I jump on the tram after my late Monday afternoon teaching. It’s the university-airport line towards city center. I take a seat. Behind me folks are speaking english and my attention is captured by a notifiably pleasant male voice talking about Second Life.
I listen. He obviously has spent more time inworld than the ordinary Spiegel investigator. The girls around him leave the tram at central station a few stops after. He thanks them for having come by. I turn around. He looks like Tom Boellstorff–a bit elder than his portrait on the cover of Coming of Age in Second Life–but he looks like Tom Boellstorff.
I have visited Tom’s place in SL and of course immediately was caught by his simple NPIRL hommages to Escher realized in prims. That was in summer 2007 after Lorenz posted the SURL to Ethnografia.
His book found its way to me in a quite unordinary manner in late fall 08. I got to know someone in SL from almost nearby within Europe. Some day, I think, I talked about my studies and about what brought me to SL. He mentioned he had read an anthropologist’s book about SL . Of course I asked which it was and by whom. It was Coming of Age. Of course I immediately interviewed him about his perception of it as he was a native having read academic stuff about himself. It ended the way he some weeks later gave me his exemplar of the book.
Now–it doesnt exactly matter whether this man in the tram wth his native speaker’s eloquent and professional voice and articulation has been Boellstorff or not. What matters is what it triggers.
I hunger to go back to university.