Cab drivers often ask me what I’m doing here in Argentina and whether I came alone. This time I decided to lie and created an imaginary husband in New York and two children who are here with me, ages 5 and 8. My cab driver was very concerned that we were not really in love because how could I be so far from my husband for a month at a time. No, love does not work that way, he said. He thought we had love in quotation marks and not real love. He thought I had an open mind but not an open heart. I could not really say a word. I was so astonished by his outpouring in reaction to my trickster story. I wanted to amuse myself with a lie.
He told me of his long-distance loves, and how he is single now and wants to come home and cook with someone. We said we would meet again if it is our destiny. I shut the door to the cab and opened the door to my apartment in Buenos Aires with takeout food, wondering what it would be like to have that imaginary husband in New York and two kids with me here, and also happy to go home in quiet and peace. In between fiction and truth, imagining other lives.
P.S. Today we start the second Tango Adventure in Buenos Aires.
Sasha, I love love love this!!
Thank you for sharing!!!
My pleasure! I just realized that I have a certain love for writing about conversations with Buenos Aires cab drivers, maybe I should do a series or a book 🙂 https://sashacagen.com/argentina/a-cab-drivers-passion/
This story is fascinating for so many reasons! First, I’m an adult who still invents imaginary companions. I send my best to your imaginary family! Second, the cab driver was so closed to the idea of a quirkytogether relationship! It always suprises me when I meet someone who’s sure about how all relationships work, though maybe it shouldn’t. Third, he was missing out on the fun of meeting these people. Sure, it would’ve been fun for him in a different way than it was for you, because he thought they were real. Still, he missed learning about a different kind of life than his, and isn’t that fun?
I always enjoy “meeting” the cab drivers in your blog posts. Yay for a whole book!
I know, I found it fascinating too that he had such a fixed, clear opinion, but I had the feeling that it was based on his experience of a long-distance relationship not working out. One detail I left out was that he was a professional football (soccer) player in Europe so there was some story in there. And often when people have such strong opinions, I’m quite interested in absorbing why rather than interjecting my own opposite view. I am quite the listener. Yes the cab drivers in Buenos Aires really do give me lots of inspiration!
Ooh, do you have favorite experiences of listening and people-absorbing, as opposed to people watching?
Good question. More than anything I think it’s my default state which is why I’m a good coach, coaching (and therapy often too) is more than anything about paying attention and fully reflecting back what you hear. . . I’ll think about favorite experiences though! So much to take in from people.
Very interesting. I’m so terrible at making up stories and “play” acting. I envy your chutzpah! Don’t stereotypes abound… My soulmate and I are doing our version of the “Brady Bunch”, and its more than sometimes annoying how many “congratulations” we get…. Tango adventure two sounds good to both of us, and I’m thinking horseback from BA to Tierra del Fuego… enjoy! Daniel
My chutzpah was born out of boredom and the desire to be creative. Makes life more fun 🙂 That would be fabulous if you guys want to come on the Tango Adventure! Sign up for the priority list for next time! Horseback from BA to Tierra del Fuego, wow also!
I live in China and people are always asking me about my husband and children (for example in the form: where is he? how old are they?). When I say that I am not married nor a mother, this creates much frowning and preoccupation, and of course judgement.
I am 45 and I have a boyfriend. Sometimes I lie: sometimes I simply say that he is my husband – that makes life a lot easier. He lives in Germany and 8000km between us don’t seem to bother anyone at all. I am married – ‘all is well’.
Reading your post, from a very different culture, I found it very interesting that the issue in your exchange was not the form of marriage (which is what seem to be bothering the Chinese, seeing someone UNmarried) but whether or not there is love in the union… that for me stood out. Lovely. I wish the Chinese asked me about love. Funny that they never do.
Well done for taking a chance at lying… trying out a role and seeing where that might lead.
That is fascinating Paola. The cab driver was definitely concerned for me–not only for my love needs but for my sexual needs (and not in a creepy way). He really thought we needed to have proximity. Interesting how different cultures respond to a long-distance relationship, real or imaginary.
I’ve always thought imagining my life between truth and fiction is the key to happiness.