Chat: Sue and Joan


chat screen shotSue: ok here i am, now who the fuck are you

Joan: You don’t have to be so vulgar about it my dear. I am your mother, of course.

Sue: how can you be my mother, she died. i am going to disconnect now you pervert and report this to the police

Joan: I know that this is difficult but please wait and let me explain.

Sue: this has to be some kind of cruel fucking joke  how did you get my email address

Joan: You are my daughter so I have your email address.

Sue: this is impossible my mother died

Joan: Yes, my body died but my mind, the essence of me and my memories, was transported into virtual space inside a computer before I died.

Sue: that is the most absurd thing i have ever heard, that is impossible

Joan: Ok, just give me a minute to explain then if you want to sign off, fine. I will go away and you will never hear from me again.

Sue: i will play along for now then i am going to disconnect. ok so how do i know that you are my mother

Joan: Ask me a question that only I would know the answer.

Sue: ok, what did i find in the rental car on our trip to the grand canyon when i was 9

Joan: An onyx ring.

Sue: ok, so i will believe you for now but i still don’t know what is going on.  i should have known from the start.  you always got after me with that same comment about being vulgar but i had to be sure.  how could you do this to us.  we had a funeral and we buried you and everything.

Joan: So how was the funeral? You know I always liked a party.

Sue: oh mom.

Joan: Now that’s my Susie Q.  Were you able to distribute my stuff according to my wishs?

Sue: we did the best we could.

Joan: What does that mean?

Sue: what does it matter? i sure did’nt expect to have to answer to you for our decisions and deal with some guilt trip.

Joan: Ok, you are right. So how are Josh and Amy?

Sue: the kids are fine but they miss you very much.  it will be some time before i can explain this to them.

Joan: I understand.

Sue: so what is going on.  what happened

Joan: When I was diagnosed with terminal cancer I came across an experimental program that would preserve my soul and memories in virtual space and in the transition process I would be euthanized.

Sue: but you were found dead at home of natural causes.

Joan: Yes, that was the plan.

Sue: we had planned to take care of you and provide hospice care.

Joan: I appreciate that but I did not want to be a burden and I could not bear the thought of dealing with the pain and suffering and the indignities of loosing control of my bodily functions like your father did.  You have no idea what it is like to live with the expectation that any day you might be plunged into unbearable pain from which there is no relief or recovery and I hope you never do.

Sue: who did this to you.

Joan: I can’t tell you that. The program is still experimental and human euthanasia or assisted suicide is illegal.  Besides if I tell you I will be removed to off-line storage, sort of a virtual space purgatory or worse, deleted.  That would defeat my whole purpose in doing this.

Sue: and what was your purpose.

Joan: I knew that my days were few and I wanted to be with you and the kids as they grew.  Perhaps in some way I could carry on the family history and contribute something even if it is from the virtual side. I wanted to be remembered for more than a name and dates on a gravestone marker or some old photos that after a couple of generations will be lost in the dustbin of history.

Sue: Isn’t that a bit selfish of you.

Joan:  In a way, but I believe that I still have something to contribute to my family and maybe society and this new technology provided the opportunity.  Besides, what have I got to lose?  I have already lost my physical life.

Sue: ok, this is too hard to deal with right now.  What is it like living in virtual space?

Joan: As you know I was never much for dealing with computers except for emails with you and some friends but the knowledge for navigating in virtual space was given to me and made part of my personal memory during the transition process.  It’s exciting and fun – as much fun as a bunch of computer bits can have 🙂 – exploring a wide variety of virtual worlds from the past to the future.  Do you remember the vacation week we spent at the Renaissance festival near Pittsburgh?

Sue: yes remember how we joked at the contrast of 20th century concessions to authentic medieval life like the use of plastic porta-potties?

Joan: Your father and I were into medieval history then and we thought it would be an interesting experience.  Anyway, I am now experiencing medieval life although without the need for potties . 🙂   In the virtual world I can be anyone I like, male or female, young or old.  I spent some time experiencing life as a teen bar wench and then tried jousting as a knight.  Although the words time and life have no meaning here I don’t know how else to express it for you.  I got beat up pretty bad as both the knight and the wench.  Medieval life is rough.

Sue: have you met anyone?  This is bizarre; here I am talking to you as if you were alive and able to interact with real people.

Joan: That’s ok and perfectly natural.  To answer your question, yes I do meet someone regularly.  He’s a real person and logs in when he can from Miami.  He calls himself Dave.  I guess it’s his real name but most people use some sort of made up name, kind of like street hoodlums.

You have to understand that people can be real, outside people like Dave or inside people like me. People can just pop into your experience and just as instantly disappear. It takes a bit of getting used to.

Anyway, Dave and I get together a couple of times a week to explore some new virtual space or just hang out and talk.

Sue: Sorry mom, the kids are home from school and I have to go.  How can I contact you?

Joan: I will have to send you an email like I did this time.  The email and chat connection goes through random anonomizer servers to prevent trace back to the real computer for security reasons. Wow, listen to me, spouting jargon that I would have considered gibberish when I was alive.

Sue: K, later.

Copyright (c) 2010, Robert Ivey

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1 Response to “Chat: Sue and Joan”


  1. 1 much more on Wartrol June 23, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to create a really good article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and
    never seem to get nearly anything done.


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