Poor Bodhi Bing was a skinny little thing, a blue-eyed, spikey-haired avatar, born into the online world of Second Life. Her creator made her on a whim, motivated by a fleeting curiosity to learn about this new thing that Everyone Was Talking About. She was cheap, so she sent Bodhi out into the world with no money, nothing in her hands, no protection at all except her own true heart.

Bodhi’s full name, not known to many, was Bodhisattva. Her creator had the foolish thought that perhaps this true-hearted little avatar might bring some light and love to Second Life, might save the beings there from suffering.

She didn’t consider that even little avatars can suffer, too.

When Bodhi arrived in Second Life, she found herself on Welcome island, where new arrivals came to learn the ways of their bewildering new world. Her creator had no facility with online games, so Bodhi felt like a clumbsy newborn who was learning to use her body, bumping into walls whenever she tried to walk.

Once she tried to fly, but after an ecstatic moment in the air, she plunged into the ocean and sank to the bottom, where she lay, helpless and despairing for days till assistance came. There were other souls on the island, but they were silent, always moving away from her, lost in their own confusion. It was very lonely there.

Even more lonely was the actual land of Second Life, where Bodhi found herself when she left the training island. It was a desolate terrain, empty of structures and devoid of life. Supposedly 20 million souls were logged into Second Life at that very moment, working at jobs, building fortunes, falling in love, and engaging in furtive sex in questionable neighborhoods. But where were they all?

Bodhi found a calendar of events that were scheduled for that evening. A vocal recital! A yard sale! This gave her hope she might find some souls to connect with.

She teleported herself to a nightclub. Standing shyly at the edge of the room, she watched the mysterious crowd. A dark haired-man with a huge mustache approached. “Hi,” she typed. “Hey!” he said. “Get some clothes on! We’ve got a dress code here!”

Bodhi looked down, aghast. She was indeed naked! And here she had thought she was wearing a form-fitting outfit! Retreating hastily, she fumbled with the styling commands till she’d donned a simple blue outfit with a jaunty vest.

Too humiliated to return to the nightclub, she wandered over to a jazz vocal concert that was underway. A small crowd gathered around a circular stage, where a flamboyantly dressed blonde was signing a smokey rendition of Stormy Monday. Bodhi wondered who she was, and if she was living out a long-held dream. She wondered if she herself would have the courage to have a concert, if she did, if anyone would anyone come to hear her.

Soon the crowd disbursed and Bodhi was again alone.

Seeking more people, she teleported to a dance party that was in full swing. Tatooed and mohawked men and women in all manner of outrageous dress gyrated on the dance floor. A man approached and introduced himself as the party administrator. Would she like to have her dancing activated?

Would she!!! Yes indeed she would!

He did a little technical voodoo, and suddenly Bodhi was dancing to the music. She strutted, she swayed, she flung out her arms to the beat. She was happy. Bodhi loved to dance.

After a time, though, she was ready for a break. She wanted to get a drink at the bar, maybe strike up a conversation with someone. The problem was, Bodhi could not stop dancing! She didn’t know how, and the party administrator was nowhere to be seen.

Thinking to flee the party, Bodhi scanned the list for another venue. A Bible study group was starting at 10 p.m. Bodhi teleported herself to a little chapel. A few people were there, and church music was playing.

But unfortunately, in the midst of it all, Bodhi was still dancing! She still could not stop! In a panic of embarrassment, she teleported out of the church and into the vast wasteland where her lack of control would not be witnessed.

Her faithless creator was tired of this. She lacked the time and patience to master this brave new world, so she logged out and never returned.

That was years ago, but I believe that poor Bodhi is still out there, in the howling empty land. And she’s still dancing….dancing….dancing.