Sunday, May 07, 2017

Sometimes I'm not even Me

I was in the car with my date, having decided that his stomach and improved in my company after some amusing PDA.

As one does in these blissfully modern times, I took an Uber. Uber has made traveling in Chicago like traveling in Korea. Jump in a car, pay a few dollars, get to where you want to go. Being able to order a car makes it even more blissful. I can't wait to see how this thing gets taken from me, but for now, I'm going to enjoy it as much as I can.

We jump into the back of the mid-grade little car, some guy, driving around, just trying to figure it out. At first he wanted to pull a u-turn on Belmont on a moderately busy Sunday afternoon on a game day.

"I don't mind the few extra minutes, honestly, to just turn around the street."

"Yeah, yeah, I guess, yeah."

He turns down the street.

"It's your money, anyway, though right. I just spend my day sitting in traffic." There is little bitterness there, but I spend my time pointing out things in the neighborhood, the boy on my arm being recently transplanted to Chicago and not knowing anything about the area.

"Parking around here is a nightmare. I honestly don't know how or why people do it."

"Man, if I lived in Wrigley there is no way I'd own a car," the driver chimes in. I smile.

"So damn expensive though, man. I used to live in Wicker Park, man, you know Wicker park?"

I do since I worked there in one of my past lives. At this point any period longer than two years ago feels like one of my past lives. Past lives strung all over the city of Chicago, and slowly, very slowly, being strung all over the world.

"Man, I had this place. Guess how much I paid for this place? Twelve-fifty a month, man. Twelve-fifty, can you believe that shit?"

"That's a great price for Wicker park."

"Yeah, yeah, how I did it though, man. Had the whole place to myself. I moved in my my buddy and his girlfriend. Then they broke up. Then she moved out. Then he moved out."

"That will do it."

"Yeah, I may...I may have secretly wanted them to break up and just like told him he should do it."

I smile, my date slips his hand under my bag, against my leg. I smile at him.

"It's just, you know, my buddy keeps telling me he wants to sleep with all these women, and I'm like, man, just break up with her and then go sleep with all those women. Don't cheat on her though. It would break her heart."

My smile is even more amused. The hand of my date creeps higher.

The driver continues his story. Moving eventually out of the city, quitting his job, taking up Uber. Taking LSD.

"Man, that's my favorite joke with tourists. One of them.  I'm going to take LSD is that okay. And just the look on their face."

I giggle and we have to explain to my date the meaning of LSD in Chicago. The lake is beautiful as the sun goes down, waves smacking against the shore. The day is bright, and sunny and clear, but the lake is acting like a restless god in the mild amount of wind, smashing, thrashing. The hand on my leg is warm. The laughter in the car is intoxicating.

"Sometimes, I pretend. You know, I just make up this whole person. I'm never going to see this person again. They don't know me. So I just make up a person, make up a story. Sometimes, man, sometimes I tell them this shit man-"

He pauses.

"Between us, right?"

I'm telling his story, in my own way, but you will never find my friendly driver who sometimes makes up stories about who he is. He's not alone. I've made-up whole characters to play on trips abroad when I'm amusing myself. My date confesses later he has as well. Sometimes, it's nice to be someone else for a few minutes, a moment, to make someone else's life just that little bit of weird. Bringing the wild fantasies we want to be real to life. We are the people that contribute the hints to the dark narrative you want to believe in. You want to believe. Some of us want to help.

"So, like, one of my stories I tell people that I had to get out of some shit, you know. That I used to do these 'deliveries' in town. Was making 5,000 dollars a week, but you know, that's just not the life for me. I like this, it's honest. Man, the look on people's faces. It's so funny, man."

We all giggle. The car is getting closer to my house.

"You know, the next time you tell that story, I have something you can add to that."

"Yeah, what's that?"

"Okay, just do the whole story just like that. Then get real quite and start looking in the review and then, be like, 'Hey, do you think that car is following us. No, don't turn around!'"

"Oh my god, oh man, oh man. That's brilliant. I'll be all like 'just be chill, be cool, it's cool. I might have to drive you a little out of your way.' Oh, man, oh man I love it."

"This is us, on the corner here."

He pulls over and we hop out.

"Yeah, thanks guys, man, that's so good. Thanks for the laughs. You have a good night."

I slip my hand into the fingers of the young man standing next to me and proceed to have a good night.

No comments: