Does this look like the face of a guy you can trust? I didn't think so. That said, people do seem to believe what you tell them, and travel can be boring as a mother fucker, so I like to have some fun with it. As I mentioned last week I was on the road in Chicago, and next week I'll be steering the greazymobile north to Upstate New York (home of the spiede!). When I am on the road by myself I enjoy vesting myself with a few different personas. If someone wants to strike up a conversation with me on the plane, I'll tell them that I'm a struggling writer, trying to get my first book published. Sometimes, I'll be a teacher or a coach, and from time to time I'll go with a mindnumbingly dull job just to see how people react.
Why you ask? Well, because the person doesn't really give a shit what or who I am, they are just making small talk. And secondly, because it's really fun. You get to invent a whole different person, sometimes complete with a different name. I started doing this years ago, once on the train from Princeton (where I was going to school) to my parents house in Central Jersey. It was like living in my own little story that came to life around me, and I should point out, it's not like anyone gets hurt here. It can seem odd to on lookers however.
I once had to take a bus (or as I like to all it a poor person's chariot) from York to Newark NJ, via Harrisburg. There were a few little stops along the way, and so I had a few different row partners to talk to. I was about 19 at the time, and a sophomore in college, so my versatility level was high. With one person I was a seminary student, with the next I was rushing home to be at the birth of my first child which caused my high school sweetheart to have to drop out of school. Then I was a baseball player going to New Jersey to get a shot with the new independent baseball team there, that was followed with a tale about being a guy who left home at 18 and was seeing as much of the world as I could.
I had great conversations with these people, as evidenced by the fact that I only read a few pages of my book on that trip, and I throughly enjoyed my experience. When I got up to get off the bus at Newark, the lady in the row in front of me stood and looked back at me with a face filled with scorn and alarm. I smiled for a second, until I remembered that she had boarded the bus with me at York, and as such had heard virtually everything I had said throughout the trip. I couldn't stop myself from laughing.
I thought about that as I was chatting with the lady who was next to me on the plane to Chicago. She was going to see her grandkids in the windy city, and as fate would have it, I was on my way to reunite with my long lost brother.