A few weeks ago a woman I met in a cafe gave me the keys and directions to her house thirty seconds after meeting me. I was shocked. I mean, I would at least have to hide the sex toys. But that’s how people are in the village. They live in this one small world and everyone knows each others secrets anyways so they just have one identity.
I have never been that way. My friends have never been that way. We are fluent in multiple identites, going easily with each other from one stage name who lives in Montana on a ranch (even though you know she really lives in a camper shell on a pick up and came from a commune in Virginia) to the other stage name who lives in Florida and takes care of her family to another name hanging out with the in-laws who think she’s a car salesperson. We change names as we cross state lines.
I read somewhere recently that this is the only culture that makes people have a constant name and identity. Indigenous cultures have always had ways for people to transform, rebirth themselves, become new roles.
I have always been this way. My friends have always been this way, people who can walk through realities with you and love all your identities and never mix them up in public.
Last night I got an email from a guy who saw me after work at a coffee shop. How, I emailed back, thinking maybe I did something stupid like go out in rhinestones and fake lashes and bum clothes. But no, he just saw me and thought, “gee, that looks like a hobo stripper.”
So much for no face pics.
This morning I woke up and took Bro for a walk. The guy on the corner (“HUNGRY VET”) offered me a couple beers. “I don’t drink,” he said, “but when I’m on this corner people give me beer.”
“Yeah. The guy here yesterday had a sign that said Why Lie? I Need A Beer.”
We laugh, Bro gives him a stick, and he gives me some toilet paper and trail mix. It turns out that people give him a lot of stuff he can’t use on this corner. They all assume he has teeth and a bathroom.
“I seen you around,” he says, tossing the stick up in the air for Bro. He’s got crinkly kind eyes, but I haven’t been around. I’ve slept in this neighborhood twice. Five times this whole year.
“Really?” I raise my eyebrows.
“Yeah, I see that Astro van parked around, I’m always glad you’ve got this dog watching out for you.”
There is some awful identity mismanagement going on here.
I don’t know how much I care.