Thursday, November 15, 2007

They're coming to take me away, ha ha!


My co-worker takes public transportation to work and tells wonderful stories about the friends she’s made on the bus over the years. “You’ll never guess what Barbara said this morning…” or “Mary Ann told me the funniest joke.” Apparently, Co-worker and crew sit in the back of the bus and rabble rouse, disturbing the other passengers. On more than one occasion, reportedly, Co-worker and her friends have been asked to “keep it down” by other riders trying to catch a few winks before heading in to work.

Despite all of the sordid, sundry tales I’ve heard about Co-worker’s bus friends, I have never met a single one of said cadre of compadres. Sometimes, I’ll walk into work and Co-worker will tell me that her bus friends had just come and gone. It’s happened on more than one occasion that her buddies had left mere moments before my arrival. With each additional occurrence of near-miss bus-friend sightings, I’ve become more skeptical that these fine folks actually exist. I have nearly become convinced that Co-worker’s bus friends are of the imaginary variety.

It’s a sad thought… Co-worker sitting on the bus chatting up a storm with what must appear to other riders to be empty seats… laughing and carrying on despite the pleas of annoyed (and perhaps even sympathetic) passengers to keep her enthusiasm down. I have delicately made mention of this possibility to Co-worker, but she has, quite naturally, I daresay, denied vigorously any such proposition. “They’re not imaginary. I’ll bring them here to meet you someday,” she promises, but that someday never seems to come.

To my knowledge, I’ve never had my own imaginary friends, but I can remember interacting with my brother's. Sometime in his early childhood, Little Bro had developed his own gang of make-believe friends. Little Bro’s imaginary friends were named: Blue Boy, Brown Boy, Yellow Boy, Green Boy, and Lily Car-Jacket.

Lily Car-Jacket was his girlfriend. Nothing made Little Bro angrier than mixing up his girlfriend’s name. “How’s Lily Car-Coat?” I’d ask, taunting.

“It’s Lily Car-JACKET,” he’d fume.

“Oh, right. Sorry. Lily Truck-Jacket.” And so on.

Each differently colored Boy had a distinct personality. Yellow Boy was the most dependable, friendliest member of the bunch. Green Boy was the worst. He was always causing problems, spilling Little Bro’s milk or leaving messes in the bedroom or tying Little Bro’s shoelaces together. Little Bro was the leader of his fantasy pack and a strong disciplinarian at that. Little Bro was always sending Green Boy to the time out chair. Once, while we were in vacation in the mountains of West Virginia, Green Boy was misbehaving so severely that Little Bro actually threw Green Boy in a state park trashcan. Unfortunately, devious Green Boy’s hitchhiking skills were top notch, and Little Bro found him waiting for us at home when we returned from our vacation.

At some point in the progress of Little Bro’s relationship with Lily Car-Jacket and the Green and Blue and Brown and Yellow Boys, it occurred to me that I could have some big brotherly fun at the expense of Little Bro’s imagination. To this end, I invented Zorton, my alter-ego alien twin. I managed to convince Little Bro that whenever I walked into a closet alone and shut the door, I would mysteriously switch places with Zorton, my outer-space doppleganger. We laughed alike; we walked alike. At times we even talked alike. And Little Bro bought it hook, line, and sinker.

Whenever I was bored, I would enter the closet and emerge as Zorton. I would spin the most intricate yarns about my interstellar adventures and wax eloquent about the wonders of the universe as Little Bro would sit in rapt wonder. When I tired of playing the part, I would enter the closet and re-emerge as Yajeev, too exhausted from the galactic exchange to spend any more time engaging Little Bro. Little Bro was about 10 when he began to suspect Zorton was a fraud. Zorton and I would go to great lengths to reassure Little Bro that we would never play such a cruel joke on him. As demonstration of Zorton’s authenticity, I (Zorton) would utter some garbled outer-space phrase that I (Yajeev) would later feign difficulty articulating. Much to Little Bro’s embarrassment, it wasn’t until he finished the sixth grade (long after the gradual fade of Lily Car-Jacket and company into the sunset) that he finally became convinced of Zorton’s unreality.

The imagination is a terrible, wonderful thing. I laugh to recall Little Bro’s Technicolor Boys. I feel a mixture of pride and regret as I retell the Zorton delusion. And, I feel pity for Co-worker and her imaginary boisterous bunch of bus friends.

Of course, I do sometimes wonder how much I myself might be imagining. What portions of my reality may be the artificial constructs of my id or super ego? Am I the pitiable soul carrying on with imaginary co-workers? Do I have imaginary friends with imaginary friends? Is Watson Steve my Yellow Boy and the wife my Lily Car-Jacket? Is the friend I instant message my Green Boy; would my chat transcripts reveal pathetic monologues rather than witty dialogues? As I question my my own reality, I feel my sanity slipping, slipping, slipping… I am crawling deeper and deeper into a cave… are the shadows on the walls real readers commenting on my blog or are they figments of my own imagination providing the validation my soul craves…

12 comments:

Beth said...

so it must have been Zorton who tied Little Brother to a chair in the basement...?
was it also Zorton who placed Little Brother's head between those two doors when Big V had to cut down the door to save Little B?
did zorton also set the Christmas plant on fire (you should blog about that, by the way, seeing as how the holidays are coming up. it remains the funniest true story i've ever heard)?

Avery Gray said...

Crazy people are fun at parties, but not so fun to work with. I used to work with someone like that. She'd talk about all the karaoke friends she hung out with on Thursday nights. She invited us to go with her one week, so a group of us did, but when we got there, she was sitting alone at the table and telling us that none of her friends (the number grew in the telling from 3 to 10, so we weren't really sure how many she imagined) could make it. One of the guys discretely asked the bartender about her, and the bartender said she showed up alone every Thursday night, sang a few somgs, and left. I felt really bad for her.

But maybe you're right. Maybe I'm the one who's imagining her. Maybe I've imagined my husband and child, my friends. Maybe my blog is also a figment of my overactive imagination. Maybe I'm in an altered state, and the reality is like something out of the Matrix. But that makes my brain hurt, so I'm gonna stick with my first assumption.

Andy said...

Yeah, the antics of imaginary friends can be really tiresome. Teal Andy killed a hooker last week and was really lazy disposing of the body. Violet Andy has been holding illegal squirrel fights. Maroon Andy is selling crack rocks (doing really good business at the squirrel fights, almost like a concession stand). Chartreuse Andy is mostly harmless except his favorite pastime is going to the bookstore to grab sex books from the Relationships section and place them in the Children's section. And I don't how, but Burnt Sienna Andy surprisingly didn't get charged for his part in the Enron scandal.

Mark said...

You're entry wasn't quite accurate...I never dated Lily Car-Jacket...Folks speculated for years that we were an item, but I was always too embarassed by girls...We were strictly friends, play-mates...Sure, there was always a romantic tension that existed between the two of us, but we never acted upon the innocent puppy-love during the awkward moments of silence that are inevitable in conversation between such close friends of the opposite sex...Regardless, that was then, and this is now...I've moved on, and since then, I've learned that there's no shame in the public admittance of a lady friend...

In light of the bleak dating scene of late, I've resurrected Lily Car-Jacket...

She's changed some, she doesn't have the same care-free spirit I was once so taken with, but it's been like 19 years...That said, I suppose I'm not the same guy she remembers...I doubt I was talking about construction and new home sales when I was five...

speaking of which, in light of the bleak real estate market and recent mortgage crisis, I've brought back a few more imaginary friends...Brown Boy, Green Boy and Yellow Boy were my last 3 sales...Brown Boy just wrote his contract yesterday, Yellow Boy will move into his new home next Monday -- what a guy...And Green Boy...Well...He backed out of his contract several weeks ago...Jerk--Got me excited...I suppose I had it coming...No one deserves to be dumped into a garbage can...

yajeev said...

beth...
i'll admit it. zorton and yajeev were in cahoots in tying up little bro's sweat shirt sleeves and sweat pants legs together and leaving him alone in the darkened basement. we were so cruel in our youth. by the way, i have long considered blogging about the christmas fire of 1997. i'll see what i can do.

avery...
glad i could make your brain hurt. if my blog can call into question the reality of even just one reader, than i will have done my job.

andy...
what a shocking palette of colors.

mark...
with comments like this one, you should be blogging. maybe i can sign you up as a guest bloggist sometime.

yajeev said...

also, andy...

wasn't it beige andy who ran naked across a college campus?

Ordinary Janet said...

this made me remember my nephew's imaginary friend, who "couldn't easily digest dairy products"-my sister said he got that characteristic from a Lactaid commercial.

Lily Car-Jacket is an excellent name!

However, adults with imaginary friends aren't so cute. I don't know whether it's healthy to listen to this lady's stories about her bus friends. I think I would since I'm not a psychiatrist and challenging her to produce them might be a bad idea. Just enjoy the stories-it's not every day that you meet someone with an overactive imagination, and I'm sure the bus friends are better people than some real-life people we meet every day.

CreekHiker said...

You could always take her bus after work for a stop or two...just to see ;-}

Russ Parker said...

The green light is always on and always real.

Sara said...

so, i had an imaginary friend...well boyfriend actually. he was quite dashing with his blond spikey hair. his name was johnny shaffer. (-sigh...-)

johnny was the best guy and was so much fun to play with...mainly because he would always let me win at checkers. this was of course, because your checker-fiend of a wife would always beat me (...and everyone else at daycare for that matter, except for once but that was when the opponent cheated...she was awesome.)

yajeev said...

janet and creekhiker...
i think i'll let co-worker prove her case if and when she wants to. i don't want to cause the collapse of the house-of-cards imaginary world she has created for herself.

russ...
good to know you're out there. for real.

sara...
i have a classmate by the same name. wonder if it's the same guy. if so, he's changed his hair some: now it's short and red.
and yeah, i beat lisa once in checkers, and once i held her to a stalemate. that made my record against her something like 1-500-1. so, whenever i wanted to actually win a game, i'd suggest mario party. but then she up and got good at that, too. i still have her at boggle... but after her gre studies, i'm not sure if my boggle dominance will stand the test of time.

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