A whisper (the paradox of invisibility)

He caught my eye, precisely because I couldn't see him.

I was feeling off-kilter that night, so I decided to find a live event to distract me. Edward Lowell was performing at Sailor's Cove. A few people were already there, but more continued to arrive. I was seated on the side closer to the landing point so latecomers had to walk, fly, or swim in front of me.

About twenty minutes into the hour, I saw a female avie walk across my screen, but she had two nametags. Then she paused in the middle of the open area, but the other nametag -- and a shadow -- kept moving until it got to the grassy area on the other side. Then it stopped.

I smiled to myself. Here's an avie I've never seen before.

Well, I did Ctrl-Alt-T to show objects with alpha. No red highlights around this avie.

And I already knew how to create an invisiprim. I've chopped off my head that way once and Emi took pictures with my head on a silver tray that she held. But invisiprims distort the objects behind them and this avie created no distortion at all. (Btw, a transparent texture with transparency set to zero will not show any red highlights with Ctrl-Alt-T.)

About a week prior, Gear and I were talking about animations and I was asking him to explain the "root" prim in his U-Poser mannequin. As an aside, he told a story about how he was able to "disappear" by wearing an animation with the root set four meters underground. And he demoed the animation to me. So I moved my camera underground to see if I could find this mysterious avie. Nothing underground. I was getting more and more intrigued.

I remembered another conversation with Gear where he said that if a prim is small enough, it doesn't get rezzed at all. I wondered if that was what was going on here, but how? I've seen avies that were shrunk as small as possible then folded up using an animation pose. But none this tiny that it's practically invisible.

So I sent the invisible man an IM and complimented him on his avie. I said that I couldn't see transparent prims and I couldn't see him underground. I was hoping for an explanation.

He said he's very tiny and naked. I thought he was giving a clue as to how the avie was done. He wasn't. He was giving me a clue that he was roleplaying.

But it's a charming RP. He's a Tom Thumb type of character, supposedly two to three inches tall as he described. A "tiny pet" says his profile. And the way he does it is so disarming. I found myself giggling a lot and playing along. I mean, isn't that exactly the Lilliputian childhood fantasy that draws us to the Greenies sim?

Well, to make a long story short, the childhood fantasy quickly transformed into an adult fantasy. And that night turned out to be the most incredible night I've had in SL.

I broke a number of records. I did my first RP (I still haven't found the time to RP as a mermaid so this *was* my first RP), an RP with a very strange and unique creature, and a sexual RP at that. I slept with him less than an hour after meeting him. We cuddled and talked for almost *five hours* afterwards. I got to know a bit about the man behind the avatar and fell in love with him in that short timespan. (I know, I know, it's probably the oxytocin working.)

But I'm uncomfortable with certain aspects of his RP, which he needs. And he's uncomfortable with being a full-sized avie, which I prefer. So, no, he won't be my lover. Besides, he is happily married irl, which I found out too late. No, he won't be my pet either, although he claimed he'd be a better pet than Jimmie.

And, since that night, I've been remembering other childhood fantasies and the sense of wonder that accompanied them. Maybe I've just discovered what would make SL feel fresh and new again. And all this time, I've been ignoring RPs in favor of building and scripting. There's actually a lot of creativity involved in an RP. It's storytelling, after all, except it's on-the-fly and with two or more authors, which makes it more challenging and dynamic.

Isn't it ironic? He probably thought he'd avoid attention by being practically invisible. But, as they say, if you want to be heard, whisper. His avie was a whisper.


* The avie was combination of the different "tricks". That is, a scrunched up animation with the avie underground hidden inside invisiprims. It comes with a prim doll that is the only thing visible to others, but he didn't wear the prim doll to the concert. I forgot to write down the creator, but the avie was very well done.
** And to remove the shadow, simply uncheck Client > Rendering > Features > Foot Shadows. I need to confirm if that applies to everybody's view so that nobody can see your shadow, or if that applies to just your view so that you can't see anybody's shadow.