In the first few days, everything was new. At the time, I assumed that everything was new only to me; I didn’t know then that everything was literally new, having just spun into existence with my arrival.
Salim, as my first acquaintance and oldest friend, had come into being a mere few seconds after I exited the Blue-Green Density. Perhaps that’s part of what tied us together so comfortably.
We fell into a habit in those early days of leaving affirming notes for each other on the bulletin board.
“It’s a beautiful day! Get outside and play some basketball!” he’d write.
“Life’s a mystery! Explore it!” I’d write back.
We never signed our notes. We never talked about them. We pretended they were anonymous. Yet we were the only two Sims living in that apartment, and our floor was the only one that existed, the others being part of the Illusion of the Game, and so this was our own game that we played with each other: The Anonymous Affirming Note Game.
I like games and I always have. Who says that games are not real?
At the first GeekCon I attended, I met scores of Sims who, at least for that afternoon, were dedicated to games.
I watched them file into the festival grounds.
I realize now, as I reflect on my festival, that this is the earliest memory for the others who attended. My appearance here spawned their genesis. At the time, I felt I was the newbie.
I joined Bjorn, Clara, and Moira in the first Ultimate Gaming Test.
The games thrilled me.
The holograms were more real to me than my surroundings.
This isn’t hyperbole. It’s statement of fact. I could interact with the object of the gaming rig and the sub-objects within it, which is more than I can do with the scrim that forms the illusion of environment around me. What is real? For me, the game is more real than the backdrop that creates the illusion of a world to those who can see it.
I couldn’t get enough of games that afternoon! When the UGT ended, I joined a few others for a multi-player round of Party Frenzy. Nancy laughed and called us “noobs,” which we were! I think I had just a touch over a skill point.
I met so many Sims in the early days: I felt compelled to introduce myself to everyone. My mailman and Akira showed up at GeekCon, and we had lunch together.
I was so socially awkward! A compulsive talker, I told stories that fell flat, enthused about TV shows none of us had even heard of, and shared my creative ideas a few too many times. Sometimes, the other Sims overlooked my too-eager approach gracefully. But other times, I felt like an upended turtle who wanted to crawl back into her shell.
In the early days, I discovered what remains one of my favorite moments: the Arrival.
The White Transport fades and I find myself standing before the lot I’d traveled to. The pause and anticipation of that frozen moment–who else will appear?
We had no good singers in those early days. We had good cooks, gardeners, repair people, jokesters, mixologists, artists–but no one was spawned with the ability to sing.
You’d think that since none of us had the skill, we wouldn’t recognize the poor performances! Not so.
Akira loves to joke that we were all singing a-crapella in those days.
My basketball skills weren’t much better. But somehow, I didn’t mind being lousy at hoops. Or bad at video games. Or not knowing how to sing. Everything was so much fun.
When I wasn’t learning new things, I continued my compulsion of meeting new people. I must have introduced myself to ten new Sims in three locations during my first few days.
I loved it when I met someone and suddenly knew something about them–that instant knowledge that we get. For example, having never been to a day of work and without her having to say anything, Geeta and I both knew we were coworkers.
But I also loved discovering things about people through conversation–I still do. Every time I discover a fellow geek when I start talking about a new game, I can’t help but feel thrilled.
I tried so hard to make friends. My friendship with Salim had happened so quickly, that I thought it would go that way with everyone I met. How wrong I was!
It started off great with the others. They’d invite me out, or we’d meet up someplace.
We’d have an interesting conversation. Then, I’d let my geek out, or I’d burst into an inspired rant, or I’d tell one too many funny story, and they’d check their texts on their phone and I’d be left alone in my little bubble of happiness.
I hardly minded, though. I’m not sure if I had patience. I don’t think I had trust that it would all work out. I think I had enthusiasm, and this enthusiasm was so strong that it overshadowed my awkwardness, my overly friendliness, my total cluelessness, and instead, it spurred me on to continue making new discoveries.
That joy I felt learning new things, exploring new possibilities–that’s what sustained me during those early days when I had only one friend in a whole newly created world of newly spawned Sims.