Thursday, June 01, 2006

Because I Like to Steal (and Lie)

Nothing But Bonfires did a frequently asked questions post a few weeks ago. She said she would answer her questions while waiting for her plane at Newark, and one of the questions was this:

When you are sitting in the airport, surrounded by fellow passengers, I would like you to pick out three of them and come up with a scenario in which they are all connected. Or tell us their life stories, or where they are going, or what they will be eating for dinner.

I adore this question, and am sorry Holly ducked it. She was no longer at the airport while answering her questions, so she just told us what she was having for dinner. Since she's not using it, I'm stealing it.

Well, kind of.

I love to make up stuff about complete strangers. Bump and I used to commute together, and on the drive home I would provide irregular installments of a story about a bachelor who lived in a highrise we drove past each night. It took a couple of editions for Bump to realize I didn't really know this guy and was making it all up.

"The guy who lives in the third unit on the left is really lonely. He orders Mary Kay and Avon cosmetics for his 'wife,' only he doesn't have a wife. He does it just to have some company."

This story made Bump very sad, to think about such a lonely man. Also, it was kinda creepy.

A couple of days later, I admitted, "The Mary Kay lady knows this man isn't really married, but doesn't mind coming over to his house to visit. It helps her sales numbers."

Every once in awhile, Bump would ask about the guy, and the story would continue. "So is the Mary Kay lady just using this guy to perk up her sales?"

"No, she's actually quite fond of him. He's not a creep, he's just lonely."


"What does this guy do?"

"He's a contractor for a government agency. He goes to an office every day, but he doesn't know anyone there very well. He doesn't have a lot of interaction with colleagues."


"What about the Avon lady?"

"She's nice enough, but kinda clueless. She's an old woman who has been wearing the same shade of bright pink Avon lipstick for 45 years. The guy much prefers the Mary Kay lady."

Sometimes Bump would get really detailed with the questions. "So the Mary Kay lady suspects this guy isn't really buying makeup for his wife. Does she wonder what he does with all the makeup he buys? What does he do with it all?"

"Sure she does. She's curious about it. He keeps it all in the linen closet. The Mary Kay lady is going to tell him that battered women's shelters take unopened makeup as donations, so in case he's keeping it around, he can put it to good use. Next weekend he'll box it all up and donate it."

Sometimes I would just blurt a new detail as we drove by.

Me: His name's Frank.
Bump: Whose name is Frank?
Me: The guy in that building. The one who buys the makeup.
Bump: Okay.


Me: She confronted him.
Bump: Who confronted who?
Me: The Mary Kay lady confronted Frank. She told him she knew he wasn't really married.
Bump: Oh. How did that go?
Me: Pretty well. Frank was embarrassed, but glad to get it off his chest, I think. He told her that he donated the makeup, and she seemed pleased about that.

One day, I announced that Frank and the Mary Kay lady were dating. Bump smiled, and said he hoped things worked out for them. I think Bump grinned the rest of the way home.


Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

You are kind of a freak. But it's a good story.

Nothing But Bonfires said...

I know -- I'm kind of annoyed at myself for ducking it too. I didn't mean to; I just wasn't at the airport anymore! And the only person sitting in front of me was my grandma, and I KNOW her life story...

Anyway, glad you took on the task for me!