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.
“we needed a house this big so that we could have a disco dance party whenever we wanted one”
“things are not what they seem”
writing sample grade: 4.5/2
An occasional report on phrases which emerge from my dialog with a bluestocking.
a Momma’s Boy Momma Manque.
Namely, a woman who wishes she had a son who was a Momma’s boy, but doesn’t.
Always cool. I just had a dream (during a nap, oh yeah) where I was listening to this folksy alterna-rock song, and somehow following along to the storyline of the song. It felt like the extended trailer of a film and was highly cinematic. Think Michael Chabon being directed by Whit Stillman. Lots of driving around in cars with old people and everyone’s dressed well. And something about someone’s marriage not working out. The lyrics of the wistful song were a litany of things in the the past and then a chorus along the lines of not wanting to remember it all, but “only these days”. The singer was in tune but had unspectacular, avuncular voice, as though John Hurt were singing. Then, in the dream, I somehow exited the supra-reality of this cinematic world to quite ordinarily google the lyrics of this song to find it what the song was. Because I liked it. Then my level-of-mimesis-mismatch-detector went off apparently, because I realized I wasn’t going to find the lyrics to a real song in my dream world, and I got up. But obviously my level-of-mimesis-mismatch-detector was mistaken, because I didn’t find the lyrics to the song in the real world, either.
But the cinematic part of the film, some of which seemed to be in black and white, was actually being experienced as real. With all the research into brain interfacing and VR, there should be no reason not to expect that in 30 to 50 years you will just put electrodes on your head (or more likely, put a USB 5.0 cable into some socket installed at birth by Apsofty – the combination of Microsoft, Apple and Sony formed in 2012) and experience a fully-VR movie. Instead of multiple camera angles, for example, there will be the ability to experience the narrative as different characters. Something to look forward to, I suppose? This was just one thing that made the “holodeck” on 1990s Star Trek so stupid. Obviously you wouldn’t actually have to go anywhere physical to experience VR. It will just be an i-prefixed thingie that you plug into your brain.
The only girl to be interested in me in High School went on to marry a member of the British Peerage. Yes, it is sad that I know that.