An old witch once warned me that “things are not what they seem.” This was in the early 90s, before the popularization of the web, but the warning is even more germaine today. The web gives the illusion of infinite informational resources, infinite connections, infinite awareness…but of what, to what? On the web we are even less truly aware than we convince ourselves we are in “real life.” Do you really know more about someone because you friend them on facebook? You think you do, but do you? Along that arc, in this 15 year transition from non-web world to webbed-world, is this little mystery:
Whybo was his nick name-o. What I can’t figure out is if he was really who I met, or if someone was just using his name and identity. The chain of circumstances goes this way: mysteriously connected to “Bon” when my sophomore year housing fell through. This in itself is a mystery worthy of investigation, but I digress. Rented a room from Bon, who claimed “Whybo” was a former renter who was visiting when he stopped by a few months later. But the college alumni system has no record of anybody with Whybo’s real name ever graduating. Did he drop out? Strangely someone with Whybo’s name, but much younger than he should be, is a teacher at an exclusive private school and married to “old money.” Ussearch, which is pretty exhaustive, has no person with Whybo’s real name who is the correct age he claimed to be at the time, anywhere in the country.
1) Whybo only knew Bon through Whybo’s apparent male lover at the time, who was older. The story about him being a student and former renter was a canard. She concocted a meeting between us because she thought it would be good for me to meet him, which is somewhat contradictory because Bon was seemingly conservative and probably a bit homophobic.
2) Whybo had lied about his age for some reason, and is really the Whybo who teaches wealthy youth at the private school. He was really gay, but his older lover died of AIDS (It was the early 90s after all) so he took up with the rich beard. Or perhaps he was hustling the older man.
3) for some reason the first and surname Whybo claimed were just invented by him, therefore today’s Whybo isn’t 1994 Whybo. Perhaps the real Whybo died of HIV/AIDS, along with his lover…perhaps…there was a lot of that happening then.
4) Even more bizarre – was Whybo really gay, or just roommates with the older man who claimed to be a composer and seemed gay? Did Bon want to find out if I was gay, therefore tell him to make passes at me?
5) Whybo was a figment of my imagination: Bon, for an older woman, had a number of mysterious handsome young male “friends.” Perhaps I was just spirited away, and projected that aspect of her life onto mine.
Whilst this drama played out, Bon’s (male) lover’s wife moved into the servant’s quarters to keep an eye on him! And I continued to lose interest in my academic major. I regret not taking notes on all of this…it might piece the mystery together. For now it’s like my “Blow Up”, I keep enlarging, and things get more and more obscure. Alternate-universe Whybo lives only an hour away, I have an address and everything. Perhaps better to let sleeping dogs lie. What is that final line that concludes Last Year at Marienbad…yeah, it’s like that. What happens to that nerdy looking guy at Winky’s in Mulholland…maybe it’s like that, too.