I was appalled by what came across World of SL today in regards to Djdeurer Zou (DZ or DJ as some called him). The memory of this kind, gentle giant was being used by somebody else wishing to squeeze their sour grapes on a third party. What I have posted below is from a friend of mine who befriended DZ and what it meant to her life in SL and RL.
THE BEST LESSON.
I was bored. I was wearing my short skirt, bling nipple rings, covered of course but blinging far and wide through my freebie leather jacket. Second Life to me appeared to be nothing but sexual islands and men running around with erect penises. (I had clearly been to the wrong places). “There must be some classy people here somewhere” I thought. “Maybe there are some wealthy and cultured men at a yachting club”.
I searched and found Nantucket and teleported onto a jetty. There was a man. No penis, no fancy skin, no chat up lines. And very oddly….no talking at all!
I said hello, but he did not answer. Now, when you are new in SL, you don’t understand about chat lag, AFK, invisible avatars……so I believed this person was truly ignoring me. I said “hello” again. Still no answer.
Off I walked and viewed the boats. Up one jetty, down the next. Then I arrived back where the man was. I said “hello” again. Still no reply. Determined, I asked “Do you have a yacht here?”
I walked away pretty much in disgust really at being ignored four times. Then……as I was leaving……I saw…….. “Yes”.
Maybe he does not speak English I thought.
Then the next word from him……..”Sail?”
This was odd. Not what I was used to. But clearly this man (who I assumed did not speak good English) was asking if I wanted to sail in his boat!
I accepted and never having done anything very interesting in SL, was quite excited. I was on my best behaviour and followed the man as he walked along the jetties to his yacht.
The sailing was just amazing! (Although in silence!) I had not experienced anything like it! I asked him if I could take photographs. He said “Yes”. The sea, the land, the turns, the commands, a skipper on a small yacht, sailing it just for me. I was so flattered. After a long time out to sea, we returned to the jetty. The man stood up and walked away, without a word, to the clubhouse.
Well, as I am a communicator, I really couldn’t accept this. I followed and walked to him and asked “What language do you speak?” No reply. There were others in the clubhouse. Ravishal and Izabella. Rav (who I had never met before) sent me an IM. “Have you read his profile?”
I was new, why would I think of that? So I did.
That was the moment that changed my Second Life.
Djduerer Zou – He described himself in his profile…….a retired sailor…….dying from a degenerative brain disease……..…unable to type………..SL is my life….……“I have no regrets………..I have lived life passionately“.
You know when you watched the film ‘Jaws’ – the moment when Spielberg showed Captain Brody sitting on the beach and he knew the shark had arrived, and the whole of the screen around him zoomed in? Well, that was the feeling I had just at that moment. I had been sailing with a kind and dying man who was living the last of his days here, in Second Life. My computer stood still in time and everything around it zoomed around. I had to behave differently, I understood that.
Djduerer managed to type “dance”.
“I think he is asking you to dance” wrote Rav in an IM.
After the dance I walked outside and stood Treacle looking out to sea. Thinking. I logged of and did my RL housework knowing I had met a man from Philadelphia who was ending his days here on earth.
After this day I returned two times to see Djduerer, and both times he took me sailing. I dropped the bling nipples and lengthened my skirt! I talked to him, not expecting a reply. I remember once as we were sailing saying to him “You must have had a wonderful life at sea”. His reply moved me…..”Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” he said.
Then a couple of weeks later I heard from Suzy Alpha, who lived at Nantucket, that Djduerer had passed away.
One year later this experience is always in my mind. I see young avatars having sex in bed shops, I hear them shouting grief at others, I see them falling in love and out again, but at no time has anything in SL ever taught me so much as the day I met Djduerer and discovered who was really behind the avatar! I see these young avatars ‘doing their thing’ and cannot help but wonder if they have given one moments thought to the other real person they are communicating with. I didn’t think of that until the day I met Djduerer. Now, almost every person I meet, I understand very clearly not to take it for granted that who I am talking to is represented in any way by the visual effect they are giving.
People come to SL for many different reasons and for every word they type there is an individual behind what we can see……..
I have used my experience of meeting Djduerer to explain to others who are new here about SL and for them to have an open mind.
I doubt my presence in SL meant much to Djduerer. If I kept him company for a few sailings, that makes me happy, however Djduerer’s presence in SL meant so much to me. He taught me the most important lesson I have learned here. I wish he was still around so I could tell him so. And I know others miss him more than me.