Part 1: Smokey the Cat walked up the back porch stairs with a bloody mouth.
When I saw him I thought he had killed another bird or something. Nope, instead, he took a big fall, face first, and managed to separate the roof of his mouth from his jaw. It looked bad.
True to himself, Smokey the Cat strolled inside. When I closed the door he posted himself beside the window and looked outside like he likes to do… for a while.
After that Smokey walked around, sniffed his dish, and when he was done with his routine, he uncharacteristically sat himself down in the middle of the rug.
He never does that, so I picked him up and took him into the bathroom to see what was the matter.
Smokey didn’t like the exam I gave him one bit. In fact, he gave me so much trouble about looking at his mouth that I gave up and put him on the floor. Once on the floor, Smokey ran to sit under the couch, again not typical.
The animal emergency room wanted $4500 to make kitty better again. Fortunately, my cousin only charged me $200 and Smokey is recovering. Thanks, Cuz!
Smokey is not as pretty as he used to be but he is still alive. ❤
Part 2: When this stuff happened I was trying to feel connected and valued on a certain Discord server.
Prior to joining the Discord community in question, I had been playing Conan Exiles for a month or two and love. But what I didn’t love was the toxic “community” on the official Funcom servers. So after getting booted from a big PVP clan, I decided to try my hand at a roleplaying server.
Loved it. Loved it. Loved it.
And so I wanted to share the news about Smokey the Cat’s travail with my online “Frans”. Not for support per se’, but because I believe that some people in the community like Smokey and would want to send him well wishes.
I wanted to share but I didn’t share.
Why? it feels tedious and perfunctory from the outside.
I get it though because naturally and professionally I am an outsider. It is my job to observe, teach, and write, now more than ever.
The position of an outsider helps me to gather data. This is one reason I identify with the character “Ishmael”, but there are other reasons. Nevertheless, gonzo methodology and an “outsider” personality do not mix well.
Or maybe they do?
One thing that is for certain is that I actually do experience community on Discord, and have been experiencing it for the last 6 months.
In fact I intentionally experience and struggle with it: i.e. I make friendships; I get my heart broken; I tell stories; I talk shit; I share my frustrations (mainly with the VA Disability and Medical systems); I write fictions; I get disappointed; I co-create fictions; I learn about technology; I sing and participate in Karaoke; I run away; and I go to bed at a reasonable time.
All of this on Discord only, with scarcely any “real world” context for any of the human relationships these things require.
When I made the decision to leave the Ruins of the Storm Unchained Discord server my heart was not in it, and it still won’t catch up! I don’t expect it to, my heart does what it likes.
And so I was thrilled to be introduced, in person, to a friend of one of my dear colleagues from Austin Community College. This friend of my colleague is a “professional gamer” and has decades of experience in refereeing games and… in leading a real-life gaming community.
Now hopefully the fact that I joined the Discord after meeting the community in person will make a difference for me. We shall see.