Okay, so this post is going to be a change of pace. I’ve never blogged about anything like this before, and I have no idea how it’s going to go… I’m just sitting here typing, waiting to see how the words come.
The story begins about a year ago. I was at WikiWednesday here in Portland, sitting in the back row because I had to leave early. A speaker was talking about a wiki kind of topic at the front of the room, I was listening, as was every other one of the 30 or so folks in attendance.
A man came in late and sat beside me, one of the few chairs left open. He opened his laptop, it was a big one with one of those screens that make you feel like you’re at the movies. When it came to life, an image emerged in full living color. Well, make that full color. Not so sure about the living part.
The entire screen was covered with a photo of a naked woman, hog-tied, with duct taped wrapped around her head where her eyes and ears were located. She was lying on a dark leather couch, in a position so her head was stuffed down where the seat cushions and back met. She appeared to be dead. Lifeless. Like she had been bound, tortured, killed.
I am not sure, but I think I physically recoiled. I know I went into a kind of shock. I couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe. Just sat stunned. As soon as I was able, I fled the room. And now that I think about it, I haven’t been back to a wiki wednesday since that day.
I did, however, memorize the face of the man whose laptop it was. I had seen him at other tech events before, but had no idea who he was or what his name was.
I told my office mates about it the next day, asking them to help me make sense out of what happened. I wondered what I should have done. Rather than just feeling panicked and averting my eyes and trying to pretend like I hadn’t seen anything, should I have said something to him? Is this the kind of thing the BTK killer had on his computer? Is this guy a threat to women? Who the hell has this kind of screen saver on his computer that he takes out in public?
A couple of weeks ago, I spent three days at Recent Changes Camp. Mid-morning of the first day, I looked up and out across the room. There he was.
One of my major goals for the rest of the camp was to avoid him. Mostly because I still had no idea what to do. Pretend like nothing had happened? Not quite comfortable with that, cuz it kinda feels like it makes me some kind of co-conspirator. Should I just go up and tell him what I had seen and see what he says?
I am still at a loss over this. But it clearly still really bothers me. Like I said, I haven’t been back to a Wiki Wednesday since.
Would someone please offer some advice, words of wisdom… anything. Just anything. I need something. Can we do a wiki kind of conversation about this here?