Pic of the day: Itlandsen, the overly defensive paladin, with a bucket over his head. Much like real life.
One step further away
Reality is OK, but it doesn't beat Dark Age of Camelot, at least not anymore. Apart from my mandatory weekend grocery shopping (one hour of walking, good for body and soul), I spent most of the day and night on the cooperative server, playing Itlandsen the overly defensive paladin.
My paladin is kinda riding the green wave now, driving the fast lane, whatever your motorized metaphor. Already at 46.8. Despite the enormous sums of XP required to gain levels near the end of the lane (50 is the top), I actually level faster than I have done since my character was a teen! Great groups abound, and today I was even on a raid. I am getting more and more involved in the game, and I guess less in the real world. Just recently I referred to a person as "Alluna's real world character" instead of the correct "Alluna's player". That's kinda creepy once you think about it ...
Oh, and you remember the thing about how my chest seems to constrict or lock up so it gets hard to breathe? The other day, a female character giggled at me (well, at my character) and suddenly my chest locked up really bad.
I know when I was younger, I would get neurotic symptoms if I considered getting "too" close to women. But that was a time where I still thought that sooner or later I would have to marry and buy a house and raise kids. When I turned away from those possibilities, I felt free from the chains that had bound me. But evidently the instruments of my soul have been re-calibrated to a new sensitivity. This morning I woke from a long dream where I had been a Naruto-like character. (Naruto is an overconfident, hyperactive little Ninja trainee from a popular anime.) The dream had several low-key erotic episodes, and as I was slowly drifting towards the daylight I kept thinking along similar lines. And my chest locked up again. A rude awakening, won't you say? Oh yes, I think my soul has been re-calibrated again. One step further.
The funny thing is, when I have been with my best friend, who is definitely female (very female), I always felt fine. No matter how she dressed, no matter what she did, no matter where we were. Even if we sat alone in a dark room watching a movie (not that we got to be alone for long), or went shopping and I stood holding the bags while she changed, or she came stumbling in her PJs for a late breakfast ... I always felt free. No matter how sexy she looked (and men are known to cross the street when she dresses right), no matter how much we talked and even occasionally laughed together. Often, no, all the while I felt that I wished it would never end. I wished I could have been always by her side. Well, perhaps not literally. But to see her every day, to hear her voice, to see her smile or even to see her growl – she's not an angel, after all – to know that I would find her at the piano or in the sofa or at least see her at the breakfast table. I wished to do her dishes for years to come. I wished I could always be a part of her life. And I felt no fear, I felt no doubt.
I knew all the way that we would drift apart – it has in fact taken much more time than I thought – that no matter what we did, it would end someday. But now it has definitely happened. No matter how elastic the rubber band is, you can only pull it so far for so long. The bond is broken. I no longer feel part of her family.
Why did I feel so free in her presence? Was it because I knew all the way down, without doubt, that she would never have any romantic designs on me? Or would even that not have mattered? But now that I am free from her, I don't feel any freer at all. I feel constricted, walled in. Even in the online game, with a bucket over my head, my armor cannot quite protect me from the constraints of a freedom I never wanted.
But I am walking forward anyway, step by step, further away from a paradise lost. With a bucket over my head, from one imaginary world I walk into another.
Reality may be especially hard to face
(Exit song for the anime series To Heart.)
Visit the Diary Farm for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.