Friday, May 1, 2009

My mother and Second Life

My parents don't really get the whole concept of my freelance work. They see me slouching around the house in a baseball cap and sweats, rattling away on my laptop, and it doesn't exactly scream "productivity" to them.

They only just stopped grumbling about it when paychecks started coming in, and particularly when I started writing them checks for rent, even though they always protest. 

But I insist on paying rent. I'm not a complete slacker, I'm just half of one.

Occasionally I'll hear one of them mutter something about getting a "real job" under their breaths, but for the most part they try to put up with their daughter's weird work habits.

Just like I'm trying really hard to put up with their Big Damn Country Dinners.

My parents both grew up in Iowa and, as such, they never shook the whole "come in from a long hard day of work on the farm and eat a huge meal at 9 p.m." thing -- even though neither of them has ever been on a farm, ever.

They also are really big on "eating together as a family," which pretty much translates to sitting around the dinner table and listening to my dad rip on the President for an hour. (Sorry Democrats.)

So every night around 9 p.m. or sometimes even 9:30 p.m., we sit down to a HUGE FRIGGIN' SPREAD that starts with cocktails, then progresses to some type of giant hunk of meat, some form of potatoes (always potatoes), butter-soaked dinner rolls, about 19 different vegetables -- half of them creamed, wine (thank God) and dessert.

By the time we put it on the table, eat it and clean it up, I kid you not it is 11 p.m. You can ask my SL friend Heidi Halberstadt, who often gets subjected to my IMs about "Late-Night Steaks and Trying to Digest Them."

(We're getting to Second Life, I swear!)

So lately for the sake of my thigh size and my digestive tract, I've been trying to find ways to duck out of Family Dinner Time at least twice a week.

A few nights ago my mom came in the kitchen and busted me making Kraft Macaroni & Cheese at -- GASP! -- 6:30 p.m. and asked me what the hell I was doing.

"Well, I'm eating now because I'm meeting my friend Jon at 9 p.m." I said.

"You're meeting a man like THAAAAAAAAT?" she screeched.

"Like thaaaaaaat" was a pair of ratty yoga pants and -- for reasons I'm not gonna drag you into but they involve a two-year-old -- a giant Sesame Street T-shirt (hell yeah, you can buy them in the men's section of Target), a Flinstones (Pebbles)-style ponytail sticking up out of the top my head and little Tina Fey-ish glasses. Sexy. Cough.

"No, not in person -- I'm meeting him online."

"Like . . . on eHarmony?"

"No Mom. You know how sometimes you talk to Aunt Janet on AOL Instant Messenger? And you know how sometimes you get on Pogo or whatever the hell that Web site is called and play Monopoly with people? Well, it's kind of like combining those two. There is this . . . uh, like a massive Web site . . . called Second Life and I can meet my long-distance friends there and we hang out as avatars."

"As what?"

"It's called an avatar -- it's like, a virtual representation of yourself?"

She looked at me blankly.

"Like, I create a little . . . cartoon person . . . and she can move and talk and go places on this . . . Web site."

"Do you and Jon play Monopoly?"


"Sometimes we play a game called Zyngo," I said, "But lately we've just been sitting on a couch or a bench somewhere and chatting."

"Well why the hell don't you guys just call each other on the phone?"

. . . . . . . (Why does she always have to hit me with these deep, philosophical questions?)

"Mom, I don't know. It's more fun this way because we can kind of 'see' each other, you know?"

"Wait, what do you mean you sit on a couch?"

"Well, I have a house there."

"On a Web site?"

"It's kind of like, you know, a virtual dollhouse? I can decorate it? And hang out with my friends there?"

Suddenly my responses were sounding insecure and defensive? With question marks on the end?

"And you call them what? Atavars?"

(No mom, those were characters on an episode of "Buck Rogers," Season 2.)

"Avatars," I said.

"Well, maybe I'll make an avatar," she said.


"Maybe I'll make an avatar . . . and come to that place and tell you to get off that couch and go find a real job."

Ha ha ha.

* * * * * * * * 

A couple of days later she walked by me while I was on my laptop and saw me hunting for eggs somewhere.

"Is that the Second Place?"

"It's called Second Life. Because my first life sucks right now."

"Is that person right there you?"


"Emerald Wynn?"


"You named yourself after a casino?"

"Mom, I didn't come up with that last name, actually."

A contemplative pause.

"Her chest is a lot bigger than yours."

"Yes, I live out my cleavage fantasies here."

"If she's really supposed to be you, then why isn't she wearing sweatpants?"

"Ha. Mom. Ha. Ha. Ha."

"Well, I'm glad to at least see you're wearing lipstick in this place."


(My mom thinks that "just a little lipstick" will solve all my problems, even if I'm not even leaving the house that day.)

"So what is she doing?" My mom was really fascinated at this point.

"I'm on an Easter egg hunt, except there are clothes in the eggs, not candy."


"Yes mom, because see, I can change her clothes and her hair and her face when I feel like it."

"So basically you are [30-something] and playing Barbies and living in a dollhouse . . . but online."

[Yeah, and I also have a Ken doll.]

"MOM, I don't know. It's just something to do."

She continued to lean over my shoulder.

"THERE'S AN EGG!" she shouted triumphantly.

LOL and sheeeeeesh! Now we know where I get my hunt enthusiasm.

"Thank you, Mom."

She moved in closer.

"Uh, Mom, do you mind if I get back to this now? Like, by myself?"

"But I want to help you look for eggs!" she protested.

"Yeah, but that kills the fun for me. I thought you were gonna play Monopoly with your friends on your laptop today."

She wandered off.

Later that night, when a rack of lamb was simmering on the stove and way too many potatoes had been peeled and mashed and we were easing into "cocktail hour," she came into our sun room, where I was -- GASP! -- reading a book and said, "Can I use your laptop?"

"Why -- is yours broken?"

"No but I'm bored with Monopoly. I want to play your Egg Game."

"Egg Game" - ha ha haaaaaa!

You know, maybe we should call it that, now that Second Life has seemingly become one endless hunt.

Any day now, my mom is gonna snag this laptop when I'm not around, figure out how to log on as me, and then God only knows what disastrous things she'll unwittingly do.

Just an advance warning.

If you run into me somewhere and I seem like a Pod Person from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," it's probably not really me. It's probably my mom.

And meanwhile, now I kind of want to change the name of this blog to "Emerald's Egg Game."

But then only the few people who make it alllll the way to the end of this epic post would get the reference.

And if you happen to be one of those people, you get a cookie!!!

P.S. Does anyone have a cheat sheet for the Mashooka Designs Isle Grand Opening hunt (runs through Sunday)? That's my favorite store. But I only found 14 of the 19 prezzies. Even with an item tracker. And Ding doesn't have it in her cheat sheet box at the d-list headquarters either.


Heidi Halberstadt said...

Thanks for the real life LOLs, I really needed them today.

Fangirl #1

Anonymous said...

So every night around 9 p.m. or sometimes even 9:30 p.m., we sit down to a HUGE FRIGGIN' SPREAD that starts with cocktails, then progresses to some type of giant hunk of meat, some form of potatoes (always potatoes), butter-soaked dinner rolls, about 19 different vegetables -- half of them creamed, wine (thank God) and dessert.

Now I am starving LOL. Loved the Post! Woot woot

Anonymous said...

I want my cookie now!

Marnix Malifozik said...

That's brilliant, it really is.
I tried to explain SL to a friend once, and he didn't get it either.

V said...

This entire post made me literally LOL.. The part about your mom commenting on joining just to find you on the SL couch just to tell you to get off it and get a real job sounds like my family.

RL Oscar the Grouch shirt from Walmart men's section, all the way baby. I love hitting up Target for the mens tees :)

Take care!

-Eevie Lemon

Tristan Micheline said...

Thank you for helping me laugh today Em <3

Can i just say how much your posts make my day so much more enjoyable..

Hugs and muahs dear friend

Sharine said...

Your mum is hilarious!

Eliza Wrigglesworth said...

I laughed so hard I cried. Seriously!

where's my cookie?

Emerald Wynn said...


I dropped all you guys a cookie . . . except for Sharine. I don't know your last name, Sharine! Thanks for stopping by! Shout at me in world if you want your cookie!

And Yes! My mom is hilarious. Please let me know if you would like to borrow her for a while!

Krissy Muggleston said...

I'll take your mom. :) Does she babysit?

Amie Adamski said...

You make me laugh, I think my dad your mom need to get together and talk. My dad comes up to me when I'm just on yahoo and goes what is that? And then I have to explain yahoo. I don't even want to know what he would think about second life.

Oh and you are talking to the girl who collects cookie monster items and has about 20 shirts so woohoo to Sesame Street.

Is it lame that every time I look at your blog I have the Hungry Eyes song in my head? Damn Patrick Swayzee.

Meara Deschanel said...

I read to the end - does ths mean I get a cookie! :D

*hugs Em* Miss you. Hope to be back soonish. <3

Nika said...

Emerald, I have never commented on your blog before, just because I have a bad habit of rarely commenting on blogs, even though I DO read.

But I've been meaning to tell you this for awhile. You are the funniest friggen blogger in Second Life! I swear, so many of your posts make me LOL all the way through. This was one of my favorites. You rock. :)

Plurky Baron said...

Just love this . . . I've tried explaining Second Life to people, and I know the tendency to start ending explanations with the question mark. I *have* shown my mom (and mother-in-law) and they just kind of nod. My father-in-law's eyebrows went up when I mentioned the money I made on a scripting job (he's a programmer in RL, I'm not). But for the most part, SL is for me (and sometimes my wife). :)

Thanks for the laughs!

Anonymous said...

Never ever introduce your mom to egg game!
Thanks for the LOLs.

Amanda Shinji said...

That is priceless... Fair play to your mum for taking an interest though.

As for the dinners, my family makes a huge deal out of Sunday lunch, but I love that and it's only once a week :D

WillowC said...

Haha brilliant post! And the mother thing? It's funny cuz it's true.

Gahum Riptide said...

You remind me of how I sort of eschew explaining Second Life to my mother (and GOD FORBID my father finds out!!!!).

You should have told her that you were logging on to talk to your gay liberal friend from California :).

Cajsa Lilliehook said...

i love your mom!! She sounds like a hoot. My mom served supper late too, though she liked to lay out an entire smorgasbord - as in a literal smorgasbord with herring, cod, sandwich meats and knakebrod and lefse and rye krisps and so on.

Samara Barzane said...

When I'd go visit my parents before my father died my mother would meet me at the door and say "Don't start on that internet business." The reason was that my father couldn't get it no matter how many times I explained. So usually I respected her wishes LOL

On the other hand may I borrow your mother? I'm a crappy hunter.

Ashleigh said...

Hee. You are getting some mad love on the plurk today. And with good reason. This was hysterical and real and AWESOME!

(P.S. Can I have my cookie now?)

Willis said...

Best Blog.. EVER.

Raynee said...

ROFL! My husband called my SL avatar a Barbie the other day! He doesn't get it either. Intellectually he does, but emotionally he doesn't get the whole concept of SL, but that's another arugum...errr marital difference of opinion! On the other hand, he thinks my avi is HOT and uses a photo as his desktop screen lol. Your blog rocks Emerald!

Stella Stapleton said...

omg, that was too funny! Loved it, thanks :)

Celebrity said...

you are a wonderful writer. All of us have shared the often hilarious pain of trying to explain SL or any Internet technology to someone outside of the cultural frame of reference.

Great job.

I hope you plurk too so you can get some love for your post.

Anonymous said...

omg... hilarious and poignant. if you ever write a book about SL let me know, i'll buy a copy for myself and send one to my therapist :)

Shockwave Plasma said...

So your parents really want you to drive a tractor? That would be real work?

I gave up explaining SL to everyone in my family. The only one who "got it" was my Japanese sister-in-law.

Although she was most impressed that my Avi didn't actually age :-)

Emerald Wynn said...

oh mah word!!!WHERE DID ALL THESE PEOPLE COME FROM???Uh, thanks everybody!!

*blushes and runs off to bake a bunch of cookies*

Nimil said...

my mom is always walking by my room and peaking at what i'm doing on sl.. she always asks why i have a rat tail coming out of my butt and why do i have to wear those ugly tattoos so much *rolls eyes* she won't join sl because she thinks if you don't look like your real self and don't talk about your real life then you are lying to people about yourself lol

my dad made an sl avatar without my knowledge and ran around with it for 3 days, never found me though thankfully.. i don't know if i could really be myself in sl around my parents, i do too much they shouldn't know about >_>

but he told me that he was given wings and everyone he spoke to didn't speak english, and then he walked up to someone's house and they banned him. he never logged in again lol

i've been trying to get him to actually get back on cause i want to give him a cool makeover. i think if both of my parents got on and hung out together they could rekindle some of their relationship that has fallen apart due to his illness. it would be sweet, as long as they leave me the heck alone :p

Anonymous said...

Came across your blog from someone, somewhere and ohmy, I so lol'd. What a refreshing blog/ mom post :)

Aisuru Rieko said...

<3 your stories, RL, SL, any L. I think Emerald's Egg Hunt would be a great name for a blog XD

Casandra Shilova said...

ROFL w tears !!! Oh My!

My mother insisted I start wearing lipstick in middle school!

Help her create an AV before she hijacks yours! I had my family watch the CSI/SL episode. Mom realized that SL was simplified without me saying a word.

Can you fix your own plate -> tiny portions

Whispers said...

OMGarsh! My mom must know your mom! (my folks are from Nebraska where I was born and raised lol) This was too funny and so very familiar! Thanks for the laugh!

Bella Baroque said...

LMAO! that is hilarious!

ariel.wingtips said...

LOL I laughed to tears because your mom sounds a lot like mine! HAHAHAHAHA the EGG game! The Second Place. Hahahaha love it!