For those who don’t know me, I’m an avatar from Second Life and live my life in that virtual world. When my human made plans for a long distance relocation, I felt it was time for me to pack myself into some cozy corner of her brain and hibernate until I could return to my world.
The day the move began, she had a couple of men load a U-Haul trailer and that afternoon she drove the SUV with trailer in tow. It was a journey across many states and beginning of a new life.
This trip should have been all about my human but by the end of the first day, with speeding across endless roads and up steep mountains, it opened up the mind and my little corner of it. It was a great place for some quality ‘think time.’ While my human was focused on the road it seemed my thoughts would crowd out my human’s thoughts. I wasn’t thinking about my world though but seeing the world through my human’s eyes. In fact, I found myself becoming immersed in her world.
I know this me/her things is difficult to understand, even freaky. But maybe it just comes down to point of view. But perhaps one footnote from this trip will reveal this odd little identity swap.
It was my second day and “we” were near the Wyoming border. We had stopped for a rest and some gasoline. The guy working the pump on the other side of our pump was having difficulty. He was an elderly guy and asked for my human’s help. The instructions seemed to be garbled or even in code. About that time a stranger appeared and joined us in deciphering the gasoline pump instructions. After a moment he said, “It must be a Native American language.” That made a lot of sense to all of us, sorta.
Anyway, we agreed that this was a foreign language, so the guy at the pump drove his car to a different pump with instructions in English. Then as he pulled away, the stranger explained he’d missed his bus and wondered if he could ride with me to the next town.
The stranger was a tall guy, about six feet with a trim build. He had strong dark hair with just enough gray that you could say he had salt & pepper coloring color. His face was tanned and his whole appearance was a bit on the rugged side. He had expensive clothes, like you’d find at REI, but they had a weathered look to them. I especially liked his hiking boots, top of the line quality and relatively new. His clothing was mostly shades of blue, but well matched and he had a distinct style that I could relate too. He was even attractive, but it was his aura or energy that set me at ease, he had a calm energy and easy-going way. And I suspected there was a disciplined intellect at work, quietly analyzing. I figured the stranger was forty or thereabout and looked him over for a long moment, but instantly felt he could be trusted.
So, I responded, “Sure, I’ll create some space for you.”
This was very uncharacteristic of my human, to take on hitchers. In fact, she always cautioned friends against picking up strangers. For my human, all hitchhikers are like Rutger Hauer in the movie, The Hitcher, and all that. And while the movie is part of my sensibilities, I’m far more likely to find a fascination in strangers.
In the car he introduced himself as Paul and a few minutes later we were back on the highway headed to the next town. Paul asked me where I was headed. “Spearfish” I said. And he knew the town and said he like to go with me if it was ok, because his final destination was Rapid City. I also had hoped to make it to Rapid City, but was prepared to settle for Spearfish if I had to. So I said “sure”, again.
And so our conversation began.
I was curious about how Paul got stranded at that gasoline station. He said he’d hitched there from the Little Big Horn, where he’d driven in a rental car. He returned the car with the intention of catching a bus, and that sounded odd to me. I wondered what a guy was doing wandering around, bumming around this region alone? These and many more questions were on my mind as we headed off into the next five hours.