box in my inventory and sure enough there are some skins. “Lightly Tanned Skin”. Okay, beats “Sunburned Skin”. No – that wasn’t an option. At least not in MY box. Maybe someone else actually has that option. So I send a brief plea to the internet cloud and click on “Lightly Tanned Skin” – wear. Alright!!! I’m all one color. I think that it’s at least a medium tan, not light, but that’s even better from my point of view. And there’s no bathing suit line! I must be going to the nudist beaches in SL. My hair is still nothing like my original hair (it was soooo cute!!), but it’s acceptable. Melissa starts teleporting me to find the same freebies she got – the necklace and the wings. I’m getting better at moving about. I’m not as good as Melissa, but I can follow her for the most part. And when I get confused or when my keyboard seems to lock, there is always the “teleport” option. Melissa has that down cold, she has to rescue me so often. (Have I mentioned that I need a new machine?) It’s getting late, my husband has already disappeared upstairs to sleep, and I tell Melissa that we need to call it quits. I’ve been on for 3 hours and she’s up to 7 hours. So she takes me to Fishermen’s Cove, where there are beach chairs, a water slide, a hammock, dolphins splashing in the water, soothing music and a lovely view. We each stretch out in a chair, kick off our shoes, and say “goodnight”.

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