IT GOT WEIRDER.
You know when you run to the bar during Last Call to order one last drink but as you wait for the drink to be poured you realize maybe you’ve already had one too many but you’ve already paid for the drink so you drink it anyway even though you know it might blow up in your face later? No? Was that example too specific to me to the point where it’s not relatable? Well, congratulations! You’ve made better life choices than I have! Whoopty-fucking-doo.
I’m just kidding, Baby. Come back! I’m not angry at you. I’m angry at myself.
Well, my whole life has been a nonstop roll of questionable decisions and most recently, I have lied my way into a second life– one where I have my own fucking family at the tender age of 22. In this second life, I have gotten married, given birth, started my own business and I have my own place. Figures. Only in a fictional version of my life would I have my shit together.
Since I found Dano busking in the street, I’ve visited him with Baby Sam a few times. Our presence fools people into thinking the three of us are a little family and, in turn, Dano gets A LOT more tips than he usually does when he’s just busking by himself. He hasn’t been able to find a job since the video store went out of business so this, along with providing transportation for strangers through an app, is his only source of income.
In return, I get to feel like a good person—and the free sandwiches and movie posters don’t hurt either. A few days ago, Dano finally made good on a The Godfather poster he promised me and we were walking back from his car to mine with Baby Sam in tow when we ran into Dano’s old high school classmates.
And that’s when our little charade went from implied to stated.
Dano’s old high school classmates, now bonafide adult hipsters, went on about all the successes they’ve had since they last saw each other at their graduation party and when it was Dano’s turn to recount what he’d been up to in the last 9 years, he had nothing.
Upon witnessing Dano’s loss for words, Adult Hipster #1 asked him if I was his wife and if that was our baby. Dano looked over to me, as helpless as a kitten up a tree, and that’s when my not-unlike- Mother-Teresa heart started to pound as I pulled the trigger and introduced myself as his wife and the mother of his child.
I slept through the first part of Girl, Interrupted but I’m pretty sure this is how it starts and if it doesn’t, then I have some suggestions.
Dano looked so relieved the minute I lied for him—slightly ashamed, but mostly relieved. At first, we both sheepishly sustained the lie but then we got too into it. We fed it like Seymour fed Audrey II. Now he’s “in movies” and I’m a small business owner. Specifically, he directs indie movies and I own an online store. Some of that sound familiar?
So why did I pull the trigger? I’ve gotten to know Dano over this past year and, honestly, the kid’s got nothing going for him which is why I felt so compelled to keep the lie alive.
This is what I know so far about his life since he graduated high school:
- He dropped out of community college to tour with his now defunct band.
- Car broke down in Arizona before they could complete their tour. At this point, they had been clashing too much and decided to disband. The rest of the band took the Greyhound back home to California while Dano stayed in Arizona to get a job and fix his car.
- He ended up staying in Arizona for the next five years, working as a handy man during the day and as a bartender at night. He occasionally appeared at open mics.
- He met a girl. He had a serious relationship with her that spanned most of his time in Arizona. Girl got pregnant. He found out the kid wasn’t his three weeks after she gave birth.
- He moved back to Southern California where he found work as a video store clerk at his uncle’s store until the store went out of business. He rents a room at his uncle’s house.
- He’s now actively looking for jobs and busking in public spaces to see if he can make money doing the one thing he likes. Also, he now has trouble making each month’s rent as a result of his lack of employment.
SEE?! If I wasn’t going to throw him a bone, who would?!
Anyway, we both lied our asses off so well we managed to come off as “charming” and “quirky” instead of “dysfunctional” and “sad.” We won the Adult Hipsters Gang over with our lies and managed to get invited to a housewarming party along the way.
worst stupid part: We agreed to go.
I feel very weird about this. We kept building on each other’s lies like professional improvisers. Reflecting on it now, it was like we were both in full character—just ready to jump at the opportunity of being somebody with a life—even if that somebody was 100% fictional.
Is that fucked up? If Tabby were here, she would’ve talked me out of it two busks ago.
Is this an IRL version of catfishing? I mean, no different from how people deceptively portray themselves on social media, right? We’re all liars. We just use different means.